Iguanas certainly are some of the most interesting lizards on our planet. This large lizard originates from areas like Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean but they are now found almost all over the world since they became popular as pets.
There are only two classified species of iguana; the green iguana and the lesser Antillean iguana. Many do however feel that more species fall under the green iguana classification.
Iguanas are popular as pets because of their unique features and because they are so easy and affordable to care for. Unlike most lizard species, this animal is mainly a herbivore which means you don’t have to make as many trips to the pet store to buy insects with this lizard as you normally would with other lizard species.
Here is a quick look at some of the best foods to offer this lizard specie;
Iguanas mostly eat dark leafy greens. In the wild, they mainly survive on the leaves of trees and vines. Ideally, you should offer an iguana 80 – 90% of leafy vegetables every day.
Steer clear of light-colored vegetables since these are usually not as nutritious. You should also avoid offering iceberg or head lettuce and celery since these don’t contain much nutritional value for iguanas either.
The best leafy greens to offer your iguana include collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens, alfalfa, hay, chow bok, choy, kale, parsley, swiss chard, watercress, cover, red cabbage, green cabbage, and green beans.
10 – 20 % of your iguanas’ diet can consist of other foods such as fruits and veggies. Iguanas do enjoy eating a variety of fruits and veggies such as squash, sprouts, cooked sweet potato, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, peas, and corn.
You can also offer your iguana a little bit of fruit every other day. The best fruits to offer are sliced apples, pears, mango, grapes, star-fruits, raisins, peaches, tomatoes, guava, kiwi, and melon.
In the wild, iguanas will also occasionally eat flowers. You can offer your iguana the flowers of vegetable or fruit plants since these are usually safe and healthy for consumption. It is best not to offer too many flowers to ensure that your pet consumes enough leafy greens every day.
Some pet owners do prefer to supplement their iguanas with commercial canned or pelleted reptile food. Ideally, you should offer no more than 5 – 10% of this type of food since your iguana does need plenty of fresh food to stay nourished.
Alfalfa rabbit pellets are also a good supplement to offer your iguanas since they can eat alfalfa hay.
Iguanas usually don’t eat seeds but this can be a very nutritious food source to offer them. To get your iguana to eat this food, you can sprout the seeds. Sprout seeds are very tasty food for iguanas and the seeds become much softer so they can easily be consumed.
Iguanas do not get all their needed fluids by just consuming foods. They need to drink water to survive. Your iguana should have a freshwater source at all times so it can stay hydrated and so it can enjoy frequent bathes.
The biggest diet variations that iguanas have is that lizards in captivity usually have access to more human foods such as fruits and veggies compared to wild iguanas. Some wild iguanas do occasionally eat odd foods such as bird eggs but they typically avoid protein foods such as meat and insects.
Young iguanas need to eat every day but older iguanas can eat every other day. Some have a healthier appetite than others.
Ideally, you should offer your iguana fresh food every day. The best ratio to offer is 80 – 90% green plant matter and 10 – 20% other foods such as fruits and veggies.
To feed your iguana, you should chop the food into small pieces. This is because they swallow their food whole and cannot chew.
In the wild, iguanas mostly survive on just leafy greens from trees and vines. They prefer to dwell in edible trees and they can sometimes eat bird eggs if they happen to find a nest. Wild iguanas will also eat flowers and wild fruits they can find in their natural environment.
A baby iguana is called a hatchling and, as with adults, are herbivores. They mostly eat leafy greens like mustards, collards, or dandelion greens. Ideally, you should offer hatchlings softer green foods and it is best to offer a variety of food types to ensure that your pet iguana gets all its needed nutrition.
You can offer your iguana fresh food every day. You will quickly find how much your iguana needs or wants to eat in a single setting. Some of these lizards have a healthier appetite than others. You can also sprinkle some calcium supplements on its food every day and multivitamins can be added twice a week to ensure that your pet gets enough vitamins and minerals.
Most plant foods are safe for iguanas to eat. But some foods shouldn’t be offered too often. Foods like spinach, romaine lettuce, and celery should be offered every day since they don’t offer much nutrition. You should also avoid offering your iguana Rhubarb since this food is highly toxic to these animals.
Iguanas do have quite a few predators. Birds are some of the most common predators. If your pet does venture outside then you should be wary of hawks, eagles, and owls that might hunt and eat these lizards.
Snakes are also a common enemy of iguanas since some venomous species do kill and eat desert iguanas. On rare occasions, crocodiles and some fish species have also been seen to attack and eat iguanas.