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Caring for Your Iguana

By: Rebecca Jones

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Thinking of getting an iguana? Here's a starter list of the supplies you will need, courtesy of Colorado Reptile Rescue:

  • A secure enclosure

  • Basking bulb with a hooded light fixture to provide heat. It should shine on the spot where they hang out.

  • UVB light (ZooMed Iguanalight 5.0) with fluorescent fixture

  • Heat source (ceramic heat emitter or human heating pad or undertank heater)

  • Substrate – the stuff on the floor: newspaper, old towels, Astroturf, indoor/outdoor carpet, etc. Do NOT use wood chips, bark, sand, gravel, rabbit pellets, cat litter or any other substrate material that could be ingested.

  • Food and water dishes. The water dish should be large enough for your iguana to soak his whole body in, but not large enough to drown in. The food dish can be something as simple as a plate.

  • Branches, cleaned and treated, or other things to climb on. PVC pipe covered with elastic Ace® bandages is one option.

  • First aid kit, including Betadine®, Neosporin®, bandaging supplies and styptic pencil.

    Basic Setup

    Keep in mind that your iguana will grow to be 4 to 6 feet in a relatively short time. Investing in a larger cage now will save the expense of replacing a cage he has outgrown. You will need to give your iguana 12 to 14 hours of daylight, followed by another 10 to 12 hours of full dark.

    Daytime temperatures should range from 95 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking spot to 85 F in the cool spot. Humidity should be at least 60 percent, preferably 89 to 90 percent. UVB light is essential for your iguana to metabolize calcium, so you will need to provide a UVB bulb. A hide box that provides privacy is also important, at least until your pet feels more secure in his new home. Branches and vines for climbing will afford exercise for your pet, and will benefit his psychological health.

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