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Hello - new to this game!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by riqui1, Oct 21, 2006.

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  1. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member

    Hello. We just received an iguana from someone we know as they could not care for it. As far as I can tell, it appears to be a male and he is about three feet long. They included an aquarium (believe it is about 50 gals.), a heat light and a "log" with him. Obviously, the lighting is not good enough and the tank is too small. That is why I am here. Trying to find ideas on building a larger encloser, at a relatively low cost, information about what his diet should include (since he eats scrambled eggs for breakfast and it doesn't seem that it is right), what kind of lighting he should be given access to and more about his attitude. Heck, it took me almost a week to find out what it means when his head turns white!! He has already bit one of my sons! One of our biggest problems is that he was a free roaming pet at their home and that is not possible at ours, so I know that the enclosure must be built soon (he's not a happy lizard)! Will be spending time on threads new and old, as I have not been able to find answers to ALL of my questions yet. I look forward to it!
  2. smallgrayfox

    smallgrayfox Contributing Member

  3. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to the HCN!
  4. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    Oh wow, sounds like you have a real handful and alot of learning to do. First off NO EGGS! Iguanas are strict vegetarians. No animal protein AT ALL. Feed things like collared green, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, grated squash, chickory, cut bell peppers and things like that.

    Next off, you are right that cage is WAY too small for a 12 inch iguana let alone a 3 footer. Check out our sister site for caging ideas.

    Also as you have read your lighting is inadequate. Iguanas need UVB light to help them properly metabolize calcium to prevent metabolic bone disease. read up about proper lighting at

    Good luck and welcome to ig-slavery, its a long difficult journey that you just embarked on.
  5. Colleen

    Colleen Elite Member

    Welcome to HC, everyone included all the links... I feel left out. LOL
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to the HC Network. I'd like to say thanks on behalf of your Iguana for taking the time to learn how to look after an Iguana the proper way.
  7. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member


    Thank you, everyone, for your greetings. I am, definitely, working towards learning more about him (I am assuming he is male from is femoral pores (?)) and how to best take care of him. We are currently looking at available space and believe that, right now, he is going to end up being in a three level cage that will be about 5'Lx2'Wx6'H, as we already have most of the stuff that we need to build the enclosure. I just have to figure out his eating habits. Unfortunately, he runs for the eggs and eats them ravenously, but any other food (jarred iguana food that was given to me for him), he just nibbles at once or twice a day. I have tried carrots and spinach, as they told me he eats spinach also, but he hasn't touched those. I have found a few recipes for iguana salad, so I will be including that on my grocery list tomorrow. Hopefully, he will eat better. He has found his favorite windows, during the time that we have let him out. Now we just have to get the lighting thing taken care of and help him learn that he is not the dominate member of the relationship. Oh yeah, we also need to learn the kids a few not to chase him! Again - thank you for your help and advice!
  8. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Hello and welcome to the HCN. Glad you found us.
  9. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    welcome to HC! glad you joined us. there are plenty of ig keepers here to help you out. good luck with him. and its great that you're trying to learn everything so he'll be well taken care of. hope everything works out well for everyone. :)
  10. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    I would try to wean him off of the eggs by putting less and less in with his healthy food until he doesnt realize they are gone. it might take a while for the transition but don't worry, once he is hungry he will eat. I have found that even the most stingy eaters will go for grated butternut squash or sweet potato baby food.
    As for the cage dimensions 2 feet wide will not suffice. By the time he is fully grown he will not be able to turn around on a 2 foot wide cage. You might be able to get by with 3 feet though.

    Good luck and thanks for taking him in, there are alot of iguanas out there who aren't getting the proper treatment.
  11. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member

    How old is he?

    Do you know if there is anyway to determine how old an iguana is? I have found nothing that helps with that, at all. Is it determined by his lenght? Do you measure him from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail? I doubt I'll get him to hold still for that, but I cannot find any rings to count, so...

  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Hello and welcome to HC!
    An iguanas age is impossible to accurately determine since the growth rate is controlled by the care he has received.
    I would IMMEDIATELY stop giving the eggs. The ig needs to get on the proper foods asap. Carrots and spinach are not good either. Take a look at the links you were given. This ig needs a total diet overhaul and IMO the best way to do it is the "tough love" route. It may take a day or two for the ig to give up and eat the foods you are giving but a healthy ig will not voluntarily starve to death. If you continue to give ut the garbage that it has been eating it will just take longer to get it away from them. Sort of like expecting you to eat your brocoli by putting it in ice cream. you eat the ice cream and leave the veggies. Igs are very adept at eating around certain foods.
  13. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member

    No eggs today...

