What Should be in an Iguana Habitat?

Erin J. Hill

As with all pets, the primary things that should be included in an iguana habit are food, water, and a place to "use the restroom." Other things like heating lamps should also be provided for this specific type of pet in order to keep his body temperature regulated. Everything used should be made for use with an iguana to prevent injuries, which may occur when substitutions are made.

Iguanas eat bananas.
Iguanas eat bananas.

The first aspect to consider in a iguana habitat is the enclosure, or cage, used for housing. For the first year, a small enclosure with mesh wire is sufficient, but adult iguanas can grow quite large and require a much bigger enclosure. Cages should be made from mesh wire or wire that has bars spaced close together to prevent the iguana from escaping. Plastic containers are not recommended, as iguanas typically love to climb on their wire enclosures. Plastic cages also make regulating temperature more difficult. Cages should be lined with newspaper or another liner that must be replaced each day.

Kale is a good food for iguanas.
Kale is a good food for iguanas.

Foliage of some sort should be included in any iguana habitat because they love to climb trees and plants and sit near lights or heating lamps for warmth. Artificial trees made for this purpose are usually the best choice since some real plants can be poisonous for iguanas. Plants should be large enough for the animal to climb and perch easily.

Food and water should be added to the iguana habitat where it can be easily reached and consumed. Water should be available at all times, and food should be given at least once or twice a day. Processed animal foods are not recommended because they often contain animal by-products. Iguanas are herbivores, meaning they only eat plant matter, so the best food for a pet iguana is fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bananas, mustard greens, kale, and other chopped greens are excellent choices for proper nutrition. Many of these things can be grown easily in the backyard, and others can be purchased inexpensively at any grocer. Snacks are available but should be given only sparingly to prevent excessive weight gain. Some specialty pet stores may offer pre-packaged food for iguanas. These are acceptable, but owners are encouraged to provide fresh foods as well.

A heating lamp should also be used in the iguana habitat to ensure that the animals stays at the proper temperatures. An iguana needs to be kept between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (29 and 35 degrees Celsius). This helps to mimic the natural habitat of the iguana in the tropical rain forests. Heat rocks should never be used in an iguana habitat, as they provide too much heat in one concentrated area. The best heating method involves the use of a reptile heating lamp which can be controlled with a timer and thermostat to keep temperatures regulated.

The desert iguana is known for its ability to tolerate heat.
The desert iguana is known for its ability to tolerate heat.

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