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Keeping Your Iguana Healthy and Happy

Iguanas are popular pets for many people, and for good reason. They are fascinating creatures with unique personalities and behaviors that make them a joy to have around. However, owning an iguana also comes with a significant responsibility to keep them healthy and happy.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your iguana’s well-being. From diet and nutrition to habitat and exercise, we’ll provide practical tips and advice for keeping your iguana healthy and happy.

Diet and Nutrition

One of the most important aspects of keeping your iguana healthy is their diet. Iguanas are herbivores, which means they primarily eat plants. Here are some tips for ensuring your iguana gets the right nutrients:

Offer a Variety of Vegetables

Iguanas require a wide variety of vegetables to get all the nutrients they need. Here are some vegetables that are good for iguanas:

  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Turnip greens
  • Bok choy
  • Squash
  • Carrots

Make sure to offer a variety of these vegetables to ensure your iguana gets all the nutrients they need. You can also add small amounts of fruit, such as strawberries or melons, to their diet.

Avoid Feeding Iguanas Animal Protein

Iguanas are herbivores and should not be fed animal protein. Feeding your iguana animal protein can lead to health problems, such as gout and kidney failure.

Use Calcium Supplements

Iguanas need calcium to maintain healthy bones. Calcium supplements, such as cuttlebone or calcium powder, can be added to their food to ensure they get enough calcium.

Offer Water and Electrolytes

Iguanas require access to clean water at all times. You can also offer electrolytes to help keep your iguana hydrated and healthy.

Habitat and Environment

Iguanas require a specific habitat and environment to stay healthy and happy. Here are some tips for creating the perfect habitat for your iguana:

Provide a Large Enclosure

Iguanas require a large enclosure to thrive. A good rule of thumb is to provide a minimum of 120 gallons for adult iguanas. Make sure the enclosure is tall enough for your iguana to climb and has plenty of hiding places.

Use Appropriate Substrate

Iguanas require a substrate that can hold moisture and be easily cleaned. Newspaper or paper towels can be used as a substrate, or you can use reptile carpet or coconut coir.

Provide Heat and UVB Lighting

Iguanas require heat and UVB lighting to maintain their health. The basking area should be around 95-100°F, and the rest of the enclosure should be around 80-85°F. A UVB bulb should be used to provide the necessary UVB lighting.

Offer Enrichment

Iguanas are intelligent creatures that require enrichment to stay happy and healthy. Offer plenty of climbing opportunities, hiding places, and things to explore.

Health Issues

Even with the best care, iguanas can still experience health issues. Here are some common health issues in iguanas and how to prevent or treat them:

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease is a common health issue in iguanas that is caused by a lack of calcium in their diet. Symptoms include soft bones, lethargy, and loss of appetite. This disease can be prevented by ensuring your iguana gets enough calcium in their diet.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are caused by bacteria or viruses

and can lead to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. Respiratory infections can be prevented by maintaining a clean enclosure and ensuring proper humidity levels. If your iguana does develop a respiratory infection, they will need to see a veterinarian for treatment.


Parasites such as mites, ticks, and worms can be a problem for iguanas. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help prevent and treat parasite infections.

Mouth Rot

Mouth rot is a bacterial infection that can affect an iguana’s mouth and jaw. Symptoms include swollen gums, pus, and difficulty eating. Mouth rot can be caused by poor husbandry or stress. If your iguana develops mouth rot, they will need to see a veterinarian for treatment.


Iguanas are active creatures that require exercise to stay healthy. Here are some tips for providing exercise opportunities for your iguana:

Provide Plenty of Climbing Opportunities

Iguanas are excellent climbers and require plenty of climbing opportunities to stay healthy. Offer branches, rocks, and other objects for your iguana to climb on.

Allow Free-Roaming Time

Allowing your iguana free-roaming time outside of their enclosure can provide them with additional exercise opportunities. Make sure the area is safe and secure before letting your iguana explore.


Iguanas enjoy playtime and can be taught to play with toys. Offer toys such as balls, ropes, and chew toys to keep your iguana entertained and active.


Owning iguana is a big responsibility, but with the right care and attention, they can be a rewarding pet. By following these tips and providing proper diet, habitat, and exercise, you can ensure your iguana stays healthy and happy. Remember to regularly check for any signs of health issues and seek veterinary care if necessary. With the right care, your iguana can live a long and happy life.