Animal Care

Animal Type:
Animal Breed:
Green Iguana

Greed Iguana Care: Feeding, Housing and Handling

Diet and Feeding

Most young iguanas need to eat daily, while older iguanas can be fed daily or every other day, depending upon each pet's individual appetite.

Most (80-90%) of the plant material should be dark green leafy vegetables, and only 10-20% should be fruits. As a rule, anything dark green and leafy can make up a large part of the diet. Yellow, red and orange vegetables can also be included. Avoid fiber-rich, nutrient and vitamin-deficient light green vegetables including iceberg or head lettuce and celery, as their composition is mainly fiber and water with little nutrient value. The inner light-colored parts of some vegetables are less nutritious than the darker green outer leaves.

Acceptable vegetables that should represent a high percentage of the diet include collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens, alfalfa hay or chow, bok choy, kale, parsley, Swiss chard, watercress, clover, red or green cabbage, savory, cilantro, kohlrabi, bell peppers, green beans, escarole and dandelion. A lesser percentage of the diet can include cactus, various squash, sprouts, cooked sweet potato, parsnips, okra, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, peas and corn. Fruit can include apples, pears, bananas (with skin), mango, grapes, star fruit, raisins, peaches, tomato, guava, kiwis, and melons. Fruits that are particularly healthy include figs (which contain high calcium), apricots, dates, raspberries and strawberries. Fruits may be eaten preferentially, are generally mineral poor and should perhaps be used sparingly as top dressing. As a treat, flowers such as geraniums, carnations, dandelions, hibiscus, nasturtiums and roses may be offered.

Swiss chard, spinach and beet greens should be fed sparingly as they contain oxalates that can bind calcium and other trace minerals, preventing their absorption. Diets composed primarily of these vegetables can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Caution should also be exercised when feeding cabbage, kale or mustard greens, as these contain goitrogens; excessive amounts of these items may lead to hypothyroidism.

Fresh clean water should be available at all times for your iguana. Iguanas will not only drink from the water bowl but will often bathe in it as well. Provide water in a heavy bowl that is not easy to tip over. You must change the water and clean the bowl regularly, because iguanas often will eliminate in their water bowl while bathing. You may also want to mist your iguana with a water sprayer a few times a week.