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Importance Of Humidity For Green Iguanas

Why Humidity Is So Important For Green Iguanas

Importance Of Humidity

Last week we had another green iguana surrendered and it arrived in terrible condition. The weight of the iguana, overall, was okay. Unfortunately, for nearly a year, this iguana has had no humidity maintenance. This includes no baths, no showers, no spraying, no humidifier, no fogger, etc. As you can imagine, there has been some shedding difficulties.

The iguana was covered in layers of shed that had simply compiled themselves as they were retained. After 2 weeks of spray down, bath, peel, repeat, we had managed to reach the bottom layers of this iguanas foot. What I am about to show you is horrifying. As I peeled off the very last layer of skin around the elongated toe, it just fell off. There was no bleeding or resistance from the iguana. The toe was completely dead.

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

At the time, this had concerned me greatly because this was the first toe I managed to get to. There were still other toes retained under folds of skin.

Again, working on the skin periodically, I made the toes a priority to release. As I peeled back the looser layers we took pictures. I had to take them outside to catch the light; to show you properly.

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

5 toes in total are damaged, 3 of which are black and stubbed, looking dead. 2 toes fell off and 2 others are missing the claws, which literally fell out too. (this I don't want to mess around with and I will be getting the vet to take a look at them. This shows what the lack of humidity can do.)

Green iguanas, as most of us are aware, come from the tropical areas of central and south America. They source themselves near water and experience a wet and dry season. Even in the dry season the rainforest humidity is still around 40-50%. Even in the dry season humidity this would never happen.

In captivity, quite alot works against iguanas and as the owner we do sometimes have to intervene. The humidity alone will not remove the skin. In the wild there are other contributing factors which would help like climbing up rough surfaces, scratching their heads on branches, walking through bushes and shrubs, rainfall, (I dare say even them diving into water when avoiding a predator and of course the weather itself, wind, breezes, baking sunshine, all play a factor in helping lift loose layers of skin. In captivity this isn't always possible and as the owner we do have to intervene sometimes. This is especially true with spikes and other awkward areas.

Daily sprayings, humidifiers, foggers, showers, baths if they will tolerate, etc, it will all help them shed their skins.
Many iguanas have died from long term, low level dehydration, lack of humidity, and retained sheds which have turned into infections.

Everything in husbandry must come together to have a positive outcome. This includes heating, lighting, humidity, and diet.
Iguanas don't just need water for shedding. They will inhale water vapor from the air, which aids in proper osmoregulation.

When Albus arrived, another rescue, he had not been kept in the right humidity either. As a result his spikes were retained so bad I had to use a knife to cut into them.

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)
He Was Also Dehydrated

It was soon revealed that through a number of factors his kidneys are failing, (diet is one of the main factors which was involved, and due to his skin issues, I would not be surprised at all if humidity has played a factor in that.)

Green Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Dehydration is easily avoided and prevented. You can learn more about how to keep your iguana hydrated (via humidity) here:

Iguana Humidity (Iguana iguana)

Note: I am aware that in some parts of central and south america dry season humidity can be higher than what I listed.


Author: Salazare Slytherin & Richard Brooks
All Images © Salazare Slytherin