    Well, I had already given him his "breakfast" this morning. I did as one person suggested and tried putting more of the healthy food in with the eggs and guess what...he never even touched the eggs! He usually runs for them! I have the makings of a healthy diet overhaul, so that is the next route I am going to take. No eggs from this day forward. How long will he go without eating before I should worry? I once had a ball python I was misinformed about (what she would eat) and she went months before I got her eating again!
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Comparing the two is not applicable since snakes and lizards have entirely different metabolisms. Ball pythons routinely go off feed for several months in the winter as part of their breeding cycle. The same situation with in iguana would leave you with a dead lizard.
    However female iguanas with eggs will go a couple of weeks without eating.
    The day or two that it takes an ig to decide that it isn't getting anymore "candy" will not hurt it.
  15. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member

    Broccoli and Ice Cream

    Guess what...the broccoli is still on the plate, but the ice cream is all gone! I do think that he may have eaten the celery though! Hmmm... Again, thank you guys for all of your help. It is nice having some place to turn to when I have a question (although I feel like a PITA with all of these - especially the common sense ones!).

    BTW - the jarred food that i was given for him is T-Rex Iguana Dry Formula (fruit and flower with hibiscus flower) and Rep-Cal Maintenance Formula - Adult Iguana Food. It is the latter that he will "eat the best" - but only if it is moistened!

    Gonna try his first bath this afternoon. I don't know if he has ever had one or not...just like I do not know if he has ever even been to a vet before!
  16. venus

    venus Founding Member

    Hi and welcome to herpcenter.
  17. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    Yeah make sure you SOAK any dry food yuo give them of it dehydrates them by drawing moisture out of their guts during digestion. Celery isn't a good diet choice, it is just something that takes up space, kind of like iceburg lettuce, it has no nutritional value.

    The main part of the diet should be LEAFY GREENS. Try to use collared, mustard, and turnip greens or chickory, endive or the occasional bok choy.
  18. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member

    No chicken or roast beef!

    Well, at least I had the "softened" food part down, as they (the former owners) had told me that they gave it to him dry, as well. Now that I think of it, they let him roam free (for the most part), but she never mentioned having a water dish for him when we were going over how they kept him. Scary! Even scarier? She told me that he will also eat chicken and roast, so long as I chewed up any of the stringier stuff before giving it to him. Don't worry - I now know better than to do that!

    I have a few of the darker greens to try for him tomorrow (he seems to eat best in the morning), including collard greens and the like. One of the recipes that I had found recommended putting these in a food processor with some banana or some apple and then processing it, but not to the point that it becomes like baby food. Does this sound right?
  19. riqui1

    riqui1 Active Member

    Lots of answers

    Oh, and I also found a site that has been very helpful with a lot of answers that I hadn't even gotten around to asking you guys yet - Melissa Kaplan's site. I think someone here may have directed me there (or I may be nuts). If so, whoever it was - thanks!
  20. Colleen

    Colleen Elite Member

    The fun of figuring out your iggy, been there done that, and I'm sure it will all change again. Both iggies we have had (still have one the other has been adopted long story there are posts on it) were not given the correct food either. With the first one it took a few weeks for him to give up his "Spring Mix and baby food", then we made the mistake of my son hand feeding him. He then refused to eat out of his bowl. About a month later he started eating he food for himself. Let me tell you it was harder on my son then the iggy. The second iggy, we had this last summer came only eating "spring mix" after the experience with the other iggy, I became a pro. I just gave him the new good food and in a few days he ate it.

    This is how we feed all of our veggie herps. They get a mixture of up to 4 greens (collard, mustard, dandelion, turnip, etc.) cut into pieces no bigger the space between their eyes. A couple times a week I will chop (with a $10 electric chopper from Big Lot) a variety of other vegetables. Including 2-3 types of squash, zucchini, green beans, peppers, etc. I use this as a topping for the greens. Then I will sprinkle a bit of calcium on top of the chopped veggies.

    I hope this helps.
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