Iguanas are exotic animals that make for great exotic pets. They are also becoming more and more popular by the day. However, for some iguana lovers, the task of taking care of an iguana can be quite daunting. Fortunately, once you learn about the two basic concepts of food and shelter you will be well equipped to take on the challenge of caring for your own pet iguana. Here are some important guidelines to follow when providing for your iguana:
Food: During your research on what to feed your iguana, you may come across some information stating that is alright to feed insects to your iguana, based on the premise that in the wild iguanas have been known to eat insects. This is gravely incorrect! Iguanas, in the wild, sometimes do eat insects but only by accident (they sometimes mistake insects for fruits and plants). They may also be forced to consume insects due to a lack of available vegetation around them. There are various factors that can affect the vegetation supply within the iguana’s habitat and during those times iguanas may consume insects to survive. But for the most part, iguanas are strictly vegetarian and herbivorous animals.
So why can’t iguanas eat insects and other animal proteins?
Iguanas have complex digestive systems and are not able to break down and process the complex concentration of protein that is present in animal matter. The unprocessed parts of the protein end up being turned into crystals, which are deposited in the kidney tissue and this can lead to serious gout or kidney problems. Therefore, if you want your iguana to be well cared for and healthy, you must keep it on a strict vegetarian diet with no animal matter whatsoever. If you assume that animal protein can assist the growth and development of your iguana, you are seriously mistaken as plant foods are more than sufficient for maximizing you iguana’s growth and lifespan.
Shelter: It is vital to know that iguanas are cold blooded and therefore they rely on their external environment for their survival. For this reason an iguana owner must consider the various factors that will affect the habitat and health of his pet.
Here are some things to consider:
a) Temperature – In their homes, there must be both hot and cold spots for the iguana to utilize so that it can regulate its body temperature easily. There must be a spot just for basking which should be between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
b) Size – Even if you purchase a small-sized baby iguana, you must remember that it will eventually grow up to 6 feet in length. Therefore, your enclosure must be big enough for the iguana to move around in.
c) Lighting – Natural sunlight is the best choice as a source of UVA and UVB light. Iguanas need these rays for survival. You may find artificial lighting in pet shops that are specially made for iguanas but at best these will be compliments and not substitutes to your iguana’s light needs.
These are the basic requirements for taking care of a pet iguana and this should help you get started in the process of caring for your own pet. However, more research on various other topics is recommended for maximum development and the well being of your pet iguana.
Rob Stevenson is an iguana enthusiast. For more information on how to properly take care of your iguana and build your own iguana home feel free to visit http://www.petiguanacenter.com.