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Territorial Aggression

Discussion in 'Green Iguanas' started by Mark, Sep 18, 2004.

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  1. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    My 9 year old male ig, Bob 15" SVL 51" STL 8 pounds, has just lost most of his outside time privledges because he claimed the yard as his territory and aggressivly defends it against most anything. Within his cage and the apartment he is fine even though he bobs his head.

    Does anyone have suggestions on how to keep him from becoming so territorially aggressive in areas where I have to be also?

    As I have a med/small 2 bedroom apartment with three human roommates I have to share Bob's cage (4x8x6) with him. I am sitting in it as I type this in fact, I also sit in here to do most of my homework and reading too. I found out that the folding cordura sport chairs are rather comfortable to work in.

  2. Jem_Scout

    Jem_Scout Elite Member

    Is he just coming into breeding season?
    Mine acts agressive at that time but that won't happen until Nov/Dec sometime....
  3. steveig2

    steveig2 Elite Member

    by being aggresive i assume you mean hes trying to bite you or anyone else in his territory? not much you can do about it except let it run its course.
  4. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    Being aggressive = head bobbing, turning to a bright orange color, hatchet walking, charging at a full run, snapping, open mouth threatening, lunging to bite, climbing to get a better bite at flesh instead of clothing...

    Thing is I am smart enough not to ask for a fight with a male ig of his size.
  5. steveig2

    steveig2 Elite Member

    your just going to have to keep flesh out of the way and ride it out. some people have had luck with giving the ig a green towel to take its aggresions out on or a green stuffed animal. take pics if you can its great stuff for education purposes
  6. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    He's not in season, this is a pure territory issue. Bob never responed to a Luv Soc or the like. He should come into season late in February.
  7. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member


    This is certainly a tough situation. Fortunately, for whatever reason, Rex has never defended a territory, not sure why. He's a free-roamer and maybe just confident that he is secure, that we won't eat his greens (more true than he even knows, LOL) and won't take his women, should one every happen to enter the house or yard in the first place. Or perhaps he just thinks that he dominates us and allowing us to live in HIS territory anyway. LOL

    One thing I would suggest is to throw off the territory, similar to what people do with a room or enclosure. Change things, add an element to the yard that he is unsure of. See how he responds to it. Does he attack it or shy away from it? Then reassert your position in the territory.

    But, all in all, he's simply being a large male iguana who knows he can intimidate people. If Rex were to pull something like that I would intervene in the extreme, probably bleed a bit, but never let him win the altercation. I have on occassion had to restrain Rex in a forceful manner (Pressing front shoulders and rear hips to the ground and immobilize him for severe misbehavior. He struggles violently, I certainly end up with tail lashes and scale abrasions, but I will simply not let him overpower me. It's not pretty, he hates it very much, but the point gets across. If I use forced restraint now, the fight is much less.

    Of course, during his nasty first heat, I ran screaming like a little girl and jumped up on the first high thing I could to escape the gape. LOL But, thank God we are past that now. In those situations, I used a towel to blind him and then shaking incredibly, secured him and moved him back to his enclosure.

    Mark, you know Bob better than anyone, and likewise, he knows you. My fear is if he thinks he can get this one over on you, he'll expand that thought process to other things and you may lose control altogether. Not good!

    Have you tried the garden hose method? Rex does not like to be squirted repeatedly by the hose, a quick soaking is fine, but prolonged and he tries to move away from it. When Bob postures (early on in the process) try squirting him down (the proverbial cold shower if you will) and see if it breaks the aggressive focus.

    Honestly, I'm throwing out things here in an attempt to find SOMETHING to stop this cycle of bad behavior. The downward spiral needs to be stopped as soon as possible. So, take it for what it's worth.

    I also defer to Steve's judgement here, he knows iguanas and their behavior incredibly well and I look forward to his suggestions too.

    Lastly, go to the Master, you have his e-mail addy, you ordered your lamps from him and he has more experience with aggressive males than anyone I know. ;) In fact, I would suggest that as your best course of action here. Call on the Iguana-Whisperer and see what he advises.

    Most of all Mark, good luck. I hope you find a solution fast.
  8. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    The working solution at this point is stop letting him out in the yard. This would have happened anyway as I am in classes now and it is cooling down. He stayed inside for all of Friday then I let him out today and he was not too bad. I certanly don't let him get away with anything or do I let him win -- just my fingers don't take the front line.

