In this blog, I will inform you about the care of iguanas, their behavior, the way they talk to each other, how to adapt to different places, curious things about them. Since I have enough experience taking care of and seeing what an iguana does every day. (The picture you can see in the background is from my iguana, later I will hang many more). For any questions, inconveniences, etc., do not hesitate to comment.
Most iguana diseases are due to poor diet or inadequate acclimatization of the terrarium in terms of space, hygiene, temperature and ventilation.
In recently imported iguanas, diseases that rarely appear in iguanas that have been in terrariums for a long time can also occur. This is why we have to be very aware of our newly acquired iguana.
When we see any symptoms it is advisable to go quickly to the veterinarian so that the iguana is quickly diagnosed and treated.
Diseases in green iguanas
It is also very important an adequate contribution of ultraviolet rays, either naturally or with the appropriate devices.
We have to keep the terrarium as clean as possible and make sure that the dimensions of this are adequate for the size of our iguana.
-Poisoning. The symptoms are lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, increased abdomen size, ... we must try to give our iguana appropriate vegetables and vegetables and always very well washed to avoid possible toxic, fertilizers, ...
-Constipation. It is a pathology that can be serious in some cases. The symptoms are an excessive increase in the size of the abdomen, difficulty breathing and lack of stool. This disease should be treated by the veterinarian at the first symptoms.
Its causes can be varied:
-Drop. If we see that our iguana loses weight, it has no appetite but it drinks a lot of water, it has deformation at the ends of the legs and limps, surely it has Gout. In most cases, this disease is due to poor diet due to an excessive supply of proteins of animal origin.
We have to remember that iguanas are totally herbivorous, so we have to be very careful especially with the origin and composition of feed. We will have to go to the vet for the iguana to be treated.
This disease is given by a diet poor in calcium and also by a lack of adequate UV radiation.
-Prasites. Whether intestinal or skin parasites, this problem is very common in imported or newly acquired iguanas. Luckily they are not serious problems and have easy treatment. We will have to inspect the feces of our newly acquired iguana and also its skin to see that it is free of parasites.
If we see any symptoms we will go to our veterinarian to give us an appropriate treatment. Parasite problems are more rare in iguanas that have been in a terrarium for some time.
Best answer: It is best that you consult an expert veterinarian on the subject since he is the most apt to tell you why.
During the period of the heat, the males change color to an orange tree in the whole body, or in orange spots on the green one. The change begins before the heat and can last for months, until the last female concludes with her heat. The color orange can manifest as a symbol of dominance over other males who live with them. Also in front of humans, if they have not been domesticated, they can change their color to orange.
Stress causes changes in the coloration of iguanas, which can lead to death. They change to a very dull green or gray brown color, they can even turn completely black.
The causes of stress are diverse: poor diet is the main cause (lack of nutrients, unpleasant foods to taste, or in poor condition, etc.), poor habitat conditions (very small terrarium, poor ventilation, high or low temperature, poor lighting, low humidity, etc.), presence of other iguanas in the same terrarium, external factors (noise, presence of other animals, lights on all night), diseases, parasites, etc.
Stress can cause death in iguanas, as its retentivity lowers the immune system, leaving the animal defenseless against the attack of environmental pathogens. Also agents that were harmless, become pathogenic due to low immunity. In case of suspicious changes, immediately consult the veterinarian.
The skin shedding has a monthly frequency, before it will appear whitish spots in the areas where the skin will change, since it does not shed all the skin at once, but by areas. When the skin is shed, new skin spots are formed on the old one. The change can help, not by pulling it, but by wetting it with water or with specific lubricating products.
If they are subjected to extreme temperatures, both cold and hot, they tend to change the color of their skin. If they are in a cold place, they change to very dark green, almost black, because this color absorbs more heat. If they are in a place where the heat is extreme, their color thunders yellow almost white, to reflect the heat and avoid raising their body temperature.
They may be due to infections by bacteria or fungi. Consultation with the veterinarian is necessary. It should be taken into account that the spots must be strangely, as there are normal spots on the animal.
Small green iguanas are a bright color, but they lose it as they reach adulthood, which reaches nine months of age, when they add brown, orange, yellow, blue, black and white areas, and they can be arranged in the form of spots and lines on their body, but not uniform in color, with green predominating. With age the lines become more marked.
There are iguanas that have turquoise blue tones on their heads, this is a sign of a healthy iguana.
