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How Do I Care for a Baby Iguana?

Baby iguanas can be fed mango.
Collard greens and other dark, leafy greens should make up more than half of a baby iguana's diet.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2014
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Before deciding to get a baby iguana, consider how large the reptile will become. Iguanas can grow up to 6.5 ft (about 2 m) long, and can weigh up to 11 lbs (about 5 kg). They can also live for approximately 20 years. New iguana owners should be sure that they are able to properly care for their new pet. This includes providing the proper housing, nutrition, and health care.

Carefully check the state of the baby iguana's health before bringing him home. Iguanas should not be lethargic, they should be active and alert. The stomach should not be distended and the limbs should not appear swollen. Check the underside of the baby, he should not have feces stains there. If the pet store's iguana enclosure is filthy, obtain your new pet elsewhere, as the iguanas are being exposed to bacteria.

Prepare an iguana enclosure that is at least 55 gallons (about 242 liters) in size. As the reptile grows, he will need an even larger aquarium. This home should be lined with the proper substrate, or bedding. Iguanas should not be housed with wood chips, as they may irritate the animal's respiratory system. The substrate may be bark chips or newspaper, provided that the newspaper uses only soy-based ink.

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Iguanas like to climb. The aquarium should have plenty of sturdy branches for climbing, which can be purchased at a pet supply store. This will not only help keep the baby iguana happy, it will also provide him with exercise to keep him healthy.

The temperature in the baby iguana's housing area should be strictly regulated. Iguanas move into hotter temperature areas when they are too cool, and back into cooler areas when they feel hot. Such a basking area should be between 95° and 100° F (35° to 38° C) for heat, with the other end between 80° and 85° F (26.5° to 29.5° C) for cooling. The temperature can typically be regulated with a heat lamp and a thermometer.

Iguanas are herbivores, which means that they eat only plants. Baby iguanas should be offered food twice daily, however, some may only eat once a day. Over half of their food should be composed of dark, leafy greens — such as mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens. Baby iguanas also enjoy grated vegetables, such as carrots, pumpkin, and zucchini, as well as fruits like mango, strawberries, and kiwi. All foods should be chopped into bite-sized pieces.

Calcium is an essential supplement for iguanas. Baby iguanas require a calcium powder dusting on their food, three times per week. Water should be constantly available in a water bowl. A misting water bottle should be used to spray the enclosure once daily, in order to raise the humidity level. Your new baby may also enjoy licking this water off the enclosure walls.

Baby iguanas are feisty pets, however, they do require a high level of maintenance. Only bring a new iguana home if you are certain you can provide adequate care for him. In addition to giving him the proper environment and nutrition, take your iguana to a veterinarian who can keep track of his health and trim his nails, if necessary.

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