Acquired: Pet store
Posted Jul 06, 2016
Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are popular as pets when small. Unfortunately, they grow very big, very quickly. This is probably one of the most regularly abandoned reptiles once it gets too large.
My wife and I kept a breeding pair of Green iguanas but planned ahead before we bought them. We built an extension to our house, 4 feet wide by 6 feet long and 6 feet high. The room had a gently sloping, tiled floor that ran down to a gutter. We used underfloor heating and mounted UV lights along the back wall. To ensure maximum light, we built glass walls and added a glass ceiling. There was a faucet in the room so we could hose it down to keep it clean. With some full-size bark-free logs from our farm braced across the room and a pond in the middle, the iguanas seemed to thrive.
This amount of effort may sound over the top but it worked well, being easy to keep clean and heated. Each year we would get a batch of eggs, which were laid in a special sand-filled 3 foot plastic cube with a large hole cut in one side. The eggs always hatched, and the babies grew well. The iguana room became an attractive display feature as it was adjacent to our dining room.
Our male Green iguana grew to 5 feet in length while the female grew to just over three feet. I have read that males can be aggressive towards women but our iguanas caused no such trouble. Even during the iguana breeding season when the male supposedly becomes difficult, he was always docile with my wife.
While no reptile can really be classed as tame, the two iguanas really seemed to enjoy being tickled by my wife. They would rush over to her when she went in with food and take vegetables from her hand. This was not something they would do with visitors and the male could even become temperamental when I was in the room on my own.
My wife tried walking around the house with the male on her shoulders as you sometimes see on TV. She gave it up as a bad idea – he weighed a lot and possessed needle sharp claws. If he thought he was slipping, he would dig them in hard, drawing blood!
Green iguanas are fantastic pets but only if you have done your research first and are prepared to house a five foot long lizard. We found them easy to care for but we had the space and time to look after them.