The iguana is a beautiful and fascinating animal that has established itself as a pet in great demand with many households. Whether bright green or dark in color, its appearance makes the iguana an atypical and remarkable companion. To keep them healthy and happy, one of the most important things to take into account is their diet.
Do you have any idea what iguanas eat? Many will mention lettuce or certain fruits, which it is true, constitute a significant part of their diet, however, iguanas need much more than it can stay in top shape. Do not miss the rest of this article The diet of the iguana from Bright-Pets, in which we will detail the ideal diet of iguanas according to their age as well as some tips and advice to help you take good care of these big lizards.
The iguana as a pet
The iguana is a reptile of the Iguanidae family found naturally in Latin America and the Caribbean. It lives mainly in the humid forests, in which they inhabit the trees because it is an excellent climber.
It is an oviparous animal, that is to say that it reproduces by means of eggs. Although his diet is mainly herbivorous, it varies according to the different stages of his life, which is why we will explain below which food to give them according to their age.
What does a baby iguana eat?
The baby iguana needs to eat twice a day, always with fresh, very small, chopped or grated food. It is best to let him take a sunbath just after eating, because his rays help him to metabolize the food ingested and to assimilate the nutrients.
95% of the baby iguana’s diet should consist of green vegetables and leaves, and only 5% of fruit and special food for iguanas. In this sense, the basis of its diet should consist of:
Citrus fruits such as orange, lemon and kiwi are also to be avoided, as they are too acidic for the digestive system of iguanas. Foods like carrots, lettuce, bananas and grapes should only be offered occasionally, while Brussels sprouts, celery, beets and cauliflower should be banned completely. Likewise, never give them meat, eggs or dairy products.
Baby iguanas can also eat kibble made for iguanas, preferably softened with a little water, but only once or twice a week. Remember that the variety of your diet is the key to good health.
Certain vitamin supplements of phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D can also be administered, but occasionally and always under the supervision of a veterinarian.
What do young iguanas eat?
As we have already mentioned, the diet of these reptiles varies according to their age. Indeed, as we have just seen, they are vegetarians during the first weeks then, because the wild iguanas change environment while growing, they change their habits to eat not only fruits, plants and vegetables, but also some insects. However, we are talking about adaptive and survival behavior, so it is not necessarily the ideal food for the good health of the iguana, this is why this type of food must be offered. occasionally.
In captivity, it can be difficult to find live insects to offer to your iguana. You can offer him a few that you will find in the garden, always small, in a proportion of once or twice a week. Avoid dry or flaky foods like those sold in pet stores, like flies or mosquitoes, as they are usually recommended for fish and turtles.
Like baby iguanas, young iguanas feed a few times a day, but in larger quantities. How to know the right doses of food for an iguana? Well it will depend on the individual. One effective method of finding this out is to completely fill the bowl with food, and if it leaves food it means that it is too much, so you can gauge the amount of food it needs because, unlike in many dogs and cats, iguanas stop eating when they are full.
What do adult and older iguanas eat?
When it reaches adulthood, the iguana becomes completely herbivorous for the rest of its life. Vegetables, fruits and green leaves then constitute their whole diet.
To be healthy, they need at least 40% of their food to provide them with calcium, such as tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, parsley, strawberry, melon or pear. Special foods for iguanas are also recommended, but in maximum proportions of twice a week, so that you can offer them as a reward. You can also give it grains and grains like brown rice once a week and in relatively small amounts. You have here with these few foods, the basic diet of the iguana, but now let’s see in more detail which foods are prohibited.
As in other phases of its life, certain foods are prohibited for the iguana when it is adult or old: thus, you should not give it meat, dairy products and even less food recommended for other species. , as for dogs, cats or rabbits. Remember that these products are designed specifically for each species.
Some wild flowers may be a good idea as a dietary supplement for iguanas, but only if you are sure they do not contain pesticides or other chemicals.
Green iguana feeding
The green iguana or common iguana (Iguana iguana) only feeds on a herbivorous diet, in fact the ingestion of insects can reduce its life expectancy by half. In the wild, they eat leaves, flower buds and some fruit. At home, you can prepare portions of food that contain:
- Banana with skin
From time to time, you can also add to the iguana diet:
- Chewed up
- Romaine lettuce
- Bean sprouts
Never offer onions, cauliflowers, peas, grapes or citrus fruits.
Black iguana feeding
The black iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata) is native to Mexico where it inhabits coastal and rocky areas. However today it is also possible to find it in the United States. It is an endangered species, both because of the destruction of its habitat and because it is hunted for its meat.
From birth to seven months of life, the black iguana is an omnivorous animal; it therefore feeds mainly on insects and plants. In adulthood, he adopts a herbivorous diet.
Complete list of recommended and prohibited foods for iguanas
Throughout the article, we have presented you in broad outline what iguanas eat according to their age or their species. Below is a much more extensive list of the best foods for iguanas:
- Boiled rice
Prohibited foods for iguanas
In the following list, we present the least recommended foods for iguanas, which we can give very occasionally or which we must avoid at all costs:
- Meat and fish
- Peas with pods
- Flower petals
- Worms, larvae and insects
- Green or red beans
- Calcium-based foods for iguanas
As we saw earlier, calcium is an essential nutrient for the iguana, here are some of the foods you can offer:
- Chewed up
- Sesame seeds
Supplements for iguanas
In addition to the above, you can add the following supplements to your iguana’s diet:
- Liver oil
- Bone meal
- Cuttlefish or cuttlefish bone
- Calcium supplements
- Vitamin supplements