What Do Iguanas Eat? Understanding The Nutritional Requirements of Your Pet
As the popularity of keeping iguanas as pets increase, people are also improving their understanding of nutritional requirements resulting in a change of iguana diets for the past few decades. When taken care of and fed correctly, an iguana can grow anywhere between four and six feet long and weigh ten to fifteen pounds.
Their lifespan can also increase from an average of twelve to fifteen years in captivity to twenty years if they receive the right care. If you want your iguana to achieve these qualities, then you need to feed him with fresh water and food. Most of the food items that are suitable for the iguana are easy to get from pet and grocery stores. That means you have no reason to feed it with bad food or water that can pose serious health problems.
The Feeding Pattern of Iguanas
Feeding your iguana on a daily basis is an excellent idea if you want your iguana to stay healthy. However, you can choose to break down the meal into several times a day. The size of the daily portion you feed your iguana depends on the age and size. You can tell the appetite of your iguana after watching how much he eats after spending time with him for a few days and then adjust the amount you serve accordingly.
After your iguana has had his full, you need to remove the remaining food to prevent him from eating spoilt food or contaminating his living area. Doing so will help you keep a regular feeding schedule. It will always ensure that the iguana has enough food to stay healthy.
Types of Food to Feed your Iguana
Iguanas are herbivores by nature, which means you should feed yours with a balanced diet of green veggies and fruits to ensure he is happy and healthy. In the wild, iguanas eat a variety of plants. This eating habit should persist even when you have an iguana as a pet. Feeding your iguana with a variety of foods should not be difficult as most of them are readily available in groceries and pet stores.
- Green vegetables: They should form the most significant part of your iguana’s diet. Chop these leafy vegetables before feeding the iguana to make it easy to eat. Feed your pet with greens such as collard, lettuce, kale, mustard and dandelion, green beans, carrots, and squash among other greens. In case you run out of fresh veggies, you can feed the iguana with frozen vegetables such as lima beans, peas, and corn. Make sure you warm the frozen food to room temperature before feeding your iguana.
- Fruits: For variety purposes, consider adding them to your pet’s diet. Some of the most suitable fruits include bananas, apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Just like vegetables, make sure you chop them into small pieces before feeding.
- Iguana food: You can add commercial iguana food to your pet’s diet by adding it to the veggies. The food comes in the form of pellets, and you will need to moisten it before feeding your pet. Remember that commercial iguana food is not enough to play the role of the prime meal for your pet.
- Bread and grains: From time to time, you should sneak bread and grain in the pet’s food. In this case, include cooked rice, pasta, and whole grain bread. Again, make sure that you feed them these foods after you chop them into small pieces.
- Water: Just like any other pet iguanas need to take water for their health benefit. One way to give your pet water is by sprinkling clean water on his green vegetables. Vegetables will hold water that the pet will consume while eating them. You can also fill a bowl with fresh water and make sure you change it on a daily basis to avoid contamination. If you are having doubts that your pet is not having enough water, you should train him how to drink directly from the bowl.
- Supplements: Feeding your pet with supplements ensures he gets the required vitamins and minerals for proper growth. The supplements come in powder form. Sprinkle them on the food a couple of times per week. Doing so ensures that your iguana has enough vitamins, calcium, and other multivitamins as required. However, you should add the supplements in moderation as feeding him with too much might cause problems.
Training your Iguana How to Drink Water
Placing a bowl of clean water near your pet every day is not an assurance that he is drinking. However, in most cases, he will drink it even if you do not see him doing it. In case you have doubts that he is not drinking enough water, you should train him how to take more water by placing his favorite treat in the bowl of water.
As he reaches for it, he will drink water. After some time, he will become used to it. He may take weeks or a few months before he gets used to drinking the water. However, make sure that you reduce the size of the treat as time goes. Once he becomes used to drinking additional water, he will take it even in the absence of something in the water bowl.
Importance of UV and Sunlight While Maintaining a Proper Diet
After feeding your iguana with the right food, you will also need to make sure he gets enough natural light as it helps in utilizing the calcium contained in his diet. Since iguanas are cold-blooded, they cannot regulate their body temperatures, and therefore, you need to make sure he basks in at temperatures above eighty-five degrees per day.
Make sure the temperatures never drop below seventy degrees or eighty degrees if you have growing hatchlings. To meet these temperature requirements, you can use 125 to 250 watts infrared light bulb. You can get them from the local hardware store. If you feel your pet requires a supplement source of vitamin, consider buying a fluorescent UV light source from your local pet store.