View Full Version : Iguana Corner
December 16th 2007, 05:12 PM
I've been considering adopting an iguana.
How hard is it to raise an iguana?
How much does it cost to care for an iguana, each month?
December 18th 2007, 10:08 PM
I can't speak for iguana's specifically, but I do have a bearded dragon, and my guess is the upkeep is similar.
First there is a large investment (the lizard is actually my son's and he paid for the investment with saved birthday money). The lizard itself, the vivarium (cage) probably a light, and maybe a heating element. Then there is bedding and "scenery" (something to perch on and/or hide under). These are not just decorations, reptiles need enclosures with "variant temperature". That is, there needs to be areas that are hot and areas that are cold (and not too hot or too cold), in order for the animal to thermo regulate (control it's body temperature by moving from hot to cold and vice versa).
So a temperature gun is also a good idea (I can get you a link to a fairly cheap temp gun site), as the stick on thermometers are off by as much as 20 degrees.
Then there is the food. Exotic pets, require exotic food. Can's speak for iguanas, but most reptiles require live food. Depending on the size of the reptile that will usually be crickets and/or rats (including small very young rats called "pinkies"). These are not cheap. Not horribly expensive, but more expensive than say Dog Chow TM.
Then there is the need to make sure that the reptile has enough (but not too much) water. This may be easier for iguanas as they are native to tropical rain forest areas. My beardie is a desert animal.
Not only do you have to buy live food (there are pellet foods but these are also expensive and the data on how beneficial they are is still out), but veggies as well.
You have to monitor the temperature and when the light/heat bulb goes out, you have to buy a new one (these are also a bit on the pricey side).
In other words, taking care of a reptile is not as easy as caring for a cat or dog or hamster.
On the other hand, I enjoy the challenge, and love my lizard. I think they make awesome pets! (duh)
But, I wish I knew more about lizard husbandry before I got mine. I strongly suspect that Mike was severely underfed during his first six months. I "learned as I went". That is not the way to go about keeping a pet.
I strongly suggest you do as much research as you can on iguana husbandry as you can before you make one your pet. Know exactly what you will need to start out as a responsible reptile owner.
Ask the staff at the local pet store, but realize that they are in business to sell you stuff. They may say "he only needs five crickets a day" which may be true for the first 3 weeks, but the bigger they get the more they need to eat.
But if you are well informed, and know exactly what is needed to keep your reptile healthy and happy, I can think of no better pet.
December 18th 2007, 10:15 PM
The iguana is a more difficult lizard to keep than a beardie. They require more extensive housing. They are much more prone to metabolic disease than a carnivore or an insectivore. Iguanas are herbivores and if you're going to keep them properly, their diet is exacting.
If you've never kept large herps before, I'd suggest a beardie, a savannah monitor, or one of the non-boid snakes. I was an advisor for a herpetological society for years. The vast majority of iguanas we saw had moderate to severe metabolic bone disease because it is so darn difficult to meet these animal's requirements in captivity. Iguanas are cheap, but they're not starter reptiles. They are also prone to aggression in the breeding season. I've kept many herps, including large monitor lizards and giant boids, but I would not keep an iguana. Their husbandry is more demanding than I'm willing to get involved in.
Dee Dee Warren
December 18th 2007, 10:19 PM
I have them free in my yard
December 18th 2007, 10:23 PM
Best place for them, seriously. The people who I've known who kept them most successfully gave them access to an outdoor enclosure on a daily basis.
They need a great deal more exposure to sunlight than beardies or carnivorous/insectivorous lizards because those lizards can get a great deal of Vit D from digesting the bodies of their prey. The UV lamps that are adequate for those herps aren't nearly enough for iguanas.
December 18th 2007, 10:25 PM
I had one for a couple months before I moved overseas (they weren't allowed in my country of choice), and mine got little mites real bad...he was always scratching, and the spray I got to kill them never really worked.
December 20th 2007, 07:17 AM
Actually, Iguanas fairly are easy if you live in a warm place like Xena. Then the best cage is like one for a large parrot on casters, and you can roll it out on the patio for natural sunlight, but be sure to have a large shady place so the iguana will not overheat.
Pet shop marketers encourage buying prepared expensive food, but Iguanas eat common store vegetables and many wild plants. If you have a tame, large iguana its pretty safe to let them graze in your yard. Iguanas I have had love dandelions.
But in a cold climate, yes, keeping any tropical reptile becomes more complicated, as stated in previous posts. But once you have the correct cage setup, with adequate UV light and enough heat, and regularly add vitamin supplements you should find iguanas to be hardy and long lived pets. Properly cared for, Iguanas can easily outlive your cat or dog. I acquired a full grown adult that still lived over a decade.
How about starting "Gator and Croc Corner"? For they are the most intelligent and endearing of our reptilian freinds.
December 22nd 2007, 11:57 PM
I'm thinking about maybe going with some geckos or salamanders to start with, maybe go with an iguana in a year.
December 24th 2007, 02:38 AM
Are there any local herp clubs? I would recommend looking them up if their are -- they will make sure you get off on the right foot.
Iguanas need large, very tall enclosures, being at least partly arboreal in their native environment.
They also tend to be a bit cranky in captivity, or at least, the ones I've met always have been. If you've got the constitution, patience, and the love/fascination to keep for the long-term a possibly-cranky animal that can get large, then go for it. Some folks do quite well with iguanas; you might very well be one of them.
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