In autumn of 1999, three people started talking about how there needs to be a place where people can learn about Giant Green Iguanas. This would be a place where they can find what to feed them, how to adopt one, which veterinarian to use. We wanted them to be able to get the information clearly, and easily, and not have to dig through a pile of reptile articles, or to be scared off by overzealous activists. Most importantly, we wanted the information to be correct and available to anyone who asked.
The Green Iguana Society was formed with these goals in mind. It is our hope that the society will contribute toward a major improvement in iguana care and a greater understanding of the issues involved with owning a Giant Green Iguana. Since its establishment in 1999, the Green Iguana Society has grown by leaps and bounds. The original three founders have been joined by a wonderful team of volunteers that help keep the Green Iguana Society web site updated and the organization running.
Please note: The Green Iguana Society is not a shelter. We are solely a group of on-line volunteers. We do not personally take in iguanas as a part of our affiliation with GIS. We do not have a veterinarian on our team. We have no regular source of income, and cannot assist individuals or organizations with any of their expenses. We love to hear from our site visitors! However, if you send us an email, we ask that you please be patient while you wait for a response. Please keep in mind that we have no central location. The Green Iguana Society Team members are located throughout the United States and volunteer their time and services online. We try to answer all emails within 48 hours of their receipt. It may not always be possible for us to give you an immediate response. We thank you very much for your patience!
Natalie is a herp enthusiast who at one time owned several reptiles, including two snakes and eight geckos, as well as her iguana, Primrose. Primrose was a surprise "gift" that was put in with a snake Natalie mail ordered to "plump up the box". After much frantic searching for iguana care information, Natalie got Primrose all set up. Once she joined the iguana "community" - that is, the large group of iguana owners and lovers who frequent internet chat groups, mailing lists and web sites - Natalie realized that Primrose was not alone. Many iguanas end up with owners who are completely unprepared to properly care for them. Unlike Primrose, however, many never do get the care they need. Natalie realized that there was a need for easily accessible iguana care information on the internet that is both complete and yet easily understood. Some great iguana-education sites and groups are already in existence, but considering the number of unwanted, abused and neglected iguanas that are dumped on shelters and rescuers every year, it was clear to Natalie that more needed to be done. It was with these ideas in mind that Natalie, along with two friends, founded the Green Iguana Society. Unfortunately, due to illness, Natalie had to give up her beloved Primrose for adoption after they had spent several happy years together. Primrose went to a great new home. Although Natalie is no longer active in the Green Iguana Society, it continues on, performing the function she hoped for it when she founded it in 1999.
I teach college biology courses, including Zoology, Human Heredity and Introductory Life Science. Before I adopted my iguanas, I was relatively new to the herp world. I've always loved animals of all kinds, but herps never really caught my eye until I was approached by a student who had two iguanas to give away. Once I adopted Jake (to the right in the photo) and Donnie (in my arms), then 4 years old, in August of 1997, I was hooked. Since then I've obtained many other herps, including a painted turtle, tiger salamander, ball python, and tree frog, but my iguanas hold special places in my heart. I've learned so much about and from them, and I hope to pass along that knowledge to others so that more iguanas can find good homes with knowledgable owners and avoid the abuse and neglect that so many suffer. As one of the co-founders of the Green Iguana Society, I enjoy talking to other iguana owners, helping people find their iguanas new homes, and helping people with their iguanas in any way I can. After 10 years with me, Jake passed away in June 2007 at age 14. After having been very active in the Green Iguana Society for so many years, I have stepped aside and relinquished most of my duties to the rest of the Green Iguana Team. I continue to serve the Society as webmaster and advisor, to continue the work that Jake and Donnie started me on so many years ago.
My older sister got me started by owning an iguana when I was younger. I got my official start in 1992 when I bought Mojo from a pet store. I made the same mistake that most people make... I just went out and bought an iguana without knowing much of anything about the care they require. Many years later, I still feel like I could learn a lot more. I did just about everything wrong while raising Mojo. He started in a ten gallon aquarium, moved to a thirty gallon aquarium, then to a larger habitat, and then eventually to his final habitat that still wasn't as big and as well setup as it should have been. His diet included just about anything and everything that anyone told me was okay to feed an iguana. It almost makes me sick to think about what I fed him in the early years. Mojo died in 1999, most likely from the improper care I gave him earlier in his life. I blame myself for not knowing any better and from reading several books about how to "properly" care for an iguana. After Mojo died, I started helping people learn about how to care for their iguanas. I started a small iguana web site and then helped start the Green Iguana Society. My hopes are to help save people from having the same bad experiences that I had with Mojo. I've been "igless" since Mojo died. One of these days, when the time is just right, after I've built the iguana habitat, and after I get a little better thinking like an iguana, I will definitely get another one.
