Acquired: Worked with pet (didn’t own)
Posted Nov 18, 2015
Iguanas, on the whole, are a touchy group of animals. They're known for their moodiness, and it's relatively accepted among iguana owners that most humans come out of long-term association with scars.
Let me begin by saying that iguanas are highly individual animals. The rhinoceros iguana I worked with was happy to have his head and jowls scratched, but did not want to be picked up, held, or really even touched otherwise; he would not hesitate to bite if sufficiently irritated. I've known of iguanas that couldn't be approached at all, and one iguana who had the temperament of a big sleepy kitty-cat.
What this means is that if you get an iguana, it's going to be an interesting ride, but also that there's no telling what kind of individual you're going to get (although acclimation to handling as a young animal probably helps).
The biggest thing to consider when looking at iguanas is size (pun intended). They may be tiny at the pet store, but they grow quite large. Consider their space, heating, and humidity requirements: it's one thing to maintain a microclimate in a terrarium, entirely another to maintain it in an entire room of your house. Energy costs are nothing to sneeze at.
They also require excellent, balanced nutrition, including a steady supply of fresh produce, and supplementation to maintain their health. Finding veterinary care for a large exotic can be extremely difficult (and expensive) as well.
My advice would be: approach with caution. If you are completely ready for an iguana, you will likely have a unique companion with a big (if not necessarily approachable) personality. Iguanas can be a lot of fun! But they are not for beginners, or for anyone who isn't one hundred percent completely certain they are ready for one.