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#1 Old 01-19-2006, 01:02 AM
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I am thinking of getting a pet iguana but I am not sure if it would be a good pet or much of anything about them. I had a ball python so I have an aquarium and a heat rock and a heat lamp and I know they eat veggies except for celery and iceberg lettuce. Does anyone have experience with them and could give me pointers on whether they make nice pets and are easy to care for and if there are any special things I would have to take them to the vet for regularly?
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#2 Old 01-19-2006, 01:19 AM
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well, i've never had one, but they can get quite large (5-6 feet), live a pretty long time (10-20+ years), and can be aggressive and dangerous.



i'm pretty sure this is the website i spent a lot of time at when i was looking into iguanas: http://www.anapsid.org/iguana/index.html definitely take a good look at the info there.



eta: i also found http://www.todaysplanet.com/pg/beta/...over/page6.htm tonight, the author of which disagrees with the ideas for dealing with aggression of the author of the page i mentioned above.
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#3 Old 01-19-2006, 01:32 AM
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I wouldn't buy an animal from a pet shop, especially an animal like that. They're bred to be sold to people who don't fully understand how long they live, how to take care of them, etc. I'm sure most of them die from neglect. That's just something I don't want to support.



You could check with your local humane society and see if they ever get any in.



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#4 Old 01-19-2006, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post

They're bred to be sold to people who don't fully understand how long they live, how to take care of them, etc. I'm sure most of them die from neglect.

yeah, supposedly most captive iguanas die within their first two years of life from improper care.



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You could check with your local humane society and see if they ever get any in.

also spca, or a rescue, if you can find one. i'm not sure how common reptile rescues are.
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#5 Old 01-19-2006, 02:13 AM
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If I get an iguana it will be from one of my close friends father who raises them because they are violent if not paid enough attention and will lash out with their tails. Thanks for the site. I'll have to check it out in a few days as I am at work right now and don't have internet at my house. Oh and my snake had a very bad habit of sleeping in his water bowl.
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#6 Old 01-19-2006, 05:37 AM
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No, you don't want a pet iguana if you're expecting the same amount of work as a snake, they're a Huge PITA.



I've got Iggy right now who I adopted from the humane society 5 years ago, I still don't agree w/ people keeping them unless they're rescue animals and they're willing to work their lives around them. As others have said, breeders sell them indiscriminately and then they die of kidney failure and MBD before they hit sexual maturity. They're incredibly complex animals and what I'm about to describe is a minimum standard of care.



Iggy (and all adult iguanas) requires use of an entire room, which he shares with me, which means that my room must have a very high temp and humidity, with basking sights that reach the high 90's and contain his whole body and most of his tail (he has stunted growth from his previous owner, still he weights 9 lbs and is 4 1/2 feet long). His diet is very specialized and expensive, the anapsid.org web sight that ynaffit linked is excellent, and Melissa Kaplan is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable people about iguanas in the world. She has a simple salad and extensive lists and information about iguana nutrition, don't even consider the pre-made iguana diets, I've never seen one that I wouldn't label as iguana poison, they're not meant to eat corn and wheat foods.



The iguana will destroy the room, right now I'm moving into a rental and I'm having to put down a tarp covered w/ an area rug and cover the walls his shelves will touch to keep them clean, in addition to a very hefty pet deposit. No matter how well they are trained eventually you will have to go away for the weekend, work late, change his food, breeding/egg laying season will come, etc. and there will be some poop painting and food throwing. If I go on vacation I can be guaranteed that Iggy is going to crap all over my bed when I get back, so I keep a plastic sheet on my bed at all times.



