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The Iguana Den





IMPORTANT: These pages on health are meant to be general guides, not hard and fast rules. They were not written by vets and are NO SUBSTITUTE for veterinary care. If you suspect something is wrong with your iguana, PLEASE see a qualified veterinarian!

Face Rubbing

Face rubbing is a common problem in iguanas in captivity. It can have a variety of causes, but the end result is the same - the iguana rubs its face so often and/or so hard against something that it causes injury to itself. These injuries can range from minor to severe depending on how long it goes on.

Face rubbing can be caused by a variety of factors. Environmental changes, health changes, too small of a cage, gravidity, breeding season, and many other things can cause face rubbing to begin in an iguana.

Face rubbing is most damaging if the iguana is in a cage made of screen or mesh. These types of caging are very abrasive to the iguana, and they can quickly cause bruising and open wounds on their face. If you have this type of cage material, you may want to place some glass or plexiglas around the lower inside edges of the cage to provide a less abrasive surface.

The key to stopping face rubbing is to find out the cause. Is your ig's cage too small? Remember that igs need a LARGE habitat with plenty of climbing and basking areas. Has something changed in your ig's environment? Igs hate change and something new can cause them to become more agitated. Has the lighting cycle changed in any way? Are they stressed over something? Is it breeding season or is your ig gravid? Is there a health problem? No matter what you think may be the cause, it is a good idea to take a trip to the vet just to rule out any underlying health problems. Igs can hide illness and injury very well, so it is important to be alert to the little things that can signal a problem.

If your ig has been face rubbing, you may find that they have work away the scales on their nose and/or face, and may have open wounds. Smaller wounds can usually be cared for at home. Rinse the area with a dilute betadine or nolvasan solution and pat it dry gently. Put some neosporin or similar ointment on the area to keep it moist and help it heal.

Some igs can cause major damage to themselves with face rubbing. If the wound is more than just a simple scrape or bruise, please see a vet for treatment! Don't forget to try to find the cause of the behavior and try to rectify it.

This iguana has rubbed a good portion of its nose off.
Face Rub
Click for larger photo.




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