I hope the information helps you
The six most common clinical problems and diseases of the iguana
The ones we cite below are the most common iguana diseases:
1 The bone metabolic disease (EMO) is very common in young iguanas and is due to poor animal handling. The EMO deteriorates the connective tissue of the bones causing them to break when the animal jumps or climbs. It also weakens the spongy tissue of the jaw by deforming it and, as a consequence, the iguana has difficulty feeding properly. This disease is corrected by increasing the level of calcium in the diet and exposure to UV rays.
2 The main cause of diarrhea In the iguana it is a meal rich in fruits and vegetables. Although it can also be caused by other factors such as stress, parasites, inappropriate temperatures, etc. If you do not have swelling of the abdomen or breathing problems, you may be given some dry food to stop diarrhea.
3 In iguanas, the prolapse of the colon, bladder, oviduct or hemipene. This pathology occurs when a tissue that is normally found inside the body comes out. It is usually a consequence of parasites, constipation or dystocia.
4 The Burns they occur when the iguana gets too close to a source of intense heat inside the terrarium. The skin may turn red or black and may even ulcerate. To avoid this injury, heat sources must be placed in a place that the animal cannot access.
5 Some vegetables such as turnips, cauliflower or carrot can produce hypothyroidism in the iguana. This is because they have substances called goitrogens that suppress the function of the thyroid gland. If the animal is dormant or inactive and its growth is slow, it is best to completely suppress the aforementioned vegetables.
6 The stress or poor nutritional management can cause the iguana to develop stomatitis or secondary infection that usually appears in the tissue that forms the inside of the mouth. The jaw is demineralized, closes poorly and the animal can even lose teeth. It is necessary to perform a very deep cleaning and rinses with antiseptics daily.
Throughout their lives, iguanas pass from a preferably carnivorous diet, in which the supply of protein and vitamin D for bones is important, to a more herbivorous one, in which an excess of calcium and vitamin D can lead to problems . In addition, while young iguanas can feed whenever they want, adults only need to eat 3 or 4 times a week.
It is recommended to give the iguanas some of the commercial foods that exist in the market along with a mixture of fresh foods such as bran, alfalfa, brown rice, etc.
Where does the iguana live? What is its habitat?
These reptiles usually find in South America (such as the Chilean, Dominican, Ecuadorian or Bolivian iguana). Also in Central America (spiny tail iguana from Mexico) and North America. As in the islands near this continent. The iguanas can adapt to the sun and rain, for them the most important thing is to find water and food. Iguanas usually inhabit humid areas where vegetation abounds, for example, jungles, rivers, grasslands.
Also where the temperature is between 26 and 28 degrees. Iguanas have a certain preference for hot weather. They almost always live in the tree canopy when you reach adulthood (being tall trees are your favorite places) because they can scale them easily and at high speed.
In nature, the alpha males usually protect and fight for their territory, especially for the best places to sunbathe. The way to defend these areas, sometimes becomes aggressive. The iguana manifests it with head movements, widening of its double chin and bite signals. While less dominant males, do not fight for that place, and prefer to retire to other sites.
Conversely, young iguanas or small are in the intermediate part. They also spend much of the time under the trees on the ground. This is done to have better contact with solar radiation.
One fact about this is that, when iguanas are captive, they cannot express this territoriality. As a consequence, they live constantly stressed. Therefore, if you have more than one iguana at home, try to keep them in ample places to avoid clashes.
What does the iguana eat and nourish?
Iguanas are strictly herbivorous animals. Despite what was believed, it has been shown that Iguanas live very healthy with a strictly vegetable diet. In its habitat it will be raresee them chewing on something other than vegetable. On the contrary, some iguanas whose diet includes animal proteins (carnivorous diet), even in small quantities, can get sick from this cause.
In addition, while young iguanas can feed whenever they want, adults only need to eat 4 or 5 times a week.
When we askQ eat an iguana Domestic? The answer is easy. We can feed our iguana with small Pieces of fruit and vegetables. Never give them artificially processed or sweetened food.
Usually in iguana herbivorous diets a lack of calcium occurs (It helps maintain bones, apart from other functions). This favors the appearance of diseases such as Bone Metabolic Disease, or EMO. Therefore, so that our iguana does not suffer problems derived from food, it will be important that we control your food. We must give it a correct proportion of calcium and phosphorus.
The main vegetables that maintain a correct proportion of calcium and phosphorus They will be the following: onions, endives, lime, raspberry, loquat, mustard greens, chard, leek, lemon, grapefruit, cranberry, tangerines, loose skin grapes, celery, tofu (okara), green beans, red cabbage, turnip, pink grapefruit, eggplant, garlic, radish, Antilles cherry (acerola), raw tofu, pear, blackberry, apple with skin, scallions, persimmon and pineapple. The consumption of these vegetables can be combined with specific feed for iguanas.