Expect to spend quite a bit on initial set up as well, I've spent well over a thousand dollars on heating/lighting equipment alone, ceramic heating elements are the best way to maintain day/night temps, and they run about $35-40 a piece, and also require expensive fixtures (haven't had to buy one in awhile, I just remember it hurting), you also need reptile tube lights, I keep two and replace them at 6 month intervals so that there is always a new one, they are about $30 a piece, again w/the fun to buy fixture. Remember that the iguana needs to fit their entire body/tail in the light/heat, so you'll need more than one. The lights must be on a 12-13 hour timer, so from the hours of 7pm-7am, my room is dark, regardless of what I need to be doing. I've gotten ready for school in the dark for entire school years to avoid waking him up. They have a retina covered by a clear scale on the top of their head so even if their eyes are closed they know the lights are on and can't sleep properly. Longterm improper lighting schedules will cause stress, weakened immune system, aggression, etc.



The iguana must be provided with the opportunity to explore, and exercise, which is especially important for females. If they're not offered enough opportunity to climb and exercise they may be unable to lay eggs which requires and emergency surgery and has a high mortality rate.





I could go on, but I'll just say that if you still think you want one read Melissa Kaplan's "Iguanas for dummies" several times, get everything set up and then adopt from a humane society or shelter, breeding iguanas is (in my well researched and founded opinion) incredibly unethical. They are the most popular and the most abandoned reptile in the united states. They can live for over 20 years if you're doing your job right.





ETA: Vet bills, how on earth could I forget vet bills?!? Iguanas don't show a lot of signs of sickness so everytime Iggy is stressed out, acting weired, not keeping his normal schedule, etc. I get to go to the vet and drop $100 on blood work, not to mention the time and $$ it cost me to find a vet to see him who wasn't an iditot. Thankfully hes been fine so far, but if your iguana gets sick it will cost you some serious cash. Build a relationship with your vet now because if your iguana goes into renal failure you're going to want that payment plan.



ETA ETA: Oh, and the scars, how did I forget those? If you're interacting with your iguana like you're supposed to you will get scratched, if iggys tail rubs accross bare arm wrong it scrapes the skin, even if hes not in a bad mood (lets not talk about breeding season, thats why he got dumped in the first place, nasty nasty personality when horny) If he bit my bare skin I would need to go to the hospital and I seriously doubt there would be much left to stitch. Some iguanas just don't really like people all that much, if he is scared or sick he might become agressive. Iguanas are not cute or cuddly (ok, so iggy does come sleep on my bed and cuddle, but it isn't cute! he steals all the pillows)

The point in, be ready to get bitten because at some point it will happen, expect to get clawed, cause that will happen a lot. If you're really into your skin iguanas are not the pet for you.
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#7 Old 01-19-2006, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ynaffit View Post


also spca, or a rescue, if you can find one. i'm not sure how common reptile rescues are.



For iguanas sadly rescues are all too common, and its almost impossible for them to find homes for all of them.
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#8 Old 01-19-2006, 12:56 PM
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Hate to spam this thread, but I just killed another food processor making iggys food for this month With no food processor it took me three hours to mince everything. I can understand why the processor quit, my arms hurt!
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#9 Old 01-19-2006, 01:18 PM
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Belovedtree speaks the truth. Green iguanas are "farmed" in Central/South America and wholesale in the US for as little as $2 each, so many people regard them as "disposable".



My understanding is that 1 out of 10 purchased live past their first year. One out of ten. They need a lot of time, and careful attention to the Ca:P ratio in their food. Finding a knowledgeable herp vet can also be very difficult.



I was VP of the Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society for a year and a half. We always had at least 50 people waiting to give up their green iguanas for adoption. If you understand what's really involved in keeping these guys healthy, then please adopt instead of purchasing from a @#[email protected]# pet store.
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#10 Old 01-19-2006, 02:38 PM
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Oh yay, I was hoping you would respond Anthony, do you know what might have happened to her snake? It sounds to me like the dish was too deep or the temps were off, but I've never kept snakes before so I don't know.
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#11 Old 01-19-2006, 02:48 PM
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Oh yay, I was hoping you would respond Anthony, do you know what might have happened to her snake?

