How to Set Up Your First Pet Iguana Habitat
What do you think of when you think of getting a pet? Well, most of us think pet, we tend to think of a fluffy kitten or a happy-go-lucky puppy. However, there are pet owners out there who think reptile when they think of pets, specifically pet iguanas. There are quite a few benefits out there and reasons to own your own pet iguana, but it’s important to note that it’s not as simple as going to your local pet shop and choosing an iguana, taking it home and letting it roam the house. There are things you should consider before getting an iguana, hidden dangers to owning reptiles that you should know about, and tips and guidelines you should follow for not only taking care of your slithery pal but setting up your first pet iguana habitat as well.
In this blog, we’re going to go into most of the things listed above, then give you a list of things that you need to make sure that your pet iguana is set up, healthy, and happy in their own pet iguana habitat. So, are you ready to get started on this blog about pet iguanas and the habitats in which they live? Us too! Then, let’s journey into the world of the pet iguana together, shall we?
Top Reasons to Get a Reptile/Iguana for a Pet
In this section, we’ll list a few of the top reasons that many people choose a reptile over a fluffy cat or sweet puppy as a pet. See if you agree with their reasons below.
- They are a lot less messy than your average pet
- No fur, dust mites, and pet dander to coat your home and have allergies running wild
- Feeding can be only a couple of times a month, according to the breed, while other pets have to be fed daily, sometimes more
- Some live a lot longer than average pets
- You can leave them alone while you work and not have to worry that your house will be destroyed when you get home
- They don’t need to be walked, groomed, trained, or taken outside to potty
- Reptiles are constantly teaching you
While these are great reasons to get your very first pet iguana as a pet, there are things that you should consider before taking the plunge into owning any type of reptile. In our next section, we will go into the things you should know.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Iguana as a Pet
Just because you’re considering and excited about adopting your very own pet iguana, that doesn’t mean that you’re ready for the huge task ahead. Keeping that in mind, read our next section on things to consider before adopting an iguana as a pet to help you make an informed decision on whether it’s the right choice for you and your family.
They can get Really Big
According to the species and kind of iguana you choose they tend to get really big. For example, in captivity, your average green iguana can get over six feet in length and weigh in at up to 20 pounds. If you think about it, those are baby alligator sizes, my friend. Also, the cute little green iguana you saw in the pet store will quickly turn into one of those big iguanas we were just talking about. If you have the space for a habitat big enough for a full-grown iguana that is awesome but considers that before making the purchase.
They Need a Ton of Space
You might be thinking, so they get big, I can handle that. The thing is, the more they grow, the more space you’re going to need to give them. As they get bigger, green iguanas feel the urge to roam and climb. At the bare minimum, you are going to need an enclosure that is six feet long, six feet wide, and at the least six feet tall. Can you dedicate the space in your apartment or home to a habitat of that size for your pet iguana? If you can’t, then you need to rethink your purchase.
They Can Break Your Arm
While your iguana is not going to wake up one morning and decide he wants to break your arm today, it has been known to happen to iguana owners before. If the iguana feels threatened, it is possible that he will whack you with his tail and they whack hard enough to break an adult male’s arm, much less a child or small pet that they feel threatened by. Of course, you would really have to upset your little green friend before he would do that, but it’s best to get it out there in the open before you adopt one for a pet.
Other Things to Consider Before Adopting Your Own Pet Iguana
There are a few other things that you might want to consider before making the final decision to adopt an iguana as a pet. Those things are listed below.
- They are used to being in tropical climates
- They live an exceptionally long life
- They aren’t at all cuddly
- Their tails can fall off
- They are strictly vegetarians
- You need to perform a ton of research to be able to care for them properly
Please, do not adopt a pet iguana on a whim. Do the correct amount of research and make your decision based on what you find. These reptiles need to be taken care of properly and they do not do well when thrown out because you decide they are too hard to take care of. If you have made an informed decision and still want to get an iguana, then that is great. However, in our next section, we will discuss a few of the hidden dangers of reptiles as pets, just so you’re aware of what you’re getting into ahead of time. If you still wish to get a pet iguana at the end of that section, follow us into our section on what you need for your pet iguana habitat.
