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There's a Lid for Every Pot, But Not So for Iguanas (Why Iguanas Make Great Pets… For the Right

iguana care guide | iguana vet | new york

Think of iguanas like… a cheese pizza. It looks amazing, you know it’s good, but you’ve been off dairy for the past three months and your skin looks better. Your friend Susan eats pizza every day and her skin glows. Have I explained myself well?

While iguanas can make amazing pets, they are not easy to take care of, especially if you’re new to these beautiful reptiles. If you want your iguana to thrive, we’ve written some important considerations to think about before you decide to take care of an iguana.

1. It’s not cheap to sunbathe all year round in a place like New York

Your iguana might not have been an expensive purchase, but housing your iguana can lead to a pretty steep electricity bill. Iguanas are natives to countries with tropical climates, so they love warm weather and spend most of their day basking in the sun. So if you don’t live in a place with warm, sunny weather all year round, and you’re not planning to relocate, you will need to create a similar climate using special UVB and heat lights, turned on for at least 10 hours a day… But hey, it’s worthy to invest in your family, right?

2. They grow… And grow…

Iguanas start out small but when they get older they can grow up to almost 7 feet long, and they grow fast! This is why it’s not uncommon for people to enclose their iguanas in a spare bedroom. If you don’t have the right space, your iguana will be out of place.

3. They’re not the most kid-friendly

Adult iguanas are usually docile, and some enjoy climbing on their owners. But because of their sharp claws, we recommend you do this activity fully-clothed. It’s important to pick up iguanas at a young age to help them become accustomed to human contact, but they will never become domesticated animals. So if you have children, this may not be the most exciting or safe pet.

4. They don’t bob their head to the music

Maybe you heard that iguanas bob their heads, but do you know what it means? If you’re not familiar with iguana care or reading their body language, you might think it’s cute. In some cases it could be a friendly hello, but many times it’s a warning sign, or a way for them to let you know, “hey, this is my territory!” Though they are solitary animals, iguanas have personality, and you need to make sure you can give them the time and attention they deserve.

5. It’s a commitment!

In captivity, iguanas are known to live between 12 - 20 years. You need to be ready to commit! Sadly, it’s pretty common for iguanas to not make it past their first year due to the wrong living conditions. So if you’re not sure how to take care of an iguana, or even if you are, make sure to consult with us first!

Don’t get us wrong, we love iguanas! We think they are beautiful, fascinating creatures, with a lot of personality. Even if you can really appreciate their existence, you need to be sure that you can cope with the responsibility of how to take care of an iguana. So before you bring this reptile home, no matter how cute they are when they’re little, please think it over first.

If you do decided to take home a new iguana—congrats! Be sure to bring your pet in for an initial check up with a specialized reptile vet.

Be sure to check out our Iguana pet care guide for more helpful tips!

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