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Plants for Your Iguana

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Iguanas are strict herbivores and survive in the wild on a diet primarily of leaves and flowers. Reproducing that diet in captivity can be a challenge. Providing a variety of plants will help reduce the risk of pickiness and poor eating habits. By offering many different greens, fruits and vegetables, you can diminish the risk of metabolic bone disease, a common devastating illness that affects many captive iguanas due to poor nutrition.

The majority of your iguana's diet should be plants. Many can be obtained right from your own yard or garden. It is vital to choose plants that have not been exposed to pesticides and are not close to roadways, to reduce the risk of smoke and pollution. Even if your plants seem fresh and clean, rinsing in water before feeding will help guarantee a safe, healthy diet.

Some recommended plants include collard greens, mustard greens, bok choy, turnip greens, broccoli leaves, endive, romaine, clover, plantain, nasturtium and rose flowers.

Sprouting lentils, chick peas, aduki beans and mung beans are also good choices but tend to be low in calcium, so you may want to combine them with alfalfa, watercress or carrots.

Plants to avoid include rhubarb, spinach and cauliflower.

Always make sure you offer your green iguana a wide variety of foods. Feeding one type of food can result in vitamin or mineral deficiecies or excesses.

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