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New Guy, Rescued an Iguana...

Discussion in 'Green Iguanas' started by Rickenbackerman, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    Hey all, I apologize in advance for the length of this post...

    Last week I rescued a 3-foot long male iguana named Ozzy. His previous owners had him in a WAY too small aquarium with no UVB and was feeding him an improper diet. I felt obligated to take him. Luckily we have a great vet nearby who also happens to specialize in reptiles (we have an 18 year old pond cooter (turtle) named Murf who is a regular there). We took him there last week for blood tests and a checkup and the vet said aside from having his tail and spine broken at some point long ago, and being small from bad habitat/diet, he's in pretty good shape.

    He's temporarily living in our dining room while I'm building him an enclosure. I've got a room heater, heat lamp and fluorescent UVB bulb (not the best I know, will be upgrading to a MVB) for the basking spot, humidifier and a bathing tub. Basking spot temp is about 95F and the room is in the low to mid 70's. Feeding him collard greens, green beans and squash so far, his apetite is great (but his poops are not).

    I'm wondering about his temperment even though I've only had him a week. The first few days he was obviously very stressed and wouldn't let me get near him. Then he started calming down and let me pet his neck/head and lets me pick him up without too much fuss. Given him two baths so far and he seems to really enjoy that. However, it became that time of the month for my wife on saturday and since then he's been acting really strangely. Pacing, licking everything, head bobbing at her (up and down head bob) when she looks in the room. This morning I fed him and misted him with my spray bottle and then he walked right at me while giving two head bobs and bit down on my pant leg and wouldn't let go for like 20 seconds. What's that all about? Is he trying to show dominance?

    The enclosure I'm building is 4x4x6ft tall, made out of six panels with 1x2 frames and shower-type tileboard. I'm afraid that I'm gonna get the **** tailwhipped out of me when I finally move him in there and attempt to enter the enclosure...

    Anyway, just wanted to share my story since I'm new to all of this and there seem to be some really knowlegeable people on this site...
     

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  2. Gibson90kb

    Gibson90kb Elite Member

    Yes it sounds like dominance. Welcome to HC!
     
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to HerpCenter.
    You have taken on a handful! It is not unusual for an iguana to seem docile for the first days after arriving at a new location. People often mistake this for being tame. Once it settles in and starts to feel at home and stake out a territory this can all change.
    Some do react to human females cycles.
    My suggestion is to continue to interact with him but keep a good stiff broom handy in case he decides to try for another attack. This is NOT to hit him with but to simply push him away from you.
    And be aware that the teeth of an iguana are like those of a shark. If he gets hold of you he can do some serious damage!
     
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Not to mention with proper diet and UVB he's feeling better!
     
  5. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    Yep, I guess he's just starting to act more like an iguana. I'll keep on doing what I'm doing, I just need to be REALLY careful.

    BTW - he's probably 7-8 years old. I hope you can teach an old iguana new tricks!
     
  6. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    I just ordered Hatfield's book from Amazon...

    Also, something just occurred to me - in reading older posts on the forum here I read something saying that sometimes Igs don't like it when their owners wear bright colors, especially reds. I happened to put on a bright red shirt this morning...
     
  7. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    mine would try to eat me if i wear red! luckily though i don't like red.
     
  8. Gibson90kb

    Gibson90kb Elite Member

    Thats no joke! I've seen it, iguanas have a mind of their own. No one will ever be able to completely tame an iguana. They are just a totally independent animal. If your iguana wants an extra inch on their 'leash' you better give them two.
     
  9. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    It sounds like you've got the right idea with him. Kudos on being willing to provide him with proper care.

    I personally would suggest a slightly wider cage if you can, or even putting it on it's side so it is 6 feet long and 4x4 wide and tall and then maybe putting it on a stand. I say this because my iguanas original cage was 4x4x6 tall and it became very difficult for him to properly turn around on his shelves. I built him a new cage that is much wider and he far more fully utilizes the cage.