By not eating meat, it will be important to provide protein, which may come from legumes or nutritional supplements for iguanas, which we must sprinkle on their meals to avoid deficiencies.
As for the fruits that we can supply, the most recommended are figs, papayas, mangoes, kiwis, melons, watermelons, apples, strawberries, grapes and plums.
For water, you can drink by placing a container or plate low or if you can't opt for a drip method, where the water falls from the leaves or branches and she can easily take it. In addition, we must try moisten your food well, to favor the consumption of liquids.
As a curiosity, indicate that in its natural habitat, the coprophagy practice (voluntary intake of feces). Above all, it is common in younger individuals. These eat the excrements of their peers to obtain intestinal flora. Adults do not carry out this practice.
Foods we should avoid. Dangerous for iguanas.
Although they are herbivorous reptiles, do not does that mean they can feed on all kinds of vegetables. We must avoid feed them with:
- Vegetables containing oxalic acid: these, although they contain calcium, this is disabled by oxalic acid. They will prevent calcium absorption, which will cause diseases such as EMO. They are vegetables like spinachthe rhubarb beet and beet leaves, celery stick and chard.
- Vegetables containing tannin: Although it is not as harmful as the previous one, it should not be given in excess. These prevent them from correctly performing digestion, in addition to causing liver problems. You should avoid vegetables such as spinach, carrots, bananas, grapes and lettuce.
- The cabbages: since they can cause thyroid problems. Cabbages like him turnipthe kale the cabbage or cauliflower.
Report that, although nothing would happen if your iguana eats pizza or ice cream occasionally, it is not good. Giving them these foods is often bad for their health, although our iguanas love it.
How to know if an iguana is male or female?
There are multiple differences between male and female iguanas. The main ones are the following:
- The males have the largest crest, protruding and exotic than females.
- The female head it's more elongated and pointed unlike the male who is shorter and shorter.
- The male double chin is more bulging than in females
- In the mating seasonmales tend to change to an orange or orange color. The color of the males is stronger, bright, lively and colorful, and the color of the females is a bit more opaque with less brightness.
- The lumps that are near the subtympanic membrane it's something almost exclusive of males and the femoral pores are more protuberant and marked than in the female.
Iguana reproduction. How are they born?
For a certain period of time December and February enter the mating season. Males struggle to get the highest and sunniest place in the habitat while females look and look for the largest and most dominant male in the territory. In this period the females can mate with up to 3 males. While the male can mate with as many females as he wants.
Before mating, iguanas usually court with head and tail swinging. This will be the moment when the male rides the female. If at that moment the female iguana is able to mate, it will receive the male, but if not, then it will let it go.
The reproduction of the iguana is oviparous, that is, a reproduction process where the egg completes its embryonic development externally. The iguana can put between 20 to 70 eggs, and incubation will range from 60 to 110 days approximately.
In the natural state, the female will look for soft areas where she can dig a deep hole and lay your eggs. They are covered with soil, far from predators. It is estimated that the life span of these reptiles is 10 to 20 years.
When they are small, Baby iguanas are born without a crest, which will be developed during the first year of life.
How long does an iguana live?
The Iguana can live between 10 and 15 years in its natural habitat, with all the natural inconveniences that they may present.
And an iguana in captivity in a well-designed and equipped habitat or terrarium, with all the right supplements to help them with their health, equally They have an approximate life of between 12 and 22 years. Although cases have been known in which they live more than 33 years.
Indicate that these are isolated cases with extraordinary conditions. You never know with dedication and dedication we could get it.
What is the largest iguana in the world? The giant iguana
The Iguanas usually measure on average from 1.6 to 2 meters when they are adults thanks to their long lines. Still there are subfamilies of much smaller iguanas, as the Chilean iguana (This dwarf iguana does not exceed 50 centimeters when it is adult). The average weight of iguanas is 8 kilos.
This average is somewhat behind when we see the largest iguana in the world. Is giant iguana Belongs to the Galapagos land iguana family.
These yellowish iguanas can exceed 2 meters in length. As well, they are the heaviestbeing able exceed 13 kilos, a record among the iguanas.
Are iguanas in danger of extinction?
Without considering the factors of natural predation, the iguana is threatened by the hunt by humans. These the they catch to kill them and extract their meat for sale (in several places in Central and South America its meat is highly appreciated) or for the manufacture of belts, shoes or various accessories made based on your skin. In Mexico, for example, black iguana is considered a typical dish and is in danger of extinction.