Did something happen to it? Since royal pythons can live for decades if given proper care, it sounds as though something did. Sleeping in a water dish isn't necessarily a horrible thing - I've seen corns who like to do that. LM, did your python have shedding trouble? Royals come from a fairly hot and dry climate, so it doesn't seem likely that humidity was an issue.

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It sounds to me like the dish was too deep or the temps were off, but I've never kept snakes before so I don't know.

I can't imagine a dish being too deep for a snake. Temp is another matter - the snake may well have been burned. Hot rocks are bad. Evil incarnate. Their heat is not diffuse, and they're prone to shorting. Heat should be supplied via a quality (eg. Ultratherm brand made from Flexwatt) under tank heater on only one end and/or an overhead Pearlco ceramic heat emitter. Electrical stuff place where an animal will urinate/splash is a disaster waiting to happen.
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#12 Old 01-19-2006, 02:54 PM
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I think if I ever got at the person who invented the heating rock (and put a picture of an iguana on it) I would kill him....



Anyway, I know with iguanas there is a risk that if you let them get too cold in their water they won't be able to move themselves out, but I also couldn't see a snake choosing to spend a good deal of time in water if it were too cold so I couldn't figure it out. Soaking/sleeping seemed pretty standard to me too, from what little I know about snake husbandry.
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#13 Old 01-19-2006, 03:01 PM
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I've heard of igs perching on a cool window sill and freezing, but I've never heard of something like that happening to a snake. I've known a number to like resting their heads in their water dish, and my burms loved to blow bubbles late at night. Drove me crazy until I figured out where the sound was coming from.
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#14 Old 01-19-2006, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LittleMistweave View Post

If I get an iguana it will be from one of my close friends father who raises them because they are violent if not paid enough attention and will lash out with their tails.

Does he breed them? WHere does he get them. If he's breeding them, I'm not sure how it would be better than a pet store. He's still creating more high maintenance pets that will likely end up in homes that can't properly care for them.
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#15 Old 01-19-2006, 03:10 PM
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I've heard that a good "starter" lizard is a blue tongued skink. They're supposed to be easier to care for and heartier than iguanas and don't get so large. They're also less aggressive. Something you may want to research if you're interested in owning a lizard.

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
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#16 Old 01-19-2006, 08:08 PM
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Props to ThebelovedTree for iguana dedication. MY husband had one for years and he grew to be over 5 feet long at his old age.

However, my husband has also eaten iguanas when we are out of the country. In other places they are known as "bamboo chicken". (hubbys an omni--go figure....)
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#17 Old 01-19-2006, 11:16 PM
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Grim (my ball python) would curl up to sleep with his head underneath the rest of him in the water dish. I tried to break him from it and took his water bowl out when I wasn't there to watch him but my mother put him in the aquarium with the water dish while I was at work. And My friend's dad has iguana's and breeds them but he keeps them all. I know I could get one though if I asked. My stepmom worked at the local animal shelter but they won't take reptiles there. Only cats and dogs. I have looked around and there were no birds or lizards or anything but cats and dogs. Forgot to add I have an extra room in my house where he could have his own personal room and I could just cover and set it up accordingly.
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#18 Old 01-20-2006, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

I've heard that a good "starter" lizard is a blue tongued skink. They're supposed to be easier to care for and heartier than iguanas and don't get so large. They're also less aggressive. Something you may want to research if you're interested in owning a lizard.

I usually think of bearded dragons or leopard geckos for a starter lizard.
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#19 Old 01-20-2006, 01:49 AM
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I usually think of bearded dragons or leopard geckos for a starter lizard.

