The Iguana Den




Iguana Basics FAQ

This FAQ was created to provide a 'quick reference guide' to some of the basics of iguana care. It covers just some of the common questions asked by new iguana owners. It is, however, no substitute for the wonderful resources of the IguanaDen group! If you have questions about anything here in the FAQ or questions that were not covered in the FAQ, please do not hesitate to post your questions to the group.

Special thanks to those at BabyIguana who originally created most of the FAQ questions and answers!


Don't let the pet store tell you that an ig will only grow as big as the cage it is in!!! That's NOT true!!! Don't waste your money on a
10 gallon tank...that's big enough to bring them home in, but that's about it.

To give you an idea how fast they grow, an iguana will outgrow a 75 gallon tank within the first year. That's a very good reason to start with a cage that is bigger. Its important to remember air circulation and also that you have to keep the humidity up. Also, that you have to be able
to provide the lighting and heating from the top, so a screen or mesh top is needed, or a solid top with holes cut out and covered with screen for
the lights to shine through.(the screen covering the opening prevents the ig from being able to touch the heat source) If not, you will harm your ig health wise.


Iguana's REQUIRE UVB rays for proper digestion and prevention of MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease), liver or kidney failure. UVB rays are
obtained in only 2 ways: 1. Natural, unfiltered sunshine, (this means NOT through glass or plexi glass), and 2. a certified UVB fluorescent bulb. This bulb needs to be 5% or better.
Your ig needs 12 hours of this a day... daylight hours only!!!

If you can get them out in natural sunshine, at least 30 minutes a day (weather provided) that will take care of the uvb for that day only!! The UVB must not be any closer than about 8 inches,
nor any farther than 12 inches. This goes over their basking area. A regular shop type strip light will hold these bulbs.


Igs MUST HAVE a basking light...they digest their food by the heat.
This light/heat can be provided by a regular household light bulb that produces heat. Depending on the size of the cage, you may need anywhere from a 60 watt to a 100 watt bulb. The basking area temps must be maintained at about 92 to higher... they NEED the heat to digest their food!! This, again, is for 12 hours of daylight (the same time your UBV lights are on).
You can place this bulb in a silver dome fixture and it MUST be placed so that your ig cannot climb on it..or touch it. On top of your screen
cage is safe (other type tops, please ask on the list for instructions to place lights)...but..if your ig likes to hang from the top of the will have to raise it up some how to prevent burns.

Remember..if you must move it, monitor the temps again!!!!!! This cannot be stressed enough. In order to maintain those temps,
it is VERY important to use thermometers.
A thermometer MUST be at the igs level ....where he lays in the basking area to see what the temp is there...if your thermometer is NOT where he lays, you will get an improper reading for his basking area and you will burn your ig (watch for panting or mouth gaping open - signs of overheating)

You will need a basking shelf or branch. The placement of this depends on what height you need to maintain the temps mentioned above. Be sure to make it at least twice the width of the ig. Keep in mind the distance the UVB light needs to be from the ig also. This is almost the hardest area of the cage to get requires a lot of monitoring of the temps until YOU ARE SURE they are correct.


Keep a shallow dish of fresh water for your ig at all times. Some igs will 'poo' in their water dishes, so you may have to change
it more than once/day. Keep water shallow enough that your ig can touch the bottom freely, as too many younger igs have been known to actually drown!


Igs MUST HAVE humidity. They are of the Tropical Rain Forest. This means you need a humidity gage. Humidity needs to be high!!!
Almost raining!! 80%-%85 is a good number to shoot for, although most of us can't get that high...that's why misting your ig several times a day helps. You can use humidifiers or vaporizers ask on the list for the proper placement/use of these.


Temps in the entire cage need to be varied. The basking area (branch or shelf nearest the heat source) has already been covered.
You need to have a gradient temp in the area of 70-95. Sound confusing? Basically, you need the "basking" area, a middle temp area and a cool
area. Basking area..92-96.....mid range temp..86-90 and cool side 70-84. Igs cannot regulate their body temps. They rely on the sun
(natural or by way of light bulb) and the shade (cooler area of the cage) to do that.


LIGHTS OUT!!!!!! If the temps in the cage will fall below 68-70 degrees at night, you must use supplemental heat. They make bulbs
that are for night time use. They emit heat, but no light, or emit a diffused"moonlight".Several people have said that these bulbs do not last
long so most use what is called a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) which produces heat only - no light,They are a bit pricey, but last years, or heating pad or undertank heater can also be used, but again, please ask on the list for proper use of these items.


Iguanas are herbivores... They DO NOT need animal protein, they cannot digest it... it will KILL them!! (Kidney disease) You will find much information on diets on the web. Basically, the diet needs to consist of Collard Greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, escarole, endive, chicory, (torn in pieces smaller than their head) winter squash (butternut or acorn squash), parsnips (grated or shredded) all placed in a shallow dish. (This is not a complete foods list, but is a good start.)

There are 'good' foods and foods for treats (those used only once in awhile). Fruits are be given a few times a week. (This doesn't mean that you cannot give your ig a
piece of fruit every small piece a day is fine.)

Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of diet. NO COMMERCIAL prepared ig bugs, worms, tuna, chicken, monkey biscuits, dog or cat foods, eggs, cottage cheese... NO animal protein!!!!!
ASK on the list for more information!!!!


This is what you use on the floor of your igs enclosure. DO NOT USE anything that is bark, litter,chips...etc...Many are toxic and more so, your ig will ingest these items and it will KILL them. You can use paper bags, newspaper, paper towels, carpeting (washed well first) or towels. (remove all fraying or loose strings)


HEAT ROCKS KILL...they can overheat, they cause burns (igs cannot feel the heat) they will KILL... if you have one and you ig loves it..
cut off the cord and place it on his basking shelf.


Betadine( diluted), triple anti-biotic ointment, and stop-bleed (or cornstarch). From time to time you may need to doctor up something, so keep these items on hand. If you feel you can't treat it, or you don't know what it is..CALL THE VET!!!! Have a VET before you need one in an emergency

This list is by no means complete!!!! You need to do much research and ask many questions about their care. PLEASE!!!!! I cannot stress enough the importance of reading and asking questions. This list is extremely basic.. there is much much more that goes into the care of your iguana.

Again, please do not hesitate to ask any questions on the list. There are no stupid questions.....the only stupid questions are the ones unasked. We are all here for our iguanas. We all want them to have the healthiest
life possible. They will be with us for 15-20 years with proper care and a little luck. Providing them with the proper needs will help them live
a long, healthy, and happy life.
Remember, we are the ones that pulled them out of the rainforests.. it's our job to give them as close to a natural habitat as possible.

Please take plenty of time and READ,READ,READ!!!!!!



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