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Frequently asked questions about Iguanas

      I am just beginning this FAQ, and I will add to it as more and more common questions come up. It is fairly complete though, as I've tried to think of every question I had when I was a new Iguana owner. Here is the FAQ so far:

1. I have a male iguana who is displaying some pretty unusual behaviour. It's just started over the last couple of days. He's swinging his tail a lot.

      Not unusual at all ... igs do this when they are upset, mad, or in breeding season and starting to act a bit aggressive...

2. I thought that maybe it may have to do with the breeding season. He's about the right age (3 1/2 years old).

      Yes, he could be in breeding season ... it's the right time of year, many igs are going through it right now. Yes it's normal, and yes if the behaviour worsens and the ig becomes aggressive it could be a potential problem.

      It might help if you read my Taming an Iguana and aggressiveness during breeding season page- Then you really should go to Melissa Kaplan's Iguana care site and from there visit Her Iguana breeding aggression and how to deal with it page- actually START there.

     Then just basically go through all of her ig care info. It's great stuff and it will help you deal with what is happening with your iguana right now. Then- join the iguana mailing list- its free- and talk to other ig owners who are going through breeding season right now too. To subscribe to the list go to

and follow the List instructions to join the list.

3. How many feet should they be before you can try free roaming them?

      I'd say about two feet ... you want them large enough that they can maintain good body heat when away from a heat source for a short while, and large enough to be able to find ... they do tend to climb everywhere ... so a min. of 2 feet is best. :) You might want to check out my free roaming page for more information on how to set up your iguana for living totally free in your home or even for extended free periods throughout the day.

4. when can you start handling them after you bring them home?

      Pretty much right away ... start bonding early. :) You can read my page "Taming a New Iguana" for some tips on how to go about taming and bonding with a new iguana.

5. Is a heating rock good enough for the heat from underneath .

     No! Most iguana owners use heating pads - human ones, set on low under the ig's tank (for small ig), or basking lights in a large cage to provide proper heating. If you free roam your ig you'll need several UVB fluorescent, basking lights and heating pads to create a comfortable environment for your ig.

      Hot rocks can form areas of irregular heat- hot spots, crack, short, smoke .... and they most definitely can burn your iguana. If the cage temps are not correct your iguana could end up spending most of its time on the hot rock and this would greatly increase it's chances of thermal burns. The best thing to do with a hot rock if you already have one is to cut off the cord and use it as a cage decoration.

6. you should have a basking and regular full spectrum light too right?

     A basking light AND a UVB fluorescent tube - like a vitalight, iguana 5.0 or a reptisun. The fluorescent tube should be set up so that it's not more than 10 inches above the ig with no glass or plastic between the light and the ig. Plastic and glass can block the vitally important UVB rays, so please be sure these materials are not between the fluorescent tube and your iguana.

I don't know where you live but taking your ig out into the sunshine or occasionally supervising it in an outdoor cage is very good for it. UVB light is very important to the iguana's calcium metabolism, without proper UVB lighting or access to unfiltered sunlight they can develop calcium deficiency and become very very ill. Please see Calcium Deficiency in herbivore and omivorous reptiles and my metabolic bone disease page for some information about calcium deficiency.

If you are serious about getting an ig please read Melissa Kaplan's care sheets and join the iguana mailing list too! You really need to prepare yourself well if you are going to get an ig and hope to keep it healthy. Best of luck!

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Iguana Books

Iguanas for Dummies Iguanas for Dummies

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     By Melissa Kaplan!!!! 384 pages of in depth iguana care information. So, you wanna iguana. Or you already have one. Now what? This fun and friendly guide gives you expert advice on selecting an iguana and taking care of your fascinating pet throughout its life. It provides valuable tips on diet, habitat, health, and other important iguana issues.

Hatfield's Ultimate Iguana Owners manual Green Iguana; The Ultimate Owner's Manual by James W., III Hatfield

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     The best book on green iguanas to come along in years. Information on diet, housing, and health, wonderful insights into iguana psychology and iguana-human interaction. The definitive work on management, care and personality traits of green iguanas in captivity. If you own a green iguana or if you are thinking of getting one, you should buy this book.

Green Iguana Manual The Green Iguana Manual by Philippe De Vosjoli

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     Basic information about the care of the Green Iguana. Outdated nutritional information.

Iguana- Owners Guide The Iguana : An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet by Karen Rosenthal

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     Up-to-date reptile information and ownership instruction. The Iguana covers everything from selecting an ectotherm and understanding its environmental needs to discussions on behaviour and a glossary of relevant terminology.

Iguana Iguana : Guide for Successful Captive Care by Fredric L. Frye

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     A new and expanded edition, devoted exclusively to the green iguana, based on the author's previous publication, Iguanas: A Guide to their Biology and Captive Care. Includes b&w; illustrations and 24 pages of colour plates. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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April, 10, 2012

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