Acquired: Pet store
Posted Mar 02, 2015
I worked at a small town cafe during high school. One of our customers, who owned a business next to us, would come in every morning with coffee. Every time he came in, he had a two foot long iguana wrapped around his neck. This big guy was too awesome, so after doing some research and getting some insight from this customer, I decided to grab an iguana for myself.
Most people think of green iguanas when they hear of a pet iguana, and that's a lot of what you'll find at the pet store, but there's all sorts of different kinds of iguanas. The desert iguana is indigenous to the US and seems to be easier to care for, but it is also hard to find them in pet stores. I don't know if they're carried in stores around my area anymore. I had a hard time finding one back when I got Chuck.
The start up for an iguana can prove to be costly. They require just the right kind of environment. They need a large terrarium because they can get very large. You also need to make sure you keep their terrarium warm enough - it has to be hot, like 90 degrees hot, so you'll need a heat lamp that can get a terrarium that warm. They also need a lot of light, a very sandy home, and require just the right diet.
If they get too cold, they can't digest their food good enough, and this can cause undernourishment. If it's not bright enough, it will hinder their growth and their overall emotional well-being. They're similar to tortoises in the fact that they don't really drink too much water. Instead, they receive their hydration through the food that they eat. When picking out their diet, you have to make sure it's nutritious and full of water.
If you get more than one, you can't have two males. They will kill each other.
It cost me a good amount of money to get Chuck's terrarium up and running. But once he was all set up, the care was pretty simple. I didn't have to clean his terrarium too often. He was a gentle guy. He learned to accept me, and eventually I got to carry him on my shoulders, but it did take some time and patience as he usually tried to dart away from me when I came around. I loved carrying him and feeding him.
Chuck, whose name was chosen for a reason I don't even remember anymore, lived a very long life. These guys can live anywhere from eight to fifteen years if you give them the proper care.
I don't have any photos of my Chuck other than in a photo album, so the photo I chose is just one that's too cute to pass up. Desert iguanas are a subtle mixture of browns, whites, and grays.