Green Iguanas

Contrary to popular belief, The Tye-Dyed Iguana does not actually sell Green Iguanas.  The reaction we get to this policy varies greatly.  Many people, however, are not aware of the larger problem with the sale of Green Iguanas.

Green Iguanas are the #1 most abused and neglected reptile in our industry.  This is due to the overwhelming large amount of false care information in circulation.  The pet shops are also to blame in this situation.  Pet shops must know what they sell, and often they do not.  It's hard to stop the spread of misinformation when a storefront is helping to spread it.

We found ourselves in a situation where people thought we were lying to them when we told them how to properly care for a Green Iguana.  The common mentality is "I did it this way for years, it must be correct."  Our response to this statement is one word:  Asbestos.  Look how long we installed asbestos in people's homes until one day we realized it causes cancer.  Or better yet, from 1898 - 1910, heroin was prescribed as a cough suppressant.  Long story short, just because we did it for years, doesn't mean it's right.

Instead of selling Green Iguanas, we have opted to adopt them out.  You can add yourself to our Facebook page, where we do most of our adopting.

We need to take everything we used to do for iguana care and throw it out the window.  There have been amazing advancements in captive reptile husbandry.  We now know how to take care of these amazing creatures.  Here's a little overview of some basic care techniques.

Basic Caging Requirements
The cage dimensions should ideally be twice the animals length in each direction.  That means a hatchling iguana would need a cage roughly 2 foot cubed, or 2ft x 2ft x 2ft.  10, 20, and 30 Gallon tanks are never sufficient.  An adult iguana will need a cage 12-14 feet cubed, or a bedroom.  This is not an exaggeration.  Green Iguanas are very large arboreal (tree dwelling) lizards.  In order for them to maintain their natural behaviors, they need to be able to move freely in all directions.

Basic Lighting Requirements
Green Iguanas are a diurnal species.  This means they are awake during the day.  As a result, Green Iguanas need access to a heat source, a UVA source, and a UVB source.  Luckily, all standard heat bulbs emit UVA.  They do not, however, emit UVB.  This is a common misconception, again largely due to misinformation.  UVB bulbs will specifically say UVB on them.  Plant bulbs and fish bulbs are not the same thing.  They emit very low levels of UVB, not what's needed by the iguanas body.

UVB bulbs come in three strengths: 2.0, 5.0, and 10.0.  These strengths directly correlate with the intensity of the UVB rays.  See the chart below.

  Minimum Distance From Bulb Maximum UVB Penetration
Repti-Glo 2.0 Nocturnal Animals Only Nocturnal Animals Only
Repti-Glo 5.0 3" * 12"
Repti-Glo 10.0 6" * 20"
Mercury Vapor Bulbs 16" 3-5 ft

* Reptiles can get to much UVB just like humans.  Be sure to pay attention to the minimum distances.  For instance if you put a 10.0 on a Veiled Chameleon, this would be to powerful of a bulb for a tree dweller.

Basic Diet Requirements
No lettuce of any kind.  Sure they like to eat it, but Americans also like to eat McDonalds.  It doesn't mean you should eat it every day.  Lettuce lacks almost all nutritional value.  It's primarily water and cellulose.  A green iguana's diet should be composed primarily of dark leafy greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens.  See the chart below.

Dark Leafy Greens 80% of total diet
Soft Fruits & Vegetables 10-20% of total diet
Pelleted Diets Used as a supplement only

Pelleted diets can be very convenient for busy lifestyles, but the formula is far from natural.  The number one ingredients in pelleted foods is corn or soy.  Neither of these exist in the canopies of Central America.  Although the iguana may eat it, it's not an optimal diet.  They make a great supplement to a balanced diet.

Basic Heating Requirements
Green Iguanas need a basking hot spot of about 95 degrees.  This can fluctuate 5 degrees in either direction.  The cool end of the enclosure to be room temperature.  Night time heating is not necessary unless the animal is dropping below 65 degrees.  At that point a night time heat source is required.