New Iguana

Discussion in 'Iguanas' started by langmaral, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. langmaral

    langmaral Embryo

    My sister's iguana is about 6 years old, and he is only the size of one of my arms (pretty small for an iguana of his age, right?). I put Hibiscus in his cage daily, but I never see him eat them. I bought a book about Iguanas and I know that they should have a WAAAAAAY more varied diet, so what should I do about that? I let him walk around our lanai outside daily so he can soak up some sun, and I also give him baths daily to get his core temperature up before I try (and fail) to feed him, and to coax him to defecate. I let him sleep in my room sometimes when it's going to be too cold out, and then I look for the feces but never find them. There are some in his cage, but not the normal amount I would think he'd acquire in a month. Is he constipated? Does this stem from his eating? Does he have an eating disorder? Is he anorexic?

    Help would be appreciated, he is a sweet gentle iguana and I really want to fix him up.
  2. IguanaKing15

    IguanaKing15 Embryo

    I need you to answer these questions before I can help you out. Helping you with your Iguana will depend on the answers to these questions.

    Do you have UVA and UVB lights for him and a heat lamp?

    Are you only feeding him hibiscus or are you feeding him other greens and veggies? What is his diet?

    Is he free roaming in your house or kept in an enclosure? What are the temps in the enclosure if your keeping him in one?

    What is the humidity level in his enclosure? Iguanas need to be sprayed daily to keep skin moist and humidity level should be high.

    He is 6 years old and only the size of your arm?? He should be a lot bigger than that. If you can measure him and let me know what his measurement is from his head to the start of his tail.

    When you answer these questions I will then have a better idea to help you out.
  3. langmaral

    langmaral Embryo

    I don't have UVA or UVB lights or a heat lamp, but Spike gets natural light from our lanai when I let him walk around.

    He does have a cage, but he is kept in my room (which is iguana-proofed) because I am in the middle of doing a heavy duty clean to his cage, because it is caked with old food and feces.

    So far I have given him vanilla ice cream (a teaspoon ful) as a treat, hibiscus, and bananas. I will be going to PETCO soon to get more things for his cage, so if you know any good foods I could buy, that would be great.

    The humidity level here is pretty high, so I don't spray him, but I do give him a bath almost every day because he has a wound on his foot that I have been cleaning and treating with silver.

    His measurement exactly is 10 inches from head to the beginning of his tail.

    Thank you so much, I really appreciate all your help.
  4. IguanaKing15

    IguanaKing15 Embryo

    First off, you need uva and uvb lights even though your giving direct sunlight. Your Iguana needs 10-12 hours of uva and uvb lighting each day. Also your iguana needs a basking spot, the temperature of the basking spot should be 95-105 degrees. These lights will allow him to digest his food and take in the supplements from his food.

    The diet you are feeding him is totally wrong. He needs a much better diet. 70% greens 30% veggies and fruit only in small amounts. Do not feed him any type of lettuce, it does not contain enough nutritional value.
    You need to get him greens and veggies.
    Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Dandelion Greens are all good. Yellow squash, butternut squash, parsnips, snap peas, green beans are all good veggies. Diet is very important to the health of your Iguana. If he doesnt get a good diet then he will become sick with many different types of illnesses. Most likely he will get MBD Metabolic Bone Disease and become very weak.

    It is ok to let him free roam in your room for a couple hours a day. I have never been big on letting an Iguana free roam all the time, it is hard to maintain temperature for the Iguana and in my opinion not the healthiest way to keep an Iguana. I would keep him in his cage with his uva, uvb, and heat lamp for at least 7-8 hours a day and then if you want to let him out for a couple hours that is fine.

    My guess is his growth is stunted because he has not been taken care of properly. He should be a lot bigger for being 6 yrs old. 10 inches from head to beginning of his tail is very small for that age. He should be around 3-4 feet head to end of tail at this age.

    You need to get that cage cleaned at as soon as possible and get the uva, uvb, and heat lamp set up in there so he can get proper amounts of uva and uvb. Taking him out in the sun is very good for him, but the more uva and uvb he gets the better. When you get a uvb light, make sure it is not the compact bulb, it will cause eye problems. Either get a uvb tube light or get a bulb that has uva, uvb, and heat lamp all built into one bulb. Mercury Vapor bulbs are said to be the best as they put out much more uvb than other bulbs. Powersun Mercury Vapor bulbs are what I use and they work great, they are uva, uvb, and heat lamp all in one bulb. Do not feed him ice cream that is not good for him at all, to much sugar and fat.

    I hope this helps, keep us updated. Also here is a website for you, go here and read up on caring for an Iguana as much as you can. This is the best information around, it will teach you everything you need to know for basic Iguana care.

