Green Iguanas as Pets

Green Iguana

Green iguanas are popular in certain geographic regions.  This iguana is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay. And as far north as Mexico.  They have also been introduced from South America to Puerto Rico.  Green iguanas are common throughout the islands.  They are also sometimes called “bamboo chickens” or “chickens of the trees.”

Do Green Iguanas make good pets?

Green iguanas do not make good pets for beginners.  They are only suitable for experienced owners who know how to properly care for iguanas.  New iguana owners must learn how to carefully monitor humidity and temperature and provide regular misting and food.

New iguana owners can maintain a green iguana as a pet if you provide care according to a green iguana’s needs.

Why do people like Green Iguanas as pets?

Green iguanas are friendly pets with long lifespans.  If they are taken care of properly, they can live for 10 to 15 years.  Sometimes they live up to 20 years.

Green iguanas can recognize their owner and family within a short amount of time.  The green iguana will create a strong bond with you.  These iguanas are the friendliest of all iguana species.

Green Iguana Pet

Do Green Iguanas enjoy being pets?

Green iguanas are not social reptiles, and they are not affectionate towards humans.  However, if you take care of them, they will come to enjoy being in your presence.  They will be friendly with you, and they enjoy having their head rubbed.

Features of the Green Iguana

  • Green iguanas can survive even after falls of 40-50 feet.  Because they spend most of their lives in trees, falls are insignificant for the green iguana.
  • Green iguanas can swim and dive into the water to escape from predators.
  • Green iguanas are in danger of being eaten by hawks.  They will often freeze and be unable to move when they hear a hawk’s cry.
  • The green iguana’s tail can break.  It will, however, grow back.

The body structure of the green iguana

Green iguanas have a spiked line running along their back from head to tail.  These spikes protect iguanas from their predators.

As the name implies, green iguanas are green, but their color can range from bright green to pale blue-gray.  Some appear brown, whereas others are turquoise blue or green.

The cost of a green iguana

Green iguanas cost an average of $19.99, but the price is dependent on their gender, age, and size.

Size of the green iguana

Small hatchlings are about 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches long.  They will grow up to 36 inches in length by the time they reach two years of age and stop growing by the time they are 7.  They reach a mature length of 6 feet from nose to tail.

If they are well taken care of, some male green iguanas can grow up to 7 feet in length.  Females usually mature closer to 5 feet but can grow larger in some cases.

Green iguanas weigh from 10 to 20 pounds (9 to 9.5 kg).  They are one of the largest species of iguana.  If you provide proper UVB light in captivity, they will continue to grow.

Most green iguanas in captivity do not receive adequate amounts of sunlight, so it is critical to provide UVB light, which allows the iguana to produce vitamin D3.

How to differentiate between male and female green iguanas?

Male and female green iguanas differ in size and structure.  Females are shorter and lighter than males.

Female green iguanas have slimmer body shapes and smaller heads than males. 

Male green iguanas have bumps on their heads that females do not have.


Healthy diets for green iguanas

Green iguanas are herbivorous reptiles.  They require the standard ratio of reptile minerals of 2 calcium to 1 phosphorous in their diet.  Healthy food for green iguanas includes green vegetables like

  • Collard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Small portions of kale
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Dandelions

These vegetables are rich in phosphorus for everyday feeding for iguanas.

Supplements for green iguanas

Green iguanas need a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous to stay healthy.  If this ratio is not maintained, they can have serious health issues.  Low calcium intake in iguanas can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

Calcium supplements should be given to hatchlings at least three days a week or daily.  As they grow, you can gradually reduce calcium supplements to a frequency of once per week.

Powdered supplements should be mixed with food for dilution.  Make sure that your iguana is eating all of its powdered supplements.

Cages for green iguanas

Adult green iguanas need a cage that is 8 to 12 feet long by 4 to 6 feet high.  Their cages need to belong because they are arboreal reptiles.

Heat and light inside the green iguana’s cage

Cage temperatures for green iguanas should be kept around 79 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with hotter basking spots during the day.  At night, temperatures should range between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  You will require a UVB light source to attain this.

Green iguanas cannot tolerate cold weather as they are cold-blooded reptiles.  If temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, their bodies will go dormant.

Green iguana reproduction

After several weeks of mating, females will search for the perfect place to lay their eggs.  When they find a location, they will dig a hole and create a special egg-laying chamber inside the nest.

Once their nest is established, the green iguana lays between 20 and 70 eggs in a single clutch.  Each egg measures 4 cm long.  Once the eggs are laid, the female will leave.  They do not take care of their eggs or young.

Are green iguanas aggressive?

Yes! the green iguanas are aggressive in the following cases.

  • When they are young: They are aggressive when they are young. But they become too friendly and bold when they grow up.
  • Breeding season: The green iguanas get aggressive during their breeding season
  • Territorial aggression: When the green iguanas found another iguana in their Territory, they automatically go aggressive.

Yes!  Green iguanas are aggressive in the following scenarios:

  • They are aggressive when they are young but become bold and friendly as they mature.
  • Breeding season:  Green iguanas get aggressive during the breeding season.
  • Territorial aggression:  When green iguanas find another iguana in their territory, they automatically become aggressive.
Green Iguana Aggressive

Diseases affecting green iguanas

The most common disease that affects green iguanas are:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Botulism
  • Leptospirosis
  • Campylobacteriosis (bowel infection)
  • Trichinellosis (muscle and nervous system disease)
  • Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
  • Infectious stomatitis (mouth rot)
  • Parasites
  • Respiratory disease
  • Hypervitaminosis D.

The most common cause of death for green iguanas is Avascular Necrosis.  With this disease, the blood vessels that supply an area of the body become obstructed.  This leads to the death of the affected tissue in the iguana’s body.

Final thoughts

Green iguanas can make good, friendly pets as long as you take good care of them.  If their needs are provided in sufficient quantities, you will have a healthy, growing iguana.