Iguanas are not the kind of pet you buy as a present for your kid. They need special care, more than any other usual pet. They originally live in tropical areas, with a lot of humidity and plants.
Types of Iguanas?
The most popular type of iguana, the green iguana, is a herbivore, frugivore, and folivore. Hence the diet of an iguana usually consists of weeds, leaves, flowers, and fruits.
What do iguanas eat has nothing to do with other kinds of reptiles such as chameleons or snakes. It’s important not to let yourself be lured by pet shop product labels. And by shady internet blogs that try to sell you dry food or supplements for iguanas.
Your pet iguana depends on you to feed it fresh and keep it happy. Because if you do keep it healthy, you will have a companion for a long time. Yes, iguanas, if taken care of properly, will live up to 20 years!
Remember, that iguanas have gone through an evolution process of millions of years. And a few decades of inside breeding will not change their dietary needs and living requirements.
What do iguanas eat is the most important topic you should read and learn before purchasing your iguana.
What do iguanas eat?
As pets, iguanas need a strictly vegetarian diet, to live a long life and prevent issues with kidneys. So your iguana must only eat vegetables, greens, flowers, and some fruits. Exclusively!
Contrary to what other blogs say, you shouldn’t feed your iguana with insects, flies, or bugs. Never! Not when it’s a baby or an adult. That kind of protein can cause kidney failure and can lower the life expectancy in half.
It’s rather difficult to find iguana’s natural habitat food if you don’t live in Central America. But a domestic iguana should do just fine if you offer it a variety of greens and leaves available in your area.
What is the Iguana food chart?
A balanced diet for your iguana should consist of:
- 80% to 90% dark green leaves from different legumes, vegetables, weeds, and herbs.
- 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.
What should I feed my iguana?
What we advise you is to plant and grow several weeds and flowers yourself. It’s perfect to reduce costs and you know that you’ll be offering the freshest greens to your iguana. No pesticides, fumes, or chemicals. Iguanas can eat this.
Flowers for my iguana:
- Apple blossom
AVOID purchasing flowers from shops. The majority have been grown with pesticides and chemicals to enhance coloring and growth.
Weeds for my iguana:
- Alfalfa – it’s the easiest weed to grow. It doesn’t need much soil and grows in several weeks.
Other greens you can buy from the supermarket:
- Spring Greens
- Florette mix
- Lambs lettuce
- Pak choi
Fruits and vegetables for my iguana:
- Sweet potato
- Bell Pepper
- Spinach (sporadic small amounts)
AVOID acidic fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, mandarins, clementines, pomegranates, tomatoes, pineapples, peaches, apples, blueberries, grapes, plums.
Picking leaves and weeds for my iguana:
This is a great activity for any domestic iguana owner that loves walking in nature. You can forage and pick leaves and weeds from fields and forests away from the roads. The ones we recommend are:
- Hazel leaf
- Beech leaf
- Birch leaf
How often should I feed my iguana?
Specialists say you should feed your iguana daily. And I give them all the credit. Of course, a baby iguana may be needing to eat two times a day. As they grow older, they will eat only once a day. You will see with time.
Observing your iguana’s eating habits will teach you how often and how much to feed it. Usually, if an iguana leaves the eating area without finishing, it means the iguana is full. Adjust the quantities according to your iguana.
The best time to feed your iguana is in the morning with a full day ahead for basking and digest in the heat and UVB.
Some iguanas will need a snack 2-3 hours before going to bed. Try offering some fresh snacks and see if your iguana eats it. If it does, you should give her the snack every day at the same hour. Iguanas love their routines.
Every feeding time provides fresh leaves, weeds, greens and flowers. Clean the eating area before feeding your iguana.
IMPORTANT to provide calcium to your iguana’s diet. Consult a veterinary to decide how much calcium you should feed your iguana. For a typical domestic green iguana, you should sprinkle sporadically calcium powder over food once or twice a week.
Do iguanas drink water?
Yes! Don’t forget that your iguana’s ancestors come from tropical forests.
Your iguana should have fresh clean water all the time. Preferably you should provide your iguana with two ceramic bowls. A smaller one for drinking. And a bigger one for bathing.
Ceramic bowls are heavier to tip over hence you avoid messiness.
One big bowl is enough though, but you should change the water at least two times a day. It’s not hygienic for your iguana to drink the same water it bathed in. In addition, you can spray your iguana with water at least once a day.
AVOID tap water as it may have chlorine and other chemicals.
How to prepare food for my iguana?
Variety is the key to a balanced diet for your iguana. And to provide nutrition, you should prepare a daily mix with:
- 3-5 types of weeds, leaves, flowers, greens (80% of the meal),
- 1-2 types of vegetables,
- a few bits of fruits every other day.
- Wash everything very well.
- Chop or grate everything finely, especially vegetables. Iguanas swallow the foods, they don’t chew it.
- Mix them.
- Before feeding your iguana, remember to clean the eating area first.
- Offer the mix to your iguana.
- Observe its eating habits and improve quantities and frequency.
REMEMBER to alternate different types of leaves, weeds, flowers, greens and vegetables.
Always contact your veterinarian for pieces of advice!
Enjoy your long-lasting pet iguana!