Over the years, keeping an iguana as a pet has become very popular around the world. To properly care for an iguana, however, you must know what kind of iguana food that your pet requires and what kind of food may harm him. For example, a wide variety of leafy vegetables should be offered, along with some other vegetables and fruits. Commercial iguana foods can also be given on occasion or mixed in with the fresh food to provided some needed protein. Because iguanas have very small teeth, chopping most of the food into tiny bits is recommended.
When at all possible, the iguana food that you offer to your pet should be very similar to what it would eat in the wild. Because of this, many veterinarians recommend that at least half of any iguana diet should include dark green, leafy vegetables. These are rich in essential nutrients such as calcium and fiber. Examples of these can include mature alfalfa, parsley, endive, and also dandelion, mustard, collard, and turnip greens.
Although spinach is dark green and leafy, it should be offered in moderation. This is high in oxalates, which can reduce the amount of calcium that is absorbed by the body. Other foods that are considered high in oxalates are carrots, beets, kale, and celery.
Fruits, other vegetables, and even flower petals should make up roughly a quarter of the iguana food. Fruits can include berries, bananas, apples, papayas, mangoes, and pears. Figs, dates, and apricots are considered especially nutritious for iguanas because they are high in calcium. Many iguanas love many types of squash, peas, beans, peppers, and mushrooms, and these make a nice addition at meal time. Rose, carnation, and hibiscus petals are also often considered a tasty treat.
Although many iguanas will willingly devour many types of lettuce, especially iceberg lettuce, this is not always the best choice for iguana food. Nutritionally speaking, it lacks much of what an iguana needs to stay healthy. Adding it in with other foods as a change of pace or in an emergency will not necessarily harm your pet. A diet consisting mainly of this type of lettuce, however, could cause serious malnutrition problems down the road.
Many experts also recommend that a pet iguana should be offered a small amount of grain in its diet. These should be offered only every once in a while, though. Good sources of grains for iguanas include thoroughly cooked rice or pasta, or whole wheat or grain bread.
Rhubarb is considered to be very toxic when offered as iguana food, and it should be avoided completely when feeding your pet. Also, because the green iguana is naturally a herbivore, it should not be fed any type of meat. This includes insects or worms, as these are not a natural part of an iguana's diet in the wild.