The iguanas are greenish reptiles, of the family Iguanidae, belonging to the class of Sauropsida (Reptiles), in the Order of the Squamata (scaly), and its scientific name is Iguana. This genus brings together two species: the Caribbean iguana and the Green Iguana, from Central and South America.
These quiet and very observant animals are valued as pets. Every day there are those who choose them for their company, but they do require a lot of attention. Although it would not be appropriate to have them in captivity, you can offer a wide space where they can develop.
General features of the Iguana
Iguanas usually measure between 60, 70 centimeters or 2 meters long, estimated size from head to tail.
Its weight is usually between 15 and 17 kilograms.
These reptiles have a light green coloration, but sometimes this color gets darker.
Its hind legs are much larger than the front, but both have very hard and sharp claws that use to climb the trees, holding strong to not fall. They also tear the body of their victims in order to eat it.
Its tail is also very strong and has almost the same length as its body. They use it as a defense branch against their predators.
Iguanas moult their skin on a regular basis, this process is known as ecdysis. This happens because their scales tend to grow and, instead of producing new ones, they replace them by changing their skin. However, this process is different in every reptile.
These animals are poiquilotermos, that is to say, they vary their internal temperature in large proportions, according to the environment where they are located. For example, the temperature of an iguana in the day, will oscillate between 29 and 39 degrees, while in hours of the night is between 20 and 25 degrees. These temperature changes are favorable to your survival.
These reptiles are often found in parts of South America, Central and North America. Iguanas can adapt to the sun and rain, for them the most important thing is to find water and food. Iguanas usually inhabit humid areas where vegetation abounds; For example, forests, rivers, pastures.
Also where the temperature is between 26 and 28 degrees. High-rise trees are their favorite places, they can scale easily and at high speed.
In nature, alpha males usually guard and fight for their territory, especially for the best places to bask in sunbathing. The way to defend these areas, sometimes becomes aggressive, where the iguana manifests itself with head movements, widening of its jowl and signs of bites. While the less dominant males do not battle for that place, and prefer to retire to other sites.
A fact of this is that when the iguanas are captive, they cannot express this territoriality, which makes them stay stressed. Therefore, if you have more than one iguana at home, try to keep them in ample places to avoid clashes.
The iguana is a herbivorous animal, it feeds specifically on plants, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables. But this diet changes depending on age and weight; For example, adult iguanas usually eat every 24 hours, while the younger ones do so at least once a day. Thanks to this type of feeding, the iguanas have very developed the senses of sight and hearing, this will help to flee in a situation of danger.
In its natural habitat, a peculiarity that accompanies these reptiles in their diet is the practice of coprophagia (voluntary intake of feces), especially is common in younger individuals, they tend to eat the excrement of their companions to Get the intestinal flora while in adults, this practice is not usual.
On the other hand, if you have an iguana at home, you can feed it with small pieces of fruit and vegetables, never give them processed or artificially sweetened foods. For water, you can give it a drink by placing a container or a low plate or if you can’t opt for a drip method, where the water falls from the leaves or branches and she can easily take it.
Before mating, the iguanas are usually courted with head and tail balances, and it is at that time when the male rides the female. If at that moment the female iguana is suitable for mating, you will receive the male, but if not, then you will let go.
The reproduction of the iguana is oviparous, i.e. a reproduction process where the egg completes its embryonic development in an external way. The iguana can place between 20 to 70 eggs, and the incubation will oscillate between 60 to 110 days approximately.
In a natural state, the female will look for soft areas where they can dig a deep hole and deposit their eggs, they are covered with soil, away from predators. It is estimated that the life span of these reptiles is 10 to 20 years.
Common ailments of iguanas
Metabolic bone disease: The captive iguanas especially manifest.
Their main cause is improper care on the part of humans.
Due to the lack of exposure to ultraviolet light B, the lack of it, favors the development of the disease.
Nutrient-deficient food, low calcium and vitamin D3 will affect your health more.
This condition in the iguanas will cause them: defective jaws, deformed spine, constant fractures.
Common parasites: Plants and trees used to simulate iguanas ‘ habitats are usually provided with bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
Abscesses in iguanas: these are frequent, especially, in iguanas that inhabit groups and often battle over the territory.
Reproductive difficulties: Dystocia is the most common condition in captive females. It occurs when the eggs are caught in the oviduct and cannot be expelled by the iguana.
Behavior problems: Captive iguanas, as they grow, will become aggressive, especially males for territorial reasons.
Iguanas are territorial animals, so it is normal to be disturbed by the presence of other iguanas. It is recommended not to have mirrors near them so that they cannot be looked at.
Keep Clean the area where they are, collect the droppings, leftover food, and constantly rinse food and water containers.
Avoid direct contact, do not kiss your pet, this could cause infections and transfer of bacteria between both.
Feed with vegetables and small pieces of vegetables. Try to make this way of feeding her by herself. I mean, don’t try to feed it with your hands, otherwise use guates.
Fruits are important in your diet, you can vary them and feed them in an interdaily way.
You can help her with vitamin supplements for reptiles.
Never feed them with insects. This could kill them.
Place several containers with water in the area where you have your pet.
Make it a resting area, this will be the reptile’s comfort zone. There you can stay calm with sunshine and a little warmth.