    Despite his rough upbringing Ozzy may even have a growth spurt now that he is getting some proper spoiling and may quickly be too large. I also found it very beneficial to be able to get into the cage to get the iguana...
     
  10. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    Unfortunately I've got space limitations. He's going in the same room as Murf, and his pond already takes up a 4x6 footprint. The vet said he likely won't grow much longer since he's around 7 or 8, but we'll see what happens. I just want to hurry up and finish this house to get him out of the dining room (not exactly an ideal setup). If he starts to grow, I'll figure something else out and build a bigger cage. I'm pretty handy, and the one I'm building now is coming along pretty quick. It's a nice one too, so if he grows I'd just sell this one. I'll post some pictures once I'm done.
     
  11. Gibson90kb

    Gibson90kb Elite Member

    Good luck! Looking foreward to pics!!
     
  12. Gojera7

    Gojera7 Elite Member

    It seems to me like you are doing a great job, especially with an adult, male, rescue. Even when they are older you can encourage different behavior and have success, mind you it will only be if the ig wants to. Don't count on him not growing anymore either. I thought my male wouldn't grow anymore, I was really really really wrong. And about the shirt colors, make sure not to wear a shirt with a lizard print on it either (not a large one anyway), lets just say..... messy. Good luck and welcome!!!
     
  13. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    Thanks all! He seems to be starting to get used to me more and more every day. He loves when I rub his head and neck, it puts him to sleep almost immediately if it's later in the day. He's been really inactive the last few days though - yesterday when I got home from work he was in the exact same place as when I left. I don't think he moved a muscle. He also hasn't eaten much in the last 2 days - I was starting to worry a little. I think maybe he was just constipated though, last night after giving him a bath he pooped a TON (of course he didn't go IN the tub, figures). This morning he seemed more active and was moving around, we'll see how much he ate when I get home.

    His house is coming along well, I've finished the floor, the four walls, and the roof is almost done. Just need to build the door, install the vents, light fixtures and "furniture" and plumb the humidifier into the box. I ordered a zoomed hygrotherm combined thermostat/humidistat - anybody ever used one of these?
     
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    On the subject of him "going to sleep" It may not be what you think. Iguanas de-stress by closing their eyes. In essence making the thing that is scaring him go away.
    Sort of like a little kid hiding his head under the bed covers!
    If he can't see it, it isn't there.
     
  15. Gojera7

    Gojera7 Elite Member

    True, but they also do it in relation to enjoyment. If it is him trying to block you out, watch your hands when he "wakes up". If he is just closing his eyes because he likes it, enjoy the moment. When mating season hits, you won't get many of those moments.
     
  16. Gibson90kb

    Gibson90kb Elite Member

    They either close both eyes due to something enjoyable or to make something stressful 'disappear.' Easy enough to distinguish the two apart right? (Sometimes!)
     
  17. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    Well I guess the Jury's out on that one - it does seem to me that he closes his eyes from enjoyment, but I could also be 100% wrong.

    He's been pretty lazy the past 4-5 days and hasn't really eaten much. I hope he's ok. Maybe he's still stressed out about the new owner/environment, or maybe he's just really relaxed because his life is 1000x times better than it was two weeks ago.
     
  18. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    i used to think that but it really isn't true, after they are used to you they rarely close their eyes when being pet.
     
  19. Gibson90kb

    Gibson90kb Elite Member

    He is probably getting used to you. Iguanas are very intelligent and comprehend things that many other animals would not. If he didn't enjoy you petting him he would stop you. ;) When I try to pet Brutus' head he quickly moves away. (He hates it!) Lazy is normal for an iguana as well, and this late in the season iguanas tend to eat less. (I could be wrong, Brutus is starting to very sparingly lately.)
     
  20. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman Elite Member

    I do think he's getting used to me. I put a bowl of mustard greens in front of him last night and he ate almost all of it with me sitting about two feet away watching him! He hasn't basked much in the last 4-5 days, either, and this morning when I woke up he was right in the hot spot. Stuck another bowl of greens and beans next to him and he started to chow down right away. There's probably going to be poo all over the place when I get home...
     

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