I was thinking of getting a bearded dragon... Iguana or bearded dragon I would be happy with. I am going to check out some books from the public library and read up and decide what I want. Any other pointers about iguanas or bearded dragons are extremelly appreciated as well.
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#20 Old 01-20-2006, 02:20 AM
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www.anapsid.org is the place to look for care sheets & other info.
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#21 Old 01-20-2006, 02:54 AM
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Thank you.
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#22 Old 01-20-2006, 03:33 AM
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Best advice is to make sure you find a competent reptile vet BEFORE you purchase!! There's no way to do it without one.

http://photobucket.com/albums/b188/t...=HPIM0563a.jpg
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#23 Old 01-20-2006, 04:16 AM
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I have a vet that knows about them very well. I have a friend who has a 5-6 year old iguana and she says he is very careful with Jr. (her iguana). Your's are so cute. How old is the bigger one?
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#24 Old 01-20-2006, 04:18 AM
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Bearded dragons don't get nearly as big as iguanas. They are quite docile, too. I love them.
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#25 Old 01-20-2006, 04:24 AM
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Are bearded dragons easier to care for and feed? I may get one to get the hang of lizards more before I get an iguana. I had anoles when I was younger but I just gave them crickets and they were happy.
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#26 Old 01-20-2006, 06:21 AM
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In regard to giving the iguana his/her own room, they do much better if they are in an area of the house with traffic. They need intellectual stimulation because they are very intelligent. The reason I keep Iggy in my bedroom isn't because I couldn't get a spare room if I wanted, its because even if I'm not directly interacting with him he is still being exposed to people, watching TV with me, etc. It is quite difficult to resolve to spend a number of hours in a specific room everyday that is set up for the iguana only.



As others have said iguanas are a very very poor starter lizard, and you should be very careful about what books, etc. you get care information out of. There are many many dated or simply wrong books out there that can and will kill your iguana. The myth persists that they need animal protein when young, or only from eggs, etc. That will cause your iguanas kidneys to fail, it will kill them, but even some vets still tell you to add animal protein to the diet.



When I was 10 my parent's went to the petstore to get me a small snake, which they were out of, so the clerk talked my parents into getting me an iguana, which he said could live in the 20 gal I had my anoles in They also got me "the green iguana manual" which told me to do some pretty stupid things, like feed a lot of spinach and kale (spinach causes calcium deficiency, kale causes hypothyroidism). It also reccommended supplimentation with animal protein (even baby prekilled mice, for a damn herbivore), fast foward and combined w/ a 10-14 year old's in ability to care for an animal like that and I had killed two iguanas. Lucy actually reached adult size and lived until she was 4 and died of kidney failure, Simon died of MBD with severly stunted growth because no one mentioned that for the uvb light to work he needed to be with in 12 inches of it, the vet also reccomended that I syringe feed him nothing but ensure until he could eat on his own again which I believe also contributed to his death.



Eventually I was interested in adopting another iguana, discovered melissa kaplans book, found a much much better vet and got Iggy from the humane society.



Again, if you are interested in getting an Iguana I really encourage you to look around and get one from a rescue, I see you're in NC (I am as well) so I know there are rescues to be found. Triangle Iguana society is completly full and unable to take any more iguanas because of a ****ing fair that decided to give iguanas out as prizes, their message board is full of people who need to rehome their iguanas but can't find a rescue to take them, any iguana message board will be full of people needing to surrender their igs.
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#27 Old 01-21-2006, 10:43 AM
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I am at my dad's house now just so I could look at the links in this thread. Where is Triangle Iguana Society? I am in randolph county so I am right in the middle of the state pretty much.
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#28 Old 01-21-2006, 10:57 AM
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Triangleiguanarescue.com is their site, they're private individuals accross the state. To adopt they require a home visit, adoption application, follow up visits, etc. (and they require all of this for a reason, from what you have said here I really don't think you're ready to own an iguana). Look over their site, get Kaplans book and give yourself several months to think about it. Moving is very stressful for iguanas, you'll be doing one no favors if you adopt it and then send it right back to the shelter.
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#29 Old 01-21-2006, 11:02 AM
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I wouldn't be getting one for about another year or more I am just reading on the subject and learning for right now.
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#30 Old 01-21-2006, 11:08 AM
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The two links in the thread are by people who don't agree with each other lol. The first one said not to listen to Melissa Kaplan and the second one was Melissa Kaplan. Which one is better?
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