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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!


The question of neutering male iguanas to ward of breeding season aggression comes up periodically. It is possible to neuter iguanas, but there are many factors to consider before making your decision.

Neutering an iguana, unlike with cats and dogs, is a major, invasive surgery. Iguana hemipenes and related reproductive organs are located inside the body, at the base of the tail. The iguana must be completely anesthetized to undergo this surgery. Anesthesia for reptiles is still a difficult art, and can be risky at any time.

Once the surgery is complete, the iguana then has to undergo a lengthy recovery period. Your vet will most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. Be aware that antibiotics can harm the gut bacteria your ig needs to help digest food, so a course of probiotics may be necessary after the antibiotics have been completed. There are several commercial products you vet may provide such as Benebac, or you can use some yogurt to replenish the bacteria instead.

The problem with neutering a male ig to reduce aggression lies in the fact that the main cause of aggression is the hormones. Hormones are not produced just in the reproductive organs, but in other places around the body. Neutering will not completely control hormone production.

Another factor to consider is other causes of aggression. Breeding season is one factor that can increase aggression, but so can other health issues and ailments, as well as the types of interaction between iguana and keeper.

Neutering will NOT be a cure-all for aggression. Some people who have had iguanas neutered do see a positive change in behavior, others see no change at all. There's really no sure way to tell how your iguana will react to neutering.

Before considering neutering for an iguana, please exhaust all other options. Consider behavior modification, check for other medical or environmental conditions, or even just leave them alone when they are feeling aggressive.



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