In the wild, iguanas are almost exclusively herbivores. They eat a variety of leaves, plants, and flowers that probably are not easy to find by an iguana owner. Can iguanas eat celery?
Domestic iguanas should have a balanced and various diet consisting of:
- 80% to 90% dark green leaves from different plants, weeds, flowers, herbs and legumes.
- 10 to 20% of several types of vegetables and fruits weekly.
- Don’t forget to add some vitamins and minerals. Visit an iguana knowledgeable vet before buying.
Despite this various and plant-rich diet, can iguanas eat celery?
No, iguanas cannot eat celery. It’s green and leafy with plenty of water. And respects all standards for an appropriate iguana food. But opinions are different when it comes to feeding your iguana regularly with celery.
Some say that celery has a high level of oxalic acid that prevents the absorption of calcium by the iguana.
Others say that celery can offer a good amount of water and hydrate your iguana.
Can iguanas eat celery?
A better question would be if it’s safe for iguanas to eat celery. And the answer is no. It’s not safe for iguanas to eat a high amount of celery. It’s not safe for iguanas to eat celery every day.
Celery is high in oxalic acid that can affect your iguana in the long term. Oxalic acid can lead to renal failure, an illness that you wouldn’t want to put your iguana through.
But what exactly happens if I feed my iguana celery?
Oxalates, or oxalic acid, can bind to the calcium and other important minerals in the food of your iggy.
Thus, your iguana will not be able to absorb the necessary amount of calcium. Because the oxalates get stuck with the calcium and other minerals, they will not be eliminated with the urine. And in the long term, this will cause kidney stones, and later kidney failure.
What is oxalic acid?
Oxalic acid is a natural chemical found in the composition of many plants. As explained above, the oxalates form calcium oxalate by binding with calcium. This is an insoluble salt that cannot be eliminated with the urine.
When your iguana eats many foods high in oxalic acid, it will be stuck on calcium offered by the foods, canceling all the nutrients.
In easier terms, eating foods with oxalic acid in excess will lead to calcium deficiency. This can happen to humans too. But since we have a complex and varied diet, it’s less probable to happen too easily. As opposed to iguanas that have a limited herbivore diet, depending only on greens and leaves.
It’s very simple to fall in the trap of feeding your iguana only with a few foods. But you have to remember that it’s not as easy as it is with other pets when it comes to your iguana’s diet.
Most people assume that anything green can be part of your iguana’s diet. Since they are herbivores, why wouldn’t they be able to eat anything that comes from plants? Well, because a constant and not varied diet can unbalance the entire system of your iggy.
Take spinach for example, a very healthy dark green leaf that has high calcium: phosphorus ratio. It sounds like a perfect choice for your iguana. BUT spinach contains oxalic acid that will bind all the calcium. So, spinach is very dangerous for your iguana. Moreover, any quantity of spinach is enough to bind with all the calcium present in your iggy’s meal.
Oxalic acid foods
You can occasionally feed your iguana with veggies high in oxalic acid. But I cannot stress enough that it’s better to avoid them by all means if possible.
If you realize that you’ve been feeding your iguana with greens high in oxalates, cut them day by day. And start sprinkling calcium powder and other minerals over the next meals. Wean your iguana with other types of healthy and fresh leaves, vegetables, and flowers.
A list with high Oxalic acid foods that you should avoid:
- beet greens
- sweet potato
- turnip greens
Can I feed my iguana celery?
Never include celery, spinach, rhubarb as the main ingredients for your iggy’s diet.
For the sake of a diverse diet, a piece of good advice is to feed these foods in very small quantities, occasionally. Of course, a few meals won’t hurt. But only if you don’t have any other alternative. Though it’s important to understand that celery should not be offered daily.
What do iguanas eat?
There are plenty of other plants, weeds, leaves and veggies to feed your iguana!
Good plants for iguanas:
Weeds for iguanas:
Flowers for iguanas:
Fruits and veggies for iguanas:
- bell pepper
- Wild leaves:
- hazel leaves
- birch leaves
In captivity, iguanas are prone to get ill because they depend only on what you feed them.
You have to take care of the calcium to phosphorus ratio. You need to offer a varied diet that includes leaves, weeds, flowers, herbs and veggies.
And just avoid feeding your iguana with celery, spinach and other high oxalic acid foods.
It can be hard to keep diversity in the diet when so many foods are forbidden. A solution for this is to talk with a veterinary specialist in iguanas. And writing a list of do’s and don’t that you can keep visible.
You can read what do iguanas eat here!