    Iguana Care Website - click on Green Iguanas on the left side and then start reading as much as you can.
    Good luck!
  5. bruno

    bruno Moderator

    I agree 100% with iguanaking, you need to make some serious changes.
    He's not eating because his body temp is way to low to digest his food.
    One thing you dont mention is the size of his cage, this is critical as well.
    Iguana's need a very, very large cage. 6ft x3ft x4ft in the minimum.
    He should be kept in there 7-10 hrs a day, free roam for a few hrs is good but should sleep in cage.
    Although the sun is shining it may not be producing enough UVB, UVA at this time of year, therfore it is essential he has access for at least 12 hrs a day to good UVB etc.
    Adding to diet I would suggest Endives and Escarole as these are high in calcium.
    His food should also be dusted with calcium powder daily and multi-vits 2x a week.
    I would also have a trip to vet and have that wound looked at and proper treament given.
    I dont know what you intend to get from PETCO, he doesn't need lots of fancy things in there, just good solid branches to climb on and a large water bowl, cat litter trays are ideal, they usuallly defecate in the water so easy access is needed to change daily. Save on the fancy stuff and get a good quality UVB/heating.
    If you sort the UVB and diet out, you should see an improvement in him.
    Good luck with him.
  6. IguanaKing15

    IguanaKing15 Embryo

    Thanks for adding that Bruno, I had so much on my mind I knew I would forget a few things, haha.
  7. langmaral

    langmaral Embryo

    Thank you all SO much.

    The cage for my iguana is 6 feet high, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet long. I will get him an AMAZING UVB light at PETCO tommorrow :D. I grow green beans in my yard, so that is perfect! But does he need more than just green beans for his veggie diet? I can give him bananas and apples and strawberries, but what else should I give him for fruit? Also, what portions shuold the food be in? How much should I feed him. Today he ate 5 hibiscuses whole, but I didn't know when I was feeding him too much so I stopped on the fifth, but is that waaaaaay too much or waaaaaaaay too little. I have a dog food bowl that is pretty good sized, but I will see what they have for iguana food bowls.

    Again, thank you so much! You may have just saved Spike's life. I will keep you updated.
  8. MimC

    MimC Moderator

    Spike Definately needs more than just green beans. The diet should be primarily (80-90%) composed of leafy greens such as: mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, endive and escarole. The other 10-20% can be made up of small amounts of other veggies and fruits - such as green beans, berries, squash, carrots etc. However its crucial that the main portion of the diet is leafy greens, this is where your iggy will be getting most of its nutrition.

    Fill the dish up for Spike, and refill it if he needs more during the day.

    Unfortunatley the demensions of your cage are incorrect - the height is good but its much too narrow.

    Definatley check out the care link that wasprovided to you above ( that is Melissa Kaplins site and there is a downloadable Care manual that is VERY detailed and thorough!
  9. bruno

    bruno Moderator

    This is what you MUST do put that cage on it's side so it has 6ft to roam about.
    Then when you go to PETCO get a reptiSUN 10% uvb tube (strip light) and a spot heat lamp with a guard round it so it cant burn itself.
    Diet should be collard greens, endives, escarole, dandelion leaves at staple diet with things like bok choy, turnip greens, squash as rotational food, fruit should only be about 10% of diet, otherwise it will have the "runs".
    If he ate 5 hibiscus then he's hungry, but he does need heat and uvb to digest it
    Check out the iguana site linked in iguanakings post. also check out Beautiful Dragons this has a really good chart of nutritional food, although for Dragons, works well with iggies, it's colour coded, green being best butwithout the insects mentioned never feed insects.
    Your iggy will do far better if you can arrange this layout.
  10. justkev

    justkev Hi :) Staff Member

    langmaral, by chance, are you in Florida?

    You mention putting him in your lanai, but the screen in most lanais is designed to filter much of the UV rays.

    Of course this is still better, in most cases, than being in a cage with artificial light.
  11. Reptile Savings

    Reptile Savings Embryo

    A great diet is varied diet when it comes to iguanas. There are however some general basics that I urge you to use immediately:

    Greens 45% of their diet - Collard, Dandelion, Mustard, Watercress, Turnip, Escarole, Endive. I buy (grow/acquire) 2-3 different kinds every week and then switch it up. It's okay to buy more of the spring greens (dandelion, mustard, turnip) during their seasons as herbivores thrive on cumulative (on the whole) nutrition.

    Other veggies 45% - This 45% is made up of green, white, and orange veggies. Staple green veggies include green beans, peas (sugar snap or snow), and okra. Again it's important to mix it up. White veggies are parsnip & onions typically. Orange fleshed veggies are winter squashes. I recommend Acorn, Butternut & Kabocha squashes on a rotating basis.

    The last 10% is fruit and treats or "occasional" veggies. Hibiscus leaves and flowers are edible but would fall under this category. Bananas (including skin if organic) are also here. Melons, grapes, apples, etc are a nice boost for an iguana's hydration but are not nutritionally supportive.

    This is a big shopping list and it's expensive. I picture you living in Hawaii with the mention of lanaiis and hibiscus so food is going to be quite pricey but perhaps easy to grow? I highly recommend you grow your own organic vegetables to save. Also, if you have a food processor, that will save you time on the preparation end.

    One resource that would be helpful is

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