I have a degree in civil engineering and was new to lizard keeping. I bought my first iguana, Samantha, for my daughter in 1996. Samantha was sold with the infamous heat rock, heat light and dry food. I knew nothing about iguanas and made the same mistakes other people made. Having Samantha, has taught me that exotic pet owners must do their own research. I have added four bearded dragons and a dog to the family. Samantha has been on two local T.V. news segments, several first grade classes and to several libraries in three cities. I recently moved to Alexandria Virginia and hope to continue lizard education here. I am part of the Foundation for Iguana Rescue Safety and Training, Inc, which was founded by several Virginia iguana owners who met on the Internet. We still set up informational displays in Virginia hoping to make a difference for the iguanas. Look for Samantha and her friends on Iguana FIRST. - http://www.iguanafirst.com and Samantha Iguana - http://www.samanthaiguana.com.
After earning a BS in art education from Western Carolina University, I worked as an art teacher for several years, a social worker for a bunch of years, did personnel placement for five years, and have been with the Dept of Radiology at Duke University Hospital since 1990. I got my first iguana as an unsolicited gift from my brother in 1970, and had him for four years before I had to find a new home for him. I fed him/her everything wrong... lettuce, spaghetti with meat sauce, M&M's... if I ate it, he ate it. I had a table lamp shining on him 24 hours a day, and he never had any UVB other than what he got when I took him outside with me. I think he just lived on love, because that's the only right thing I gave him. His memories never left me, and I always longed for another iguana.
In May 1998, I found a bunch of cute little iglets in a pet store, marked down to half price ($9.95). I decided to get one as an anniversary present for my husband. Ted is allergic to furry pets, and although he loves animals, had not been able to have a pet since he was a toddler. It didn't take long for Ted to warm up to this beautiful creature. He lovingly built it a nice little house, and we thought it was going to be a cute, low maintenance pet. I quickly discovered that everything I learned 30 years ago was obsolete, and what we had was a time consuming, expensive lizard on our hands. By then, though, we both had grown to love it dearly, so only the best would do. We took it to the vet, got all the lights, gages, etc., and set off on the adventure of our lives. After a year, we realized we had a girl, not a boy, so the name was adjusted from Bubba to Bubbette. Ted started building her a huge new house and she moved in just in time for her spay surgery at 18 months old. We never imagined we could love a lizard so much. She was potty trained, and she slept with us on her pillow at the head of our bed at night. She enjoyed attention and was a great educator. We were heartbroken when she died on May 19, 2006 after several weeks of symptoms from an undiagnosable autoimmune disease. The extensive (and expensive) tests didn’t give answers to the best vets in the country. Only in the path report from her necropsy did we discover that she had Glomerulosclerosis (membranoproliferative glomerulopathy). We miss her greatly, but her legacy will continue with the education we can provide to help others as a tribute to the undying love we shared. We will continue to take in fosters from time to time, but she will never be replaced in our hearts.
Our household currently has one rescue iguana Darby and two bearded dragons -- Yucca and Daytona; our beloved iguana girl Vega$ passed away in March 2007. Vega$ came into my life on Mother's Day, 1996. I had done extensive research prior to acquiring her, and that in itself, was still not enough to prepare me for iguana-things-to-come. I have been involved with the iguana net community since her arrival. My participation in GIS is my way of passing knowledge to current and future iguana parents, as others have done so for me over the past years. I am also actively involved with the International Reptile Conservation Foundation; through IRCF, I have travelled to Grand Cayman to assist with the endangered blue iguanas and the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. Another passion of mine is wildlife photography, which I've been eagerly pursuing. To learn more about Vega$, Darby and the conservation projects that we are involved with, please visit http://www.beachy-iguana.com; you can also find us on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/vegasiguana.com.
My position as a manufacturing consultant in eastern North Carolina keeps me busy and traveling frequently, but with the help and support of my wife and two sons, I always manage to find time for our animals. I have been fascinated by reptiles from a young age, and have always kept a variety of species, including geckos, snakes, turtles and an array of smaller lizards. When I got my first iguana in 1998, I set about researching the proper care of this magnificent creature in order to ensure that Rex would live a long and healthy life. It was during this time that I came across the Green Iguana Society and the wealth of information found here. It has not only helped further my own education; it has presented me access to some of the most cutting-edge iguana knowledge and resources on the Internet. While correcting my iguana’s husbandry issues, I quickly realized the immense amount of information needed to properly keep an iguana. There is an incredible amount of wrong information being provided by pet retailers, books and some websites. I adopted public education concerning the Green Iguana as my personal cause. Subsequently, I also administrate and/or moderate several other iguana and reptile information forums. Over the past few years, I have rescued several iguanas, rehabilitated them and eventually placed them in loving new homes. I have recently become associated with an active rescue group where we not only arrange rescues, foster homes and adoptions, but we provide booths at various events, design and distribute educational materials, and do home visits to assure that proper husbandry standards are being met. Iguanas hold a special place in my heart. That one purchase of the “cute, little green lizard” has launched me on a journey that has taken up a considerable amount of my focus and attention. I trust that my educational background in advertising and technical writing will help me provide accurate and complete information in a manner that can be easily understood and followed by everyone.