Although the iguana is not an animal that is in too much danger, if it is true that the number of copies is decreasing more and more. Being decimated every year by trade and illegal animal trafficking.
So various entities have decided to take action on the matter, prohibiting the marketing of your skin or the hunt for it within spaces as natural parks.
As a result, in many areas the iguana farms. These pursue the sole purpose of trading with them, their skin or their flesh.
How to tame an iguana?
Iguanas as a pet, by nature, are not as social as dogs. They are usually solitary animals, which may come to fear humans. When you have recently acquired it, it does not usually show any type of reaction when you approach As you go earning your trust this show some reaction when you approach, like look at you, get up, expose the skin fold under your throat.
Even so, if you have patience you can domesticate your iguana. A) Yes you will make this enjoy your presence, getting happy when he sees you.
If you give him some optimal conditions regarding your terrarium (temperature, humidity and lighting) and food (healthy and balanced diet), you will get a healthy iguana. This will have a bright green color, will be active, and will have a good appetite.
Tips to tame your iguana and make it your pet
As we have already said, reptiles are not especially sociable animals and may take a while to recognize that your intentions are good. With a little patience you can create a bond of trust with them. Next are a series of Tips to strengthen your friendship with them and learn how to care for it:
- Always act calmly and firmly. If with his demonstrations of strength he manages to scare you, he will remember it and repeat it with increasing aggression.
- If you are going to take your iguana, never reach out from above, because he will be scared and run away. Try to be the one who gets closer at the beginning offering you specific food and treats For these reptiles. Once you get caught, you take it a while every day so that you get used to it.
- With good domestication, iguanas can come to understand us. For this it will be important our body language, since they can understand it. It has also been shown that they can understand the meaning of various short and / or monosyllable words, such as "yes" or "no." Especially if we vary the tone and intensity. To begin to establish a strong friendship between human and iguana will be important to treat it with a calm and relaxed tone of voice.
- If our iguana is uncomfortable, he will let us know. These attitudes manifest them shaking and moving his head and tail from side to side and opening his mouth. You can also let us know by exposing the skin fold under your throat.
- If you feel threatened, you can morders. If you do, it is very important that do not let's try stretch to get rid her. With sharp teeth can cut us. We must wait for him to open his mouth to let go. This is the reason why we should tame our iguana from a young age. At an early age it can't harm us, but when it gets bigger.
- Remember that If your relationship with your iguana goes back you can resume it by giving it healthy treats specific or specific toys for iguanas. In this way he will trust us again.
- Once we comply with all these recommendations, our iguana will be one more. Even if we wish, we can go for a walk with her, as if it were a dog. But remember to use a leash.
Indicate that this It is not the most suitable pet for children, as much as you like it. It can grow a lot, and according to what time of the year you may have a more aggressive behavior than normal, So you can get to bite them.
If your child, or the child you are thinking of giving it away, is a fan of these animals you must wait for it to grow a little. Meanwhile ... You can always give him a iguana for coloring and painting until he gets older! Or download one of our magnificent wallpapers with iguanas (iguana wallpaper).
Where can I buy an iguana? Care for our pet.
Before continuing, We recommend adopting this wonderful animal. There are many people who, watching how they grow, decide to abandon them when they run out of space.
Another option is the legal and responsible purchase of this wonderful species. You must avoid buying from individuals, online and non-approved sellers. Specialized breeders will advise you on their specific care. They will also guarantee you an iguana in optimal health and care conditions. You should inform yourself well of the specimen you want to acquire and be aware that there are specimens that are better than living in their natural environment.
Protect your environment and daily routines. And report to the authorities any serious case that could harm this species that struggles to survive.
Terrarium for iguanas
Surely you have wondered What should an iguana terrarium have?. Here we indicate everything your terrarium should have:
- The minimum size. It should be 1 m long by 0.5 m wide and 1.5 m high. As iguanas are arboreal, it is advisable to include branches or plants that can climb.
- Temperature It should be constant and range from 28 to 36 ° C. We can maintain these temperatures in the cold months by electric mats or light bulbs that provide heat. Hot stones or wires can cause burns to animals.
- The light. Whenever we can, we must provide our iguana with direct sunlight. Therefore it is recommended to take it for a walk, if possible, using specific straps. When this is not possible, we must supply fluorescents or special bulbs that emit ultraviolet light from the B spectrum (exposing them with a photoperiod of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness). There should be neither plastic nor glass between the light and the animal because the ultraviolet B radiation is filtered.
