How to care for an iguana

When selecting an exotic animal, such as an iguana, such as the new tenant in your home, you should keep in mind that It is not a pet as can be a dog or a cat, is not an animal that will be looking for your affection and affection and, above all, will spend all his time in the terrarium. If you are still interested in buying an iguana, make sure it does not come from its natural habitat, as they suffer from stress and can refuse to eat and therefore get sickIt is also a way to encourage their disappearance in freedom. Choose captive-raised iguanas with a healthy appearance, don't be guided by the size

The iguanas can reach two meters and weigh 8 kilos

The size and weight, think that in a few weeks the iguanas can measure between 15-20cm, but when they turn 5 they can measure 1'50-2m and weigh 8 kilos. The iguana is a pet that carries a considerable cost of maintenance due to its exotic nature and, therefore, to its daily needs.

The little information we have as a starting point because, in broad strokes, anyone knows the basic needs of a dog or a fish, but reptiles are a separate world and you must be fully informed of everything, especially Feeding: you can't give them anything. You have to know how an iguana acts and reacts. as well as the correct way to manipulate it, since it is easy to end the scratched hand and the occasional blow.

Iguanas are very calm, clean and somewhat rare animals to find in our country, so you must also take into account the climate of the city where you live since, like any animal, The iguana can suffer if the weather is very different from the source.

Benefits of having an iguana

Like any pet we can have in our home, The iguana can give us that feeling of affection for each other, but as we have said, they are not dogs and therefore that affection is not reciprocal. Still having an animal in our house is always beneficial since It helps us feel needy, we are happy in the day with their actions and only the act of seeing them daily can help us release our stress and worries.

Problems having this type of pet:

When having an iguana in our home we must keep in mind that it is not a pet as such, It is a wild animal, and when it comes to tame it can take a lot of effort. Very few iguanas in captivity exceed the year of life, since they are difficult to care for and can suffer very harmful diseases for them. Besides that transmit diseases to humans like salmonella among many others.

Further, they need a lot of money investment to keep them alive (terrarium, food, lighting, humidity) and grow properly to their species. Another problem that may arise is find an expert veterinarian in an exotic animal. Not everyone is equally prepared, and in the case of finding a good one, its price will be high.

Do not choose an iguana as a pet if you are going to spend large periods of time away from home, contrary to what you might think, living in a terrarium does not mean you can neglect their careThey are animals that always need to eat at the same time, clean their surroundings daily and have humidity and lighting controlled. We hope that with this little guide you can solve your doubts and choose the pet that best suits your needs.

The habitat of our friend

This large reptile loves life in freedom, so if we have the ability to provide an unlimited environment, she will appreciate it. In any case we will need a large terrarium of at least 1600 liters, that is, 150 x 150 x 75 cm in length. It must be well closed and ventilated, so it must have a metal mesh lid that allows the terrarium to cool. This terrarium can be used for the winter season, in case of owning an outdoor terrarium, or otherwise a shelter of our friend.

The terrarium substrate can be earth, bark or synthetic grass. If possible, it is advisable to place a bowl with fresh water large enough in the terrarium so that our pet can cool off. Remembering that the iguana usually lives in rainforests at least a meter and a half from the floor, near rivers, it would be advisable to place logs or objects so that they can climb.

Other important features

The iguanas are lizards daytime, warm areas, in addition to not being able to regulate its temperature. This makes it necessary for you to take long sunbaths, always having shade to hide when the sun is strong and to rest. In the case of the terrarium it is necessary to incorporate special lizard lamps, so that UV rays are necessary for the creation of vitamin D.

Temperature and power

Its optimum temperatures are between 28 and 32 degrees, being able to go down to 25 at night. We can guarantee temperatures by hiding a heating cable under a 12 cm layer of gravel, or in the case of an indoor terrarium by placing special lamps that provide UV rays and also provide heat to our terrarium.

A iguana You must follow a strict diet in which you have twice as much calcium as phosphorus. She is vegetarian and loves to eat leaves, flowers and vegetables such as alfalfa, turnip, celery, escarole and watercress. Figs, papayas and oranges should be included in small portions. And finally it is not advisable to give our green leafy vegetable iguana such as lettuce.

Knowing the iguanas

The iguanas are animals very colorful and striking, which are part of the fauna of the countries of the tropical region that, in general, are associated with wildlife.

Now, is it possible to have them as pets and properly care for them in captivity? The answer is yes.

It is normal for the person who acquires it to raise it some questions arise: How to care for an iguana? What do iguanas eat? Where they live? What threatens them? The answers come next:

How are iguanas?