    Pinning him just makes it worse as he seemingly retaliates. I no longer have a hose so any water shower "weapon" would be of very short term use. I have found that simply picking him up works. I can pick him up by the base of his tail then get my other hand under him so I don't risk getting bitten. Holding him up almost noramally -- I hold him from underneath away from my body and firmly hold the base of his tale as well -- gets the point across that I am in charge and can move him where I want when I want. When he goes back down on the ground after this he is not too bad, for a while. He is fine in his house and shows no sign of changing.

    thanks for the help guys
  9. steveig2

    steveig2 Elite Member

    no hose is no problem i have a plant misting bottle that i can set to spray a fine mist or a stream of water while ive never had to use it for that purpose it doubles as a great way to add humidity. guess i just never really let jorge get to me when he had his nasty time. i diddnt exactly let him bite me but he grabed me a couple times and once while i was driving down the road he grabed me by the back of the neck i had to pull over and wait. something else you might want to try and i know it sounds silly but you could bob back at him copy his big head bobs i have done this with jorge when we had disputes as to who was in charge here he immediatly took a less defensive position . you have to call his name and be loud and firm while using the word no firmly. like Dom said break his concentration, best to get this under control now seeing as hes not that big jorge weighs in at 12 pounds and 19 inches svl but hes a puppy dog his only problem is little human contact outside of me. anyhow good luck and keep us posted
  10. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    Thinking back to when I started to take him out and let him walk around in the lawn I would put him down then walk away and tend my garden giving him free reign over the yard. His aggression slowly escalated over the summer and then moved across a state when I moved back to school. However, I have been around and with him nearly the whole time when he has been in his remodeled cage.

    He has defended his territory against most things I have seen enter it. Three bunnies were chased off one day. A week later two ducks flew over him and landed about 5 meters away they promptly got charged, took off, and never came back. But he will not pull the wool over my eyes.
  11. steveig2

    steveig2 Elite Member

    as long as you can control his territorial nastiness and calm him down when it is nessesary i wouldnt be concerned just make sure he knows your the real boss and let him think hes guarding his "big wild ig space" dont forget that most igs i wont say all but most get a charge from natural sunlight thats what causes the all the displaying and territory stuff which is healthy though i understand from igseriencethat the size of an ig can fool the untrained person. aftre all who would think that a 5 foot ig would be so hard to hold onto =)
  12. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    I initially thought that it was sunlight too but...

    1) the change is instantanious upon steping out of the door
    2) still aggressive when I take him out late in the evening (sun real low and behind houses) granted I don't have a meter though
    3) I stepped from a single 24" reptisun 5 to a megaray EB flood a few weeks ago and there has been no change in his behavior due to it.

    My intro here was wiped out in the last crash. I have not worked with many igs at all, I think that I have only handled three including Bob, but I have had Bob for over nine years and able to hold my own with him at anything I have even seen him try on me. This current state is more of an annoyence than anything as I am no longer able to sit in the lawn and read or do homework as he walks around.
  13. steveig2

    steveig2 Elite Member

    wish i had a good answer for you i know of at least 2 people who have igs that are very aggressive at all times i have been through many trial and error workings with them to resolve the igs aggresive state running the gambit of diet to uvb exposure anything you can think of ive been over it with them and still they have very aggresive iguanas the only other factor that you have that changes it is you are a male and they are female. who knows what lurks in the mind of an iguana perhaps it is the move itself that has made him different how recent was this move ? iguanas dont like change they prefer things to be the same old routine i do hope that he works through it...
  14. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    Move was 3 weeks today. He is fine inside and when for a walk away from the yard. He was not too bad in the yard for a few minutes today -- I just stayed standing directly over him out there and did not let him walk more than 2 feet away.
  15. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    I have to agree with Steve here. The move has likely stressed him in some way, which is manifesting in him claiming the new "territory" for himself.

    Keep up your correcting practices Mark and hopefully he'll ge tthe message soon enough that the yard is actually YOURS not his.

    Also, I believe the strong UVB from Mega-Ray can have something to do with it. Iguanas get energized from strong UVB either from the sun or from the new lamp and they start to "feel their oats". Let's not forget that calm, timid iguanas are NOT healthy iguanas. I have certainly seen a difference in Rex's personality since he's been under the Mega-Ray and I think it's a positive step.

    Good luck!
  16. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    Should have been clearer. I have been dealing with this since mid June but now I just have a smaller lawn that I have to share with him. I was hoping that the move and new yard would throw him off and out of the territorial displays. I have been keeping up on correcting this since it started and asking for help with it over at ig-zone.

    There was no noticeable change in him with the new lights.
  17. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    After a week of being confined to the house I took Bob back outside today. Now he seems hesitant and skittish out there with no aggressive display or even much walking around. I was eating some grapes and walking around as he was on the lawn. He showed no interest in the grape I offered him, but he never was a big fan of grapes. I later walked up from his side and slightly behind as I always have to pick him up and he started to run, not a full out run but faster than normal. Ran straight to the closed front door which he only just slowed down for. After realizing that the door was closed he continued to scratch at it until I opened it and lifted him up.

    Last time he was out he actually bit the side of my shoe. More of a glancing blow than a direct downward chomp but one tooth hit its mark well and slashed open a 3/4 inch long cut in the leather. Now I have to figure out how to fix my shoe, these are comfortable nice looking black leather shoes that I have worked a nice, somewhat deep, shine into over that last year. At least my finger would have healed...
  18. Jem_Scout

    Jem_Scout Elite Member

    Sounds like he is making progress least he ran to the door and didn't charge you.
    Sorry about your shoe...just be thankful you were not barefoot!
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