Care and feeding
Like I mentioned earlier, igs need cages or aquariums that do not contain sharp or jagged objects which can injure the reptile's nose. A 5-7 inch diameter sloping log with the bark removed is great for the lizard to bask on.
When it's time to clean up, the best cleaning and sanitizing agent is a 1:20 solution of common household bleach and water. Ensuring that you do not clutter your iguana's aquarium or cage also lets you clean it effectively on a regular basis.
Short napped outdoor carpet is good for flooring, and you can flame the edges so it doesn't unravel or come loose. A cool idea is to paint a jungle scene on acrylic on the rear board, but it won't fool the lizard!
Lighting and Temperature
Don't forget that green iguanas need ultraviolet light, which is found in natural sunlight, and a lack of this light can inhibit the production of vitamin D-3 in its body. This can cause rickets and metabolic bone disease.
Supplement natural sunlight with the light from ordinary incandescent bulbs that are housed in standard aluminium clip-on shields. You can find these at a store like IKEA. Place the light source about 8 inches above the cage or aquarium. Its need for UV light does not mean you should go buy the black-lights you see at nightclubs. While these are undeniably funky, they're more suited to Iggy Pop than to Iggy the Iguana.
Temperature wise, iguanas move in an out of sunlight to regulate their body temperature in the wild, but this might be difficult to duplicate in the aquarium. Refer to the book for advice, and you're likely to find that it suggests the use of incandescent light bulbs and heavy duty heating pads.
No one has yet figured out the 'optimal' diet for an iguana, so a varied diet is important. At least five varieties of fruits and vegetables are important, and you can use the following list for reference:
Collard greens, carrots and carrot tops, peas and pea pods, mustard greens, cabbage, sweet potato, spinach, bell peppers, shredded and soaked alfalfa cubes, mango, plantain, hibiscus flowers, cherries, green beans, strawberries, squash, romaine lettuce, blueberries, apples, broccoli, papaya, pears and rehydrated alfalfa cubes.
Dice and mix the ingredients well so the lizard eats a good variety of ingredients each meal. Make friends with your greengrocer, and ask him or her to save the outer portions of fruits and vegetables for your lizard. Don't give your iguana any animal or insect protein, as they do not consume these in the wild.
Keep a shallow dish of water in the reptile's cage, for instance a large salad dish with a rock in the centre to weigh it down. This also raises the humidity in the cage. Change the water daily.
If you follow the book and the suggestions provided here closely, your scaly green pet should stay healthy for a long time to come. Be warned that iguana illnesses can be difficult to cure, and you should look for a good veterinarian in your vicinity, preferably one who has experience with reptiles.
You will need to clip Iggy's toenails occasionally with a regular toenail clipper, and if they bleed, press the toes into a soft bar of ivory soap. Not up to the task? Take him to a vet who will be more adept at the job.
Next: A name for your iguana
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