Iguana for Newbies

Iguana for Newbies

Iguana is an impressive reptile to keep as a pet. They are very exotic and unique but there are few things you shall keep in mind if you are newbies. So, here’s general info about iguana for newcomers.

If you’re just about to buy your first ig, check out also our Guide To Buying A Pet Iguana but don’t forget to read things to consider BEFORE you buy an iguana otherwise you might regret it.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Upaordo: Iguania
Family: Iguanidae
Genus: Iguana
Latin name: Iguana iguana

Country of origin

Central and Southern parts of Central and South America, most locality from Columbus, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Mexico.

Body temperature

A good temperature is 26°C-29°C (79-84°F), basking place 32°C-35°C (90-95°F).


Iguana comes from the tropics and requires a rather high level of moisture for proper health. Lack of moisture can cause kidney and liver problems later in life.


Although not as large compared to Komodo dragons and other bigger lizards, iguanas have enormous strength and have sharp claws. These claws are used for climbing. Wild iguanas live in a mountainous and hilly environment so they are called an arboreal (climber)


Like other reptiles, these iguanas will go through a shedding process regularly.


Common media used as the easiest substrate is the newspaper and forest bark or linen terrarium (carpet) (for humidity and smell).

Buying an Iguana

Being an iguana lover requires significant responsibility. If you are newbies, before buying an iguana, it’s a good idea to know the basics of maintenance, cage, diet, preventive health care, and other special requirements needed.


Well-preserved iguanas will grow from a baby to an adult in about 2-3 years and can live up to 20 years.


SVL = snout-vent length (the length of the body from the tip of the head to the initial tail border)
STL = snout-tail length (body length + tail)
The Iguana tail is usually 2.5-3 times its SVL.


It is not easy to distinguish iguana’s sex until the size of 70-80cm (one year old) new male sexual characteristics become visible. Males begin to develop fat pads on the back of the head (fat pocket), larger jowl and wider dewlap, generally male heads larger than females.


Iguanas are destined to be strict herbivorous eaters and require special diets to stay healthy and fit.
Here’s a list of foods that can be consumed by iguana;
Apples = Sometimes
Asparagus = Sometimes
Banana = Sometimes – Sometimes
Chili Peppers = Sometimes
Blackberries = Sometimes
Sawi Sechine = Sometimes
Broccoli = Sometimes
Carrots = Sometimes
Cauliflower = Sometimes
Corn = Rarely / not at all
Cucumber = Sometimes
Leaves / Flower Dahlia = Snack
Wine = Sometimes / Snack
Beans = Good
Flower trumpet = Snack
Melon = Sometimes
Skew = Good
Kiwi = Sometimes
Lettuces = Rarely / Never
Mango = Good
Mushrooms = Sometimes
Papaya = Good
Parsley = Sometimes
Macaroni (cooked) = Sometimes
Rice = Sometimes
Pir = Sometimes
Spinach = Sometimes / Rarely
Strawberries = Sometimes
Potato = Sometimes
Tomato = Snack
Watermelon = Sometimes

Iguana’s health with the right light

As other reptiles, iguana needs Ultraviolet B light (UVB) in order to generate vitamin D3 and make their bones strong. If you paid attantion in the Zoo, they have UV-B lamps for reptiles kept indoors while pet owners should acquire UVB lamps from pet stores. Without a UVB source, the iguana will not be able to process calcium properly and will be susceptible to Metabolic Bone Disease. The largest source of UVB is natural sunlight. Alternative UVB light is sold at the reptile stores, do not buy the wrong lights – aquarium lights is a no-no!

Do they bite?

Iguana has teeth… do not take them for granted. Good idea is to wear long sleeves and gloves when first taming the iguana.

Iguana’s common disease

MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease), the core is less dry and less calcium, it is better to prepare vitamin + D3 if the iguana rarely sunbathes to avoid MBD.
For wounds, Betadine can be given, for healing use Neosporin ointment.
For Rotten Mouth aka sprue, treat with betadine mouthwash.
If their tail breaks up, apply betadine until the bleeding stops. Don’t despair, the tail will grow later but it takes time.
For kidney & liver disorders, which can be suspected if your pet has stools different than usual, watch their diet and feed them properly.