How Much Does It Cost to Own an Iguana? : an in-depth guide

If you’re considering getting an iguana as a pet, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost. While iguanas can make fascinating and rewarding pets, they are also a significant investment of time, effort, and money. In this article, we’ll explore the costs associated with owning an iguana, from initial setup to ongoing maintenance.

Initial Setup Costs

Before you bring an iguana home, you’ll need to create a suitable habitat for it. This involves purchasing the right equipment and supplies, such as:

1. Enclosure

A suitable enclosure for an adult iguana should be at least 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 6 feet tall. You’ll need to provide a source of heat and UVB lighting, as well as plenty of climbing structures and hiding places. A high-quality enclosure can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more, depending on the size and features.

2. Lighting and Heating

Iguanas require a source of heat and UVB lighting to stay healthy. You’ll need to purchase a basking bulb and a UVB bulb, as well as a fixture to hold them. The cost of these items can range from $50 to $200, depending on the brand and quality.

3. Substrate and Decorations

You’ll need to provide substrate (the material on the bottom of the enclosure) and decorations to create a stimulating and comfortable environment for your iguana. This can include things like branches, rocks, and plants, as well as a substrate such as reptile carpet or coconut coir. These items can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the size and quality.

4. Food and Water Dishes

You’ll need to provide food and water dishes for your iguana. These can be simple plastic bowls or more elaborate dishes designed for reptiles. Expect to spend $10 to $50 on these items.

5. Thermometers and Hygrometers

To ensure that your iguana’s enclosure is at the right temperature and humidity levels, you’ll need to purchase thermometers and hygrometers. These can cost anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on the type and quality.

6. Other Supplies

You may also need to purchase other supplies such as a spray bottle for misting your iguana, a substrate scoop, and cleaning supplies. These items can add up to an additional $50 or more.

Ongoing Costs

Once you’ve set up your pet’s enclosure, you’ll need to provide ongoing care and maintenance. Here are some of the ongoing costs you can expect:

1. Food

Iguanas are herbivores and require a diet that is high in leafy greens and vegetables. You may also need to provide occasional fruits and insects. The cost of food can vary depending on the quality and variety, but expect to spend around $20 to $50 per month.

2. Veterinary Care

Like all pets, iguanas can get sick or injured and may require veterinary care. It’s important to find a veterinarian who is experienced in treating reptiles, as not all veterinarians are trained in this area. The cost of veterinary care can vary widely depending on the nature of the issue, but expect to spend at least $100 or more per visit.

3. Utilities

Iguanas require a source of heat and UVB lighting, which can increase your electricity bill. Depending on your location and the cost of utilities in your area, expect to spend an additional $10 to $50 per month on utilities.

4. Replacement Costs

Some of the items in your iguana’s enclosure, such as light bulbs, substrate, and decorations, will need to be replaced periodically. The frequency of replacement will depend on the item and the quality, but expect to spend an additional $50 to $100 per year on replacements.

5. Other Costs

Other ongoing costs may include cleaning supplies, such as disinfectants and paper towels, and occasional upgrades or additions to your pet’s enclosure. These costs can add up to an additional $50 to $100 per year.

Total Cost of Owning an Iguana

So, how much does it cost to own an iguana? Let’s add up the costs we’ve discussed:

Initial Setup CostsPrice
Lighting and Heating$50-$200
Substrate and Decorations$50-$200
Food and Water Dishes$10-$50
Thermometers and Hygrometers$10-$50
Other Supplies$50+
Ongoing CostsPrice
Food$20-$50 per month
Veterinary Care$100+ per visit
Utilities$10-$50 per month
Replacement Costs$50-$100 per year
Other Costs$50-$100 per year

As you can see, the initial setup costs alone can range from $670 to $2,100 or more. Ongoing costs can add up to several hundred dollars per year, depending on the specifics of your iguana’s care.

Tips for Saving Money

If you’re concerned about the costs of owning an iguana, there are some steps you can take to save money:

1. Purchase Used Equipment

You can often find used enclosures, lighting fixtures, and other equipment for sale online or in local classified ads. Just be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect any used items before using them for your pet.

2. DIY Some Items

Some items, such as climbing structures and hides, can be made at home using materials like PVC pipe and cardboard. This can be a fun and cost-effective way to provide enrichment for your pet.

3. Buy in Bulk

If you purchase your iguana’s food and other supplies in bulk, you may be able to save money over time. Just be sure to check expiration dates and storage recommendations before buying large quantities.

4. Prioritize Quality

While it can be tempting to purchase the cheapest equipment and supplies available, it’s important to prioritize quality to ensure the health and safety of your pet. Investing in high-quality equipment and food can help prevent costly veterinary bills down the line.


Owning an iguana can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it’s important to understand the costs associated with their care. From initial setup to ongoing maintenance, the costs of owning an iguana can add up quickly. By taking steps to save money where possible and prioritizing the quality of your iguana’s care, you can provide a safe and stimulating environment for your pet without breaking the bank.


Q: How much does an iguana cost?

A: The cost of an iguana can vary widely depending on the species, age, and location. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $500 for an iguana, with most pet stores and breeders charging between $100 and $300.

Q: Do I need to buy a special type of food for my pet?

A: Yes, they have specific dietary requirements that must be met in order to keep them healthy. They require a diet that is high in calcium and low in phosphorus, with a balance of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources like insects and cooked chicken.

Q: Can I use a regular light bulb instead of a special reptile bulb?

A: No, they require specialized lighting that provides both heat and UVB radiation. Regular light bulbs do not provide the necessary wavelengths of light that iguanas need.

Q: Do I need to take my iguana to the vet?

A: Yes, regular veterinary care is essential to keeping your pet healthy. They are prone to a variety of health issues, including metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and parasites. Your vet can provide regular check-ups, as well as diagnose and treat any health problems that arise.

Q: Can I keep my iguana in a small enclosure to save money?

A: No, they require a large enclosure in order to thrive. A small enclosure can lead to stress, which can cause health problems and even shorten your iguana’s lifespan. Investing in a proper-sized enclosure is essential to the health and well-being of your pet.

Q: Are there any additional costs associated with breeding iguanas?

A: Yes, breeding iguanas requires specialized knowledge and equipment. If you plan to breed iguanas, you will need to invest in incubators, breeding cages, and other supplies. Additionally, you will need to provide proper care for the baby iguanas, which can be time-consuming and costly.