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How do I Keep an Iguana As a Pet?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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In order to keep an iguana as a pet, it is important for you to understand the proper care techniques needed to safely house, feed, and interact with your pet. You will need to find housing for your iguana, provide food for adequate nutrition, keep his habitat regulated at the proper temperature, and interact with him properly without causing injury or stress. You can start by reading up on proper iguana care, going to your local pet store, and following instructions exactly to ensure your new pet is safe and secure in your home.

The first thing you will need to prepare before having an iguana as a pet is finding the proper housing. An iguana habitat should be made from mesh wire, allowing him the opportunity to climb on the enclosure without the risk of escape. You can build the cage yourself, as long as you ensure all sides and corners are secure. Find step by step instructions online or in an iguana care book. The enclosure should be fairly large in width and length, similar to those used for ferrets and other large indoor animals, although height is not an important factor.

Line the enclosure with newspapers so that you can clean droppings quickly and easily each day. Place artificial trees and other plants in the cage so your iguana can climb and perch. You will also need to be sure that you provide a sun lamp so that he can keep his temperature at the proper levels. These can be found at most specialty pet stores as well as online.

Aside from arranging a good habitat, in order to keep an iguana as a pet you also need to know a few things about proper iguana care. Water should be made available to your pet at all times, day and night. Food should be served at least once a day, twice if your iguana doesn't seem to be gaining adequate weight on just one feeding. Iguanas should only be fed food made especially for them, or preferably, fresh greens and fruits that you prepare yourself. All should be served raw and finely chopped to prevent choking.

When you decide to take on the task of having an iguana as a pet, you should understand the iguanas are not naturally social creatures. In the wild, they are often reclusive and avoid contact with other animals except during mating season. When you first bring home your iguana, you can expect him to nip or bite at you at first. Proceed slowly by petting his head first to gain trust, and the slowly work up to holding your pet.

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Discussion Comments
By anon144140 — On Jan 18, 2011

My big sister had one. You have to have a big cage. If you don't, you can give it like its own room. Yeah, seriously. Also, iguanas can do some serious damage to you, so be careful. They have teeth and claws and know how to use them. -B

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