I grew up in the North Eastern part of the US (born in Warwick RI & lived in NJ, NY, MA, PA)…the oldest of 4 siblings. We moved to Florida in 1974 when I was in high school. Growing up, our family always had critters – cats, dogs, birds, fish, turtles, anoles, geckos, skinks, snakes, guinea pigs, crawfish, insects – you name it. My parents instilled in us compassion for all living creatures & the discipline to care for them properly. Our pets became part of the family & were not disposable. My interest in iguanas peaked when I traveled to Virginia for my youngest sisters’ wedding (btw, she is now a certified DVM)…there I met my brother-in-law’s iguana, Juan. I found him fascinating & I thought – I might like to have one of those. I had many questions – where do you get one? how much do they cost? how do you take care of one, what do they eat? For the next 3 years I researched. I broached the subject with any herpers that crossed my path – almost everyone discouraged me. “Iguanas are nasty – iguanas are dangerous- iguanas are messy – expensive & difficult to care for - they die easily…”. I happened to mention my interest in an iguana to a friend one day - it turned out she knew of someone looking for a home for one. The family had just had their third child. The iguana was getting too big & they felt he deserved more time & attention. They had purchased the iguana from a pet store & raised him from a hatchling. (I was told that they had been looking for “the right home” for over a year). I was the lucky winner! I adopted their beautiful MALE iguana in Nov. of 2001, he was 3 years old & 4’7” STL. Ever since he has exceeded my expectations of what I thought an iguana would be like as a pet. I never imagined an iguana would be so intelligent, responsive & have so much personality! I have continued to do research, seek out any information about iguanas I can find - books, periodicals, E groups, cyber space, from people I meet. I frequent the GIS message board & several other sites, chat with other iguana people, share experiences, ask questions - answer questions. I have learned so much from the friends I’ve made at the GIS. I am honored to have the opportunity help the GIS provide a forum for iguana keepers to find each other, to exchange knowledge that will improve our relationships with iguanas - ultimately improving the lives & longevity of these fascinating, intelligent & magnificent creatures. Currently, I live in Central FL with my iguana & my 3 cats; Mary Ann, Gilligan & The Skipper (who cuddles with the iguana). The lizard is named Ginger - well, aside from his gender - he is the gorgeous one!
I always loved animals. I grew up with dogs, cats, chickens, goats, ducks, geese, rabbits, any rodents you can name, and of course hermit crabs, turtles, and anoles - and those were just the inside pets! We never had iguanas, but it was inevitable I would own them someday as they always fascinated me. When I married in 1982, I found out soon afterward that Steve (my husband) had allergies to animals...so began my interest in reptiles. I got my first iguana the summer of 1994. Calypso was his name. A year later, I was pregnant, moving to a small apartment in between houses and his “tank” just did not fit there. I placed him with a friend, who loved and cherished him. Sadly, he passed this year. I decided after moving into our new house that an iguana was the pet I really wanted. One day my brother-in-law called and asked me if I was interested in a small ig with a cage for $10. I reluctantly agreed. Spazzie came to live with our family in December 1996 and the obsession continued. After Spazzie, came the others, Rocky, Lizzie, Ziggie, and Frisky, all adopted and well loved and all adults. I have also taken in several other lizards, rehabilitated them and re-homed them into the proper homes. Eventually I found the Green Iguana Society website, at first, I only read the information and conversations on the message board. Eventually I felt I knew enough to begin answering questions and offering advice. When I was asked to help Moderate the Message Board I was thrilled at the prospect of helping such a wonderfully informative site and one that I came to rely on for the most accurate and up-to-date information. It is very rewarding to be part of an organization dedicated to keeping our green iguana friends safe, healthy and happy, and I am glad to be a part of it. I find being a Team Member even more rewarding as I help facilitate adoptions and answer all sorts of questions from concerned iguana owners. Currently my family consists of 3 dogs, 1 cat, many rats, our 5 iguanas, 1 tarantula, 2 fish and now some new family members...2 beardies, 1 leopard gecko and 2 hermit crabs. Of course we can't forget my 7 beautiful human children and one very patient husband.