Ethics of Breeding
following is a post from Gail made to the IguanaDen list following a
volatile discussion on the breeding of iguanas.
from the list owner and moderator:
Discussing the breeding of iguanas as a scientific/intellectual gain
is fine, as long as it sticks to the scientific facts, breeding behavior,
breeding seasons, gravidity, egg binding, MBD from eggs, torn hemipenes,
hemipenal bulges, femoral pores, etc.
If your iguanas are not breeding, which is strange as they breed at
the drop of a hat, it is because of one or more of the following reasons:
2. Wrong mix of sexes
3. poor overall health
I am betting 3, as I hope you are not ignorant enough to have 1 or 2
Breeding igs only requires a male and female of the correct age and
in reasonable health. A health iguana is sexually mature at 1 year.
A healthy female will lay eggs annually with no problems. However, a
female on the borderline of health will have problems which could lead
to MBD, egg binding, and death.
A healthy male will breed, whether in season or not. A healthy male
will bite and claw a female, whether she is in season or not.
A female may or may not appreciate the attention, whether in season
Problems that can occur:
From the perspective of the President and Chairman of the Board of a
501c rescue organization and the adoption coordinator of the 501c NJHS
Iguana's prices should reflect the ultimate cost of the yearly care
of a healthy iguana. The species that come through the rescue the most
are the ones that are sold cheaply, require specialized care, and get
big. In order: iguanas, RTB, large reticulated pythons, RES, Savannah
monitors, ball pythons.
Without exception, these animals can be purchased for less than $20.
Except for the Ball pythons, all require a large cage. All require a
specialized diet and special heat and lights.
For example, a 3 year old iguana requires (remember, buy for the bigger.
Add another $75 for a hatchling for a start cage and set up)
Start-up-- 8 x 6 x 2.5 foot cage ($200+) fixtures ($40 for strip light
and 2 reflectors) food and water dishes ($10), litter box ($5), extension
cord and power strip ($25), spray bottle ($2), Parvocide for cleaning
($20) ramps/logs/shelves (depends)
$302+ (mine are a lot more)
Monthly-- $15-30+ in electricity a month ($420 a year)-mine is 4 x that
per iguana, $30+ in food a month ($360 a year), $100 in UVB bulbs (mine
get 2 x Powersuns and 4 x 48 inch bulbs from Eagle, all changed 2 x
a year, so you are looking at $400 a year), vet check and fecal ($80,
more if blood work and x-ray for bone density), another vet check and
x-ray for females ($120),
CHE ($35), incandescent bulbs ($10)
$990 male and $1110 female. More if sick, in rehab, or if you give the
proper amount of UVB to light a 8 foot cage. Most people do not. I spend
$45 for greens every 3 days for 6 iguanas.
Now, if iguanas were given a price of $150, people might be willing
to spend the money. On a free or $10 pet? Nope. Who cares? I can get
another one cheaper. People are willing to spend money on what they
consider worth it.
are part of a group of the selected few who want and are willing to
spend the money necessary to keep a cheap animal healthy!
Iguanas are not wanted by the masses. The masses don't know what iguanas
are like. They see the cute, tiny, cheap hatchlings and think they will
remain that way. Until people stop importing and selling iguanas without
an exotic license and for less money than a movie, the demand will remain
low, as will the price. Make iguanas rarer and harder to get, the price
up, as will the quality of their care. Make it necessary to obtain a
specialized permit to keep iguanas, and I can get rid of a few cages.
Do I blame you for wanting to raise iguanas? No. I really understand.
They are intelligent, gorgeous creatures. The babies are adorable. Raising
hatchlings to a healthy juvenile state is rewarding. Watching them grow
big, strong, and healthy is a blessing. Saying goodbye is hard. I raise
bearded dragons. I sell them for quite a bit of money, but to only people
who know what they are doing. Would I sell you one? Maybe. I don't know
if your care is appropriate. I don't know if you know how to take care
Would I adopt you an iguana? No. Why? I don't want to see one of my
rehabs put through egg-laying, and then die, recess in rehab, or, even
worse, get one of the babies 1-4 years down the road.
If you breed and sell these babies, you become the enemy:
Every time a hatchling comes into rehab sick, yellow, and half-dead
because the pet store said a 20 gallon and pellets will do, or because
"researched" and found that information, I will blame YOU!
When I hold any iguana who was fed improperly because the pet store
told them wrong, and it closes its eyes for the final sleep due to renal
failure, I will blame YOU!
When a twisted, emaciated iguana comes into rehab with MBD, dehydration,
and liver damage, I will blame YOU!
When I keep getting 3-5 calls a week for iguanas to be surrendered,
I will blame YOU!
When I spend $1500 having a blockage removed, kidneys flushed, or any
rehab because the iguana was improperly cared for before being abandoned,
I will blame YOU!
When I work my butt off to get laws passed controlling the sale of iguanas
and it fails because you keep the price low, I will blame YOU!
People who breed iguanas need to know that a healthy female will have
between 35 and 80 eggs. Are you going to hand place those iguanas in
your area? No. Will your pet store? No. Will you adopt them all out
to carefully screened homes? Nope.
Think about it.