Some Myths about Green Iguanas
There are many ‘facts’ going around about iguanas as pets that are more fiction than fact. People who are considering having a pet iguana should be careful that they filter out the truth from the myths, or they could interfere with their ability to properly care for their pet iguana. While some of these myths might not be too harmful, others can be downright deadly. Here are some common myths about green iguana care that you should know about:
1) You can feed lettuce to green iguanas
This myth has a bit of truth to it. Since iguanas are best kept on a vegetarian diet, than can eat lettuce. However, lettuce isn’t a really healthy food for you pet. Regular iceberg lettuce, commonly used in salads, has almost no nutritional value. It’s better to feed your iguana dark green leafy vegetables that are full of vitamins and calcium, like mustard greens or collards.
2) Iguanas will not outgrow their cages
Many people are fooled into thinking that by keeping an iguana in a small cage, the iguana won’t grow bigger. Sometimes unscrupulous pet shops will perpetuate this myth just to make the sale. However, the truth is that a green iguana who’s healthy and receiving adequate food will continue growing and can quickly grow too big for a small cage. Keeping your pet in a habitat that is too small will only succeed in making it very uncomfortable and stressed, leading to possible illness or death.
3) Iguanas need to consume gravel in order to help their digestion
This is one of the more dangerous myths. Some people have been led to believe that iguanas are like birds that require gravel to digest their food. The truth is that gravel or any material like this could kill your iguana if consumed. Avoid letting your iguana eat material like this – whether on purpose or accident.
4) Hot rocks are great for heating
Hot rocks are commonly used with reptiles to help them maintain their body temperature. But if the rock is too hot, your iguana can get seriously injured – or even cooked to death. Also, iguanas are curious creatures, and may bite or chew on electrical cords inside its cage. A better choice for heat is special lamps on the outside of the cage.
5) Iguanas can eat insects, pet food, and other animal products
I’ve seen sources claiming that canned cat food is a good source of protein for iguanas. But the truth is that green iguanas are require a vegetarian, or herbivorous, diet. Their bodies utilize the proteins in vegetables and plants quite effectively. Animal proteins can cause illnesses like gout or kidney problems.
These are just some of the myths that you may have heard about green iguanas. By knowing the truth about these myths, you are now equipped to give the best care possible to a green iguana.