Dying Iguana

Dead Iguana

The better you care for your pet iguana, the less likely they are to experience health issues. If cared for properly, they will lead a happy and long life. As such, iguanas will mostly die because of old age. But apart from this, an iguana may die due to:

  • Sickness
  • Too much low temperature
  • Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
  • Parasites
  • Respiratory disease
  • Infectious stomatitis (mouth rot)

Why Baby Iguanas Die Often

The death of baby iguana is not mysterious. You need to put a lot of effort into raising a baby iguana. Once they grow up, they will not be able to die as easily or suddenly. The common reasons for the death of baby iguana are as follows:

  • Ate something which they could not digest
  • Cold temperature
  • Pneumonia
  • Sickness

Do Iguanas play dead?

Iguana will play dead when being hunted by their predators, so they may escape later. Their predators normally attack moving iguanas but pay no attention to the dead ones.

Common Reasons for an Iguana’s Death

  • Heat below or above optimum preferred temperature.
  • Less amount no UVB light
  • Breathing in dry air
  • Deprived of water
  • A cage that is not arboreal
  • Small cage and not having a clean cage
  • Not having plants in the cage for the iguana to hide themselves
  • Exposing them to heat sources that cause burns
  • Making them scared every time
  • No proper diet (a diet that doesn’t consist of 70% + greens)
  • Not having a proper day and night cycle
  • Stress suppresses the immune system and digestive response

Please note that common negligence while you raising your pet iguana may be on that list as well.


Diligent observation is needed for an iguana when kept as a pet. Failure to monitor them regularly may result in their sickness. A generally sick Iguana usually display these symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Discharge from the mouth, nose, or vent
  • Slight or dramatic limping
  • Muscle weakness, paralysis, or tremors
  • Runny stool

Ways to Prevent Your Iguana from Getting Sick

  • Regular cleaning of their enclosure
  • Ensuring they always have clean, fresh water
  • Diet considering their maximum nutrition
  • Ensure your pet iguana’s food come from a trusted supplier
  • Maintaining proper humidity and shedding care
  • Proper hygiene routine when handling your iguana
  • Quarantining sick iguanas to avoid the spread of disease
  • Regular check-ups to the veterinarian to ensure they aren’t in pain
Sick Iguana

Low temperature

Iguanas are sensitive to temperature, and they cannot survive in extreme conditions. They flourish at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the lower the temperature, the less likely they will live.

They also get frozen when they are too cold. They lose their grip to climb the branches and fall from the trees, their legs do not work for walking either, and they stop their usual activities. But they do not die. If they live more than 100 days with temperatures that go below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, they die.

Bringing back frozen Iguana to life

If you notice your iguana frozen, immediately place them in a warmer region (you may also place them in warm water). Do not take them somewhere too hot! Increase the temperature gradually. Let the iguana stay for 15 to 20 minutes, and they will eventually wake up.

Frozen Iguana 1

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in Iguanas

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) is common with iguanas. This is affected by the lack of calcium, vitamin D, and UVB light. When the calcium level is too low, the iguana’s body attempts to absorb the calcium from all over the body. As a result of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), the iguanas will face

  • Wrapping and breaking of bone
  • Inability to walk properly
  • Loss of grip on their toes
  • Gets skinny

Common Symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disease in Iguanas

  • Swelling of the hind legs
  • Rubber-y jaw
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures and muscle twitching
  • Loss of appetite
  • The limbs will become swollen and less mobile.

How to Rid of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in Iguanas

When your iguana is suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) you need to provide them with enough calcium and vitamin D3 as prescribed by your veterinarian. You need to provide sufficient UVB light as well. This will prevent your iguana from MDB.

External Parasites

The common parasites that affect the iguana pet are pinworms, hookworms, cestodes, ticks, and mites. You can see them in eyelids, vent, and mouth. These parasites will commonly occur because of the dirty environment.

Symptoms of Parasitic Infections

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Damage skin

How to Get Rid of Parasites

Lubricate the infected area with petroleum jelly or baby oil. If still, this does not work, you need to see your iguana’s veterinarian, but make sure you always keep your iguana’s enclosure clean.

Iguana Parasite

Respiratory Disease in Iguanas

The respiratory disease in iguanas is caused by bacterial and fungal infections, which result from a neglected and dirty enclosure. The symptoms are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Less water and food consumption

Preventing your iguana from contracting a respiratory disease entails:

  • Keeping your iguana’s enclosure clean
  • Bathing your iguana in baby soap

If still, these do not work, you need to take your iguana to its veterinarian. They will suggest providing some antibiotics supplements or an injection.

Mouth Rot in Iguanas

Mouth rot is causes death and is caused by bacterial infections. When the bacteria grow in your iguana’s mouth, they cause several problems like:

  • Reddened oral tissues
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pus and/or dead tissue in the mouth
  • Discharge from the nose and mouth.
  • Pain in the mouth as the infection goes deeper, preventing iguanas from eating even when they feel hungry

Preventing Mouth Rot in Iguanas

When you observe Mouth Rot in your pet, immediately clean the mouth with antiseptic and ask your veterinarian for the right antibiotics. If the mouth rot stays even after treatment, the disease is most likely severe and will need surgical aid. Either way, seek medical assistance.

Mouth Rot Iguana

Final thoughts

Your negligence should not be the reason for the pet iguana’s death. Never fail to look after your iguanas. You should be knowledgeable of the general symptoms, causes, and more importantly, how to prevent getting sick in the first place.