Commonly used as house pets, The green iguanas are massive trees-climbing lizards native to their native habitats in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
They are also seen in the wild as a roaming population within Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If they are kept in the right conditions, the environment, and fed properly, the reptiles make excellent pets. Particularly for families with older, or perhaps teens who are taught to take care of reptiles or for those who are looking for a companion with a long lifespan.
What do you need to know if you’re thinking of getting an iguana to be an animal to keep? Here are ten interesting facts about iguanas. They’re lizards that have long bodies and live long.
Facts About Iguanas
Iguanas are huge lizards that live up to 20 years in captivity. They could extend as far as six feet from the tip of their tails. Over half of their body can be attributed to the tail.
Males of adulthood can weigh as much as nine pounds, with big ones reaching as high as 18 pounds. However, smaller females can weigh up to 7 pounds. When getting an Iguana, you need to consider a large enclosure or tank that allows the animal to spread out and move around. Although small iguanas are kept in aquariums, they typically outgrow tanks as they get older in their lives.
They require to be kept in a closed-off space or in a smaller room where temperatures, humidity, and ultraviolet (UV) exposure to light can be monitored. A guana’s enclosure must be at least twice as large as the iguana and must be six feet in height since they love climbing.
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1. They prefer warm and sticky.
Iguanas prefer an area for basking at or near 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They should have a cooler area and don’t dip below the mid-70s. In general, based on the size of the tank or enclosure, a mixture of ceramic bulbs that produce warmth or mercury vapor bulbs that provide heat and UV light is utilized to maintain temperatures within the ideal range.
“Point and shoot” temperature guns or thermometers with a stick attached to the wall must be utilized. A vet who is knowledgeable about reptiles can give the owner of the iguana information on setting up the enclosure suitable for how big the pet is and how to anticipate future requirements. Iguanas are ectotherms. This means that their environment temperatures control their body temperature.
If their temperatures are low and their body temperatures decrease, their immune systems fail to perform as they should, their metabolism slows, and they become more vulnerable to infections. They also require sufficient humidity (a minimum of 60 to 70 %) to remain hydrated because they absorb fluids through the pores of their body. Although all iguanas must be given a small water dish to drink, they should also be misted or bathed in an insignificant pan of water multiple times a week, particularly in dry climates, to ensure that they aren’t dehydrated.
2. Sun worshippers.
As with other reptiles, Iguanas require UV light to produce vitamin D within their skin. Vitamin D helps them take calcium from their diet. The UV light can’t be removed through glass, for example, through the window, but should shine directly on the animal. Indoor UV bulbs must be replaced every six months as the spectrum of UV light is burned out.
However, the light will remain visible. Animals kept indoors and not exposed to UV lighting will suffer from metabolic bone disease in which they take calcium from their bones which causes soft bones that fold up and break when pressure is applied. Metabolic bone disease can be fatal, but it can be treated when it is detected early. All iguanas must be checked by a vet before they are acquired and at least every year following that to ensure they are in good health.
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3. Skin cells shed.
As they age and mature, iguanas shed their skin and continue to shed their skin throughout their lives, with babies shed several times a year and those older shedding at times only once or twice a year. After the skin sheds, it turns transparent, and their skin gets duller; they usually sit with their eyes closed and their bodies inflated to ease the loss of skin.
They frequently use their bodies to rub against objects inside their cage to rub off areas of skin that are shedding. Incubating them in a shallow basin of water that is warm and then misting them as they shed will help dry pieces of retained skin shed faster. The process can take a few days, depending on the humidity of the animal’s enclosure and whether there are any other rocks or objects that can be rubbed.
4. They’re crazy about vegetables.
Iguanas are herbivores and eat mostly fruits and vegetables in the wild. They also eat an occasional snail, insect, or bird’s eggs. Iguanas for pets should be fed a vegetarian diet free of animal proteins since long-term consumption of animal protein could have adverse effects on kidneys. Iguanas are recommended to eat diverse dark leafy greens like collard turnip, mustard, dandelion leaves, romaine, swiss lettuce, and Kale.