Iguanas are reptiles that can measure from 14 centimeters when they are young, up to 1.8 meters in length when you reach adulthood.

His body is covered with small scales and of granular appearance in the body and large and rectangular in the head.

In their wild habitat, they usually live in trees, so They have four claws on each leg, which help them to climb more easily on the trunks.

It is very easy to differentiate between males and females. Males have very colorful crests on the back and chin, while females don't.

These animals are unable to control body temperature, so they are called "ectothermic", or what is commonly known as cold blooded animals. For it, in the head it presents an organ commonly known as "third eye" or parietal eye. This organ allows them to regulate their body temperature through hormonal secretions.

Too a rounded scale is noticeable on the head and is located behind and under the eye. This scale is the covering the eardrum, an organ associated with the reception of sounds.

What does an iguana eat?

The iguanas they are herbivorousTherefore, when feeding them in captivity, it is important to consider this characteristic in their diet. The highest percentage of Your diet should be based on green leaves, which should be chopped into very thin pieces, for juveniles, and in larger pieces or even, whole leaves, for adults.

Between the recommended vegetables for the feeding of iguanas are the lettuce, he cabbage, the spinach wave chard. It is also highly recommended to feed them with tomato, zucchini, cucumber or beet.

It is important that the vegetables used in the food are always fresh and replaced every twelve hours, since the iguanas do not fast and must be fed continuously at least once a day.

Another reason why the aforementioned vegetables should be used is that they have an adequate proportion of calcium and phosphorus, which is extremely beneficial for iguanas and prevents the occurrence of bone diseases. To avoid these diseases, it is also advisable to supplement the diet supplied with vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus vitamin supplements, easy to find in pet stores.

These supplements must be accompanied by a correct solar lighting, which must reach the space occupied by the iguana without any filter.

They can be included in the iguana diet, fruits, though in smaller proportionsince excessive sugars are not recommended for them. Among the fruits that can be included are: cantaloupe, the Apple, he mango, the strawberries wave pear, among others.

Of course, so important is to be clear about what iguanas eat, like knowing perfectly what they should not eat.

Is inappropriate that the iguanas are fed with dairy products, eggs or meat products. Other foods that should be avoided in the iguana diet are the commercial food for dogs or cats, since these have a high content of animal fats and proteins that are not a natural part of their diet, nor are they beneficial. You should also avoid using citrus fruits, which can affect your digestive system.

Where can an iguana live?

One of the most important points to know how to care for an iguana, is to know which space is most suitable for a reptile to live in the best conditions.

The terrarium must be built in glass. The glass It is the most suitable material to keep the temperature stable within the space, which is important in this type of animals that are not able to control their body temperature, but, depends on the temperature of the outside environment.

The glass too It offers the advantage of being able to be easily disinfected and allow observation of the animal from outside.

Mirrors or surfaces that reflect light or the animal should be avoided.

The size of the terrarium should be approximately one and a half times the length of the animal and two thirds its width, and only one animal should be contained in it, since they are usually very territorial animals.

The terrarium substrate, if swallowed, should not cause intestinal obstructions, therefore, it is advisable to use carpets, artificial or periodic grass, and avoid the use of gravel or cat litter.

Inside the terrarium a temperature of between 29 and 32 ºC must be maintained during the day and between 20 and 25 ºC at night, and a relative humidity between 50 and 70%. These values ​​are similar to those they would have in their natural habitat, and to keep them lamps or thermal mattresses can be used under the floor of the terrarium, or vaporizers or wet sponges respectively.

Iguanas are good climbers, so that some kind of branch can be included in the terrarium, as well as places of refuge, which can be boxes or synthetic or natural plants. Y fresh water should never be missing.

What risks and threats can iguanas living in captivity have?

The biggest threats of an iguana in captivity are domestic animals.

Dogs and cats are usually aggressive with them, so we should not leave our iguana free, let alone if we have any of these pets living with us at home, let alone when they are not under our careful supervision.

Too, blood sucking mites and ticks (hematophagous) that affect domestic animals they can affect the iguana as external parasites or ectoparasites of the skin, since mites and ticks are quite generalistic parasites.

As an appetizer, with these tips you should be prepared to have an iguana in the perfect conditions to enjoy it and share part of your time with it.

We love talking about pets, and we could do a lot more lines talking about iguanas and ways to improve the habitat in which they will be next to us, but we can't give you everything together. In addition, we like that you also participate with your experience.

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