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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!


2 cups of collards
1 cup of dandelion
1 cup of Arugula
1 cup of mustard greens
2-3 cups of pedialyte
1 cup of smelly fruit (mangoes, cantaloupe, strawberries,
fresh figs, etc.)

Blend 3-4 minutes on high.

Strain through old (clean) pantyhose for a very sick ig so you get liquid only. For other, strain through a colander if the syringe will not pick it up easily straight from the blender.

Serve at room temperature.

Depending on size of iguana will depend on amount served.
Feed/Hydrate 3-5 times daily for best results.

Refrigerate leftovers, but think of it as baby formula, got to get it warm/room temperature before serving. Use hot water for this, as microwaves create hotspots and break down the nutritional value.

(Substitute other good greens if dandelion, arugula, and mustard are not available. I also have used watercress, turnip, chicory, escarole/endive although collards are the best and the next 3 listed are next best).

Start with 1 cup of pedialyte at a time until you get a nice consistency that is watery for hydration or paste for nutrition.
I use large syringes to suck up the paste (feeder syringes or baby medicine syringes and hook tips for water. Talk to your vet as he might show you how to stomach tube a listless ig. IF fighting, this isn't an option).


1. When attempting to give a slurry to a sick iguana, it is important to get the digestive system working properly, or the iguana may go into shock. This is accomplished by hydration. To hydrate an iguana, you can either IV a water/glucose mixture, subcutaneous fluid (under the skin), or use a medicine syringe to get fluid into the stomach. As the first two can only be performed by professionals, the 3rd option is what is left to most herp owners. This step is an important one, as adding semi-solids to an empty and depleted stomach/digestive system can cause an animal (or human for that matter) to go into shock. I am sure you have heard stories of starving people who eat too much/too rich and end up expelling the food. If you want your iguana to get better, you have to prime the pump, so to speak.

2. To begin, give 1/2 pedialyte and 1/2 water. Warm this to about 90 degrees F. Using a commonly found medicine syringe or eyedropper, you will draw up an amount proportional to the iguana's size.
Large/adult iguanas will require 2-3 oz. while babies, only 1/2 tablespoon. Unless you have experience, the next step will require 2 (sometimes 3) people!

3. One person grasps the iguana firmly around the neck and shoulders, with the forearm tucked under the chest and belly, and the tail tucked with elbow by the body. Make sure the iguana's head and body is tilted upwards at about a 45-degree angle. The second person should pull down gently, but firmly, on the iguana's dewlap. This may take two hands. One to hold the head and one to pull on the dewlap. Open the mouth fully. You should be able to see the esophagus. This is the hole at the back of the throat. The airway is, surprisingly to many people, under the tongue. This is why you cannot just fill the mouth of an iguana with liquid. A weakened animal will choke. An iguana in normal circumstances will fill its mouth with water, then tilt the head back to let gravity assist in swallowing.

4. Take your syringe and move in from the side. You do not want to accidentally go under the tongue. Place the syringe (or medicine dropper or tube) at the back of the throat. You should be able to see the esophagus. Gently place the syringe in the entrance of this tube. You need to be sure that you do not irritate the lining of the throat, as this can lead to swelling, making it even harder for the iguana to eat or drink.

5. Squeeze, push, or release the pedialyte mixture down the esophagus. When the syringe is empty, remove it. Allow you iguana to close its mouth. Keep the head pointed at least at 45 degrees (more is better) so that the liquid cannot back up into the mouth. Many iguanas will refuse to swallow/close the esophageal tube for up to ten minutes. After this amount of time, repeat to get the required amount of liquid down. When finished, keep the head up for another 15-30 minutes (or longer for very sick iguanas). Keep an eye on your iguana because he could aspirate (Choke and die) easily at this time.

You need to do this 2 times the first day. A third hydration is also necessary, but at this time, you can add a little fruit juice (10-20% of the solution) so the iguana can have an additional energy source.

The next day, you will use the slurry juice. This is the slurry that has been strained through a fine sieve (hosiery) 3 times a day.
The 3rd day, use a bit thicker juice (colander strained) 3 times a day.

On the fourth day, you can use the thick slurry 2-3 times and slurry juice/pedialyte 1-2 times. This can be continued until your iguana
is feeding on its own. When the iguana starts to eat, cut back to 1-2 times a day, but you need to make sure your iguana is eating enough.



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