When they are adults and have reached the average size, it is normal to build the terrarium oneself. For this we will use wood with melamine (they resist moisture well, and considerably extend the life of our terrarium). The reason is easy, since they do not usually sell large enough terrariums in pet stores. We will use this wood because the normal wood without an anti-humidity treatment rots. It is also better not to use varnishes because of their toxicity.
How do iguanas defend themselves? Are they dangerous, aggressive or poisonous?
When a iguana feels in danger, her first instinct is to run away. Iguanas are not aggressive predators by nature, rather they are shy and will try to escape. Attacking is the last resort they have. They will only do so when they feel cornered and have not been able to intimidate their predator. They will try to intimidate you by swelling to gain size and showing the skin that you have hanging under your head.
When they feel attacked, they will try to bite or hit with their tail, which they will use as a whip.
If your iguana bites you, do not be alarmed, I have tried to get rid of you, since I will end up releasing you. You shouldn't worry for the bite, since they are not poisonous. What you should do is clean the wound as soon as possible, as it could infect you.
As the last defense system, iguanas are able to self-tail its tail to escape its predators. This system, shared with the geckos, is called autonomy, and it will not be painful. Once the iguana runs out of tail, it will leave an open wound that we will have to monitor so that it does not get infected.
This self-tailed tail will then grow over time at a rate of half a centimeter a day.
In their natural habitat, the biggest predators that the iguana has are the largest snake and lizards (like komodo dragons). Therefore, it is quite common to see clashes iguana vs snake(snake) or iguana vs lizards(lizard) in their ecosystems As shown in the video, the first strategy to defend yourself is always to flee.
The only poisonous iguana is the scorpion iguana (also known as the enchaquirado lizard) from Mexico. These are characterized by being very clumsy, so people call them «Silly iguana» or «Iguana mess».
When should I take my iguana to the vet?
As we have seen, many of the problems that our domestic iguanas can suffer are due to poor habitat conditions that we have prepared for them. There are some easy to correct, but for others we must go to a veterinarian as quickly as we can.
We will have tovisit a veterinarian once a year for annual reviews (better if you are a veterinarian specialized in reptiles).
When we see changes in their behavior and behavior (if before it was peaceful and begins to behave aggressively). We should also go to the veterinarian when we detect color changes (may be due to burns, or infected wounds).
Why does my iguana turn black? Black spots on the skin.
It's normal for us to be alert if we see black, brown or dark spots on the skin of our iguana. The causes can be:
- Mushrooms: The main reasons why fungi may appear on scales are the dirt from the terrarium, especially in water and food, and excess humidity and heat in the environment. Therefore, it is vital to keep the environment very clean, changing the substrate, food and water as much as necessary, as well as measuring the amount of environmental humidity in the terrarium and adjusting it to the needs of the animal.
- Bacterial infection: The bacteria appear when the animal is injured or scratched which we do not realize in time and becomes infected by being in contact with terrarium materials, when the hygieneof the environment isdeficient and when there is too much humidity and heat.
- Mites: If the spots are only around the mouth or eyes, or both sides, it is likely to be a mite infection. They tend to be contagious, through other animals or ourselves when handling them.
Also indicate that there are multiple species of iguanas, some of black color, like the black iguana, the overa iguana, the spiny iguana wave Mona iguana. Others have drawings in their brown or black scales. Therefore, first make sure what is the usual color of the iguana species you own before alarming yourself.
If you have already verified that this is not the usual color of your species, you should go to a veterinarian.
Curiosities of the iguanas.
- its view is magnificent. You can see the shadows, the colors, the shapes, the movements ... from a long distance, which allows them to anticipate predators. On the contrary, its Ear is weaker.
- The iguanas are herbivoresin fact it can be dangerous to eat meat. However, in some areas, having been destroyed>
- Iguanas have a third eye. This is a photosensory organ at the top of their heads known as parietal eye. This "eye" only has a rudimentary retina that cannot form images, but is sensitive to light changes and can detect movement. This helps the iguana to detect predators that attack from above.
- There are some species of iguanas capable of practicing parthenogenesis, like Komodo dragons. This curious reproduction means that females do not need to come in contact with a male to fertilize their eggs.
- It is often believed that there is some kind of iguana that can run on two legs, but this is incorrect. There is a lizard very similar to the iguana but smaller, called Basiliscus or Green Basilisk, which does have this capacity. This one can even run and walk on water.