Dangers of Owning Reptiles as Pets
While reptiles are really popular pets, it’s important to know the dangers of owning one, whether it’s an iguana, a snake or some other form of reptile. Below we will go into a couple of the dangers that you need to be aware of upfront.
All pets, no matter what kind, have a chance of spreading viruses and zoonotic diseases, this includes reptiles. These diseases can be spread in so many ways, including fungi, bacteria, or viruses entering the mouth, and even be spread through the air, or enter the bloodstream through a break in your skin that you truly need to be extra careful, no matter what animal you adopt.
The most common zoonotic disease spread to humans by their adopted reptile pets is salmonella. This can be spread when you don’t wash your hands after handling your reptile friend or even by eating something that feces from the reptile accidentally got on. The best way to be sure that you don’t contract a zoonotic disease from your iguana is by practicing safety precautions, such as washing your hands after any and all contact with your iguana, keeping his habitat spotlessly clean, and never letting him just run free around your home spreading germs.
Let’s face it, no matter how tame you think your reptile pet is, they are still from the wild. While these reptiles don’t just turn on people and attack them, people have been known to be bitten by snakes and even clawed or bitten by pet iguanas. The best way to avoid this is by choosing the right reptile for your family and making sure that you do your research and learn how to handle the reptile you choose as well, from handling them to feeding them and beyond.
These are just a couple of the hidden dangers out there when owning any type of reptile, even the usually mild-mannered and docile iguana and just a few of the things you need to know before you make a decision to adopt one of these amazing creatures.
If you have done your research, read this blog, and are absolutely positive that you still want to adopt and can handle having a pet iguana, then you are in for a great experience. Keep on reading to find out what you need to set up your pet iguanas habitat. Also, don’t forget that you need to set up the habitat with your baby iguanas adult needs in mind unless you want to have to build an entirely new habitat as your pet grows.
What You Need to Set Up Your Pet Iguana Habitat
Okay, you have read up on iguanas and reptiles in general and are still ready to go to the local pet store to find yourself an iguana to keep for a pet. Congratulations! But don’t go yet, first find out below what you need to keep your iguana safe, healthy, and happy below.
List of What You Need for Your Iguana’s Habitat
- The largest and tallest cage you can find
- Some sturdy branches for climbing, perches for perching, and ramps for roaming around
- A sturdy wooden box that can be used as a hiding area
- UVB fluorescent bulbs for lighting purposes
- A basking light for warmth
- Thermostats so that you can monitor the temp of the habitat at all times
- A substrate to line the bottom of the cage
- Heavy food bowls and a couple of heavy water bowls
- A water tub or a spray bottle so that you can keep the humidity in the cage right
Now, that you have gotten the habitat ready for your iguana, it’s time to consider what you’re going to feed your pet. Below you can find a short list of supplements and foods you should keep on hand.
Foods and Supplements Needed
- Plenty of greens and veggies, such as kale, collards, mustards, carrots, peas, green beans, squash, and even bell peppers to name a few.
- Plenty of fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cantaloupes, and apples to add variety to your pet’s diet.
- Iguana food that can be bought at your local pet store and added to the fruits and veggies you are feeding your pet
- A vitamin and calcium D3 supplement
- A multivitamin supplement that is made for reptiles
It’s also a very good idea to find out if there is a vet in your area that takes exotic reptiles. It is possible that your local vet does not and you want to make sure you have a place to take your pet to for checkups and if you have an emergency. The last thing you want is a sick or injured iguana and to have to drive for hours to get to the nearest vet or emergency animal clinic. Make sure that you do your research so you know for sure what you are getting yourself and your family into. Yes, reptiles, especially iguanas are very popular pets, but you also have to have the means, dedication, and motivation to care for them, just as you would any other pet you adopt.
This concludes our blog on how to set up your first iguana habitat and the things you should know before you make the final decision to adopt any type of reptile, an iguana included. Remember, having an iguana is a huge responsibility and a many year investment and commitment. Make sure you’re prepared for that. Until next time, enjoy your pets, everyone!
- Pets4Homes: 10 Great Reasons Why Reptiles Make Good Pets
- PetHelpful: 11 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet Green Iguana
- Pet Iguana Care: Care Sheet