When you see a mouse-sized iguana at a pet store or fair, it may seem like an intriguing pet, and, indeed, these lizards are fascinating.
But a mouse-sized iguana is a hatchling, which means it’s got a lot of growing left to do. They are one of the largest tree-climbing lizards in the world.
They can grow to be five or six feet… or longer, which requires ample space, special lighting, and habitat that can cost upwards of hundreds or thousands of dollars to properly create and maintain.
As a result, many reptile rescues can’t accept iguanas into their care. This means, if you’re considering an iguana as a pet, you’d better be sure it’s a commitment you can handle for its entire life.
Iguanas Require Complex Care
A full-grown five- to six-foot iguana is a strong animal with an even stronger personality. Although they are herbivores that require freshly prepared fruits and vegetables daily, they may develop tastes for other, less healthy foods, making feeding time difficult.
“An adult green iguana requires an enclosure at least 12 feet long by 6 feet wide by 6 feet high. The height of 6 feet is very important as, these lizards are primarily arboreal in nature.”
Iguanas have a relatively long lifespan as well – about 20 years in the wild. Sadly, many captive iguanas die during the first year due to improper care.
Iguanas Are Fascinating Animals
It’s easy to see the allure of iguanas. Their dinosaur-like appearance is exotic and, unlike some other reptiles, they can learn to recognize and respond to their caregivers.
They’re also quite fascinating, capable of surviving 40-foot drops from trees, acting as excellent swimmers that can stay under water for 28 minutes while at the same time being remarkably fast and agile on land.
If you decide an iguana is the right pet for you, and you’re prepared for its complex care, please adopt one from a rescue organization rather than purchasing a hatchling from a pet store.