Other vegetables, including snap peas, snap beans, green beans and carrots, squash, and peppers, must be included in their diet in addition to smaller amounts of fruits like papaya, mango, apple, banana, and fruits. A varied diet of vegetarians is vital to ensure the balance of calcium and Phosphorus, which is crucial to the health of iguanas.
5. The tails of their dogs fall off!
Iguanas in the wild may split their tails to escape predators if the animal grasps their tail and holds it the tail. Pet iguanas can release their tails if held by the tailor if their tail is stuck and unable to move. Sometimes, pet iguanas lose their tails when they beat them against a hard surface or when they’re stepped on. Iguanas can attach their muscles to their tail vertebrae, allowing them to cut away the tail by separating vertebrae.
If the tail splits completely, it can develop back, particularly in the case of an iguana that is young, healthy, and growing. The new tail will be lighter, thinner, and smoother than the original tail. Older iguanas have poor diets and have traumatized tail fractures that are not between vertebrae typically do not grow their tails. If an iguana is suffering from broken tails vet should check the iguana as quickly as possible to determine if surgery or medical treatment is needed.
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6. They have an additional eye.
Iguanas are not just blessed with amazing vision and can detect colors and also brightly absorb UV light. They also possess an unorthodox photosensory organ located high on their heads known as the pineal gland or parietal eye. The structure is anatomically similar to the normal eye, which makes it sensitive to changes in light and movements. The “third eye” cannot create images, but it can help wild iguanas identify predators who are lurking over them. The extra eye is found in various other lizards and certain fish species.
7. They chat with each other.
Although they don’t speak in a language that they can understand, Iguanas communicate with one another through head bobbing and movements of the skin flap underneath their necks — known as the dewlap. Iguanas will spread their dewlaps to greet one another or to signal to be territorial. Male iguanas extend their dewlaps as they are courting females. Iguanas bobble their heads upwards and downwards at each to acknowledge one another’s presence.
Head bobbing that is faster, whether upwards and downwards or side-to-side, could indicate that the iguana’s temperament is tense or is feeling angry. Head bobbing that is fast and rapid is typically a sign that the animal is angry and should be left to its own devices. Additionally, iguanas whack their tails to defend themselves when they are afraid. So, even though iguanas may have no ability to “speak,” they certainly communicate.
8. They can identify their owners through hearing and sight.
Many people who aren’t familiar with iguanas may not realize that pet iguanas can identify their owners through sight and sound. Iguanas are extremely sharp-sighted and can perceive their owners and can recognize them. Iguanas also have excellent hearing. Although an iguana does not have an external ear as humans do, it does have an obvious eardrum (or the tympanic membrane) on both sides of its head.
This is that is in constant contact with the skin. They can hear sounds in different frequencies than humans and can easily discern familiar voices and other sounds. Although they might not respond when called the typical dog, they react to their caregivers.
9. They are carriers of salmonella bacteria.
Reptiles of all kinds could have salmonella bacteria in their digestive tracts, and the bacteria do not cause harm to their host in any manner. Suppose the bacteria are absorbed into the lizard’s stools. In that case, however, the stool is potentially a source of infection for pet owners and other pets that could come into contact with it and could use their hands that have been contaminated to put into their mouths.
Salmonella can cause severe gastrointestinal discomfort, blood infections, and even death for those (especially children and the old). So, everyone should clean their hands after touching an iguana, its cage’s bedding, and cage accessories. Iguanas’ stools should be cleaned immediately after passing it to ensure that it doesn’t dry out and then becomes aerosolized and carries the bacteria along.
Iguanas carrying salmonella don’t drop the bacteria into their stool each when they urinate; therefore, culturing stool samples for salmonella isn’t a reliable method for testing for it. All iguanas are likely to be carriers of the bacteria, so parents of children with small hands who can’t clean their hands shouldn’t be a part of the iguana population.
Iguanas are a challenge to look after; however, if they are maintained correctly, the amazing reptiles can be great companions for 15 to twenty years or even longer. If you’re considering getting an iguana to be a pet, talk to an expert reptile veterinarian before purchasing one to ensure that the iguana is suitable for you.