So, you just got your first green iguana and you have lots of questions. Well, you're not alone. When most people get their first iguana, they know very little about them. Many people know only what the person in the pet store told them (which is many times very poor advice!). You may also be wondering why that little lizard is acting the way it is. Hopefully, this little page will get you started off on the right foot and pointed in the right direction to learn more about your new pet. These are only the very basics of what you need to do and learn about when you first get an igauna. If you want your iguana to be healthy, you will have to learn more than the quick help that is listed here!
Learn more about iguanas - The most important thing you can do with your new pet is to learn more about it. This will involve quite a bit of reading, both online and in the few quality books on iguanas that you may find. The Green Iguana Society website has plenty of information to properly care for your iguana, but we also recommend that you learn and read as much information as possible. On our Approved Information & Products page, we list links to other websites, quality books and publications, and other places you can learn more about iguanas. If you're here reading this, then chances are you want to care for your iguana properly and it will take quite a bit of reading to do this.
Bad information warning - It can be difficult to learn the right way from the wrong way of caring for iguanas with so much information available. Many iguana owners, especially new iguana owners, quickly get confused and frustrated with so many books, websites and people telling them different things. There are many books that are outdated and full of bad information. There are many very reliable websites that offer quality information, but there are also many that are not. Along with books and websites, there are many people that offer advice to new iguana owners that simply do not know proper ways of caring for iguanas. There are also many popular myths and misconceptions about iguana care. Once again, make sure you visit our Approved Information & Products page and make sure you check out our Myths & Misconceptions page to learn more!
Leave your new iguana alone for a while - The best part about the fact that you need to read up on your new pet, is the fact that you really should leave your new iguana alone for a few weeks after you brought it home. Your new iguana must get acclimated (used to) its new home. This time is very stressful for it and having some big human trying to "play with it" or "show it off" to friends and family will only make taming the iguana much more difficult. For about one to three weeks, the only contact you should have with your iguana is when you feed it, water it and clean its habitat (cage or enclosure). Very gradually, over those first few weeks, you can increase the amount of time you're with it. Over-handling a new iguana is a very common mistake most new iguana owners make. It's natural for people to want to handle, "play with", or "show off" a new pet. Avoid the urge and after a few weeks of gradually letting the iguana get used to you and its new home, you will have far less trouble taming it.
Find a quality vet that treats iguanas -While you're letting your iguana acclimate to its new home and learning more about how to properly care for it, you should also take some time to find a quality veterinarian that treats iguanas. Most people will take their dogs and cats to a vet, but most people that own iguanas don't even think about it. There is information on our Veterinarians & Societies page about finding a vet, why you need a vet for an iguana and what to ask your vet when you get there. You will probably encounter many situations where you will be concerned about the health and safety of your iguana. It's also very important that you visit our Health & Safety page for lots of information on the health and safety of your iguana.
Food - There is a lot more to properly feeding an iguana than just giving it "iguana food" from the pet store. They need a wide variety of certain vegetables and fruits. There are many foods that you should absolutely not feed your iguana and many types of foods that you should only feed occasionally. For more information on properly feeding your iguana, visit our Food & Feeding page.
Habitat -A habitat (cage or enclosure) will be needed unless you plan on letting your iguana free roam (which really isn't recommended for first time iguana owners). The habitat will need to be very large. Your iguana will get very large and it will absolutely need a large place to live and still be healthy. For more information on proper habitat requirements, visit our Habitat page.
Sun and lighting -It's very important that you give your iguana access to natural unfiltered (not through glass) sunlight. You will also need to provide special UV lighting in its habitat. For more information on sun and lighting requirements, visit our Habitat page.
Humidity -It's also very important that you provide your iguana with the proper humidity it needs to be healthy. This includes providing fresh water, misting of the iguana and its habitat, or providing proper humidity by many other ways. For more information on humidity requirements, visit our Habitat page.
Cleanliness - It will be very important for you to properly clean your iguana, its habitat and yourself on a very regular basis. Iguanas are infamous for spreading a bacteria called Salmonella and can be best avoided by practicing proper hygiene. For more information, visit our Cleaning and Cleanliness page and make sure you read our page on Salmonella.
Affording an iguana -It will cost money to own an iguana. It will cost money on a weekly basis to buy fresh food. Buying or building a habitat can be relatively cheap to very, very expensive. Fluorescent light bulbs must be replaced every six months. Vet bills can be costly, but necessary. These are only a few of the things that you will need to be able to afford to properly care for your iguana.
What does that word mean? There are many words and terms that are associated with iguanas and iguana care. We have taken some time coming up with a glossary of iguana terms to help people understand the meaning of these words and terms. There is a link to our glossary of iguana terms located at the bottom of nearly every page on our website. If you're ever confused about the meaning of a word, click on the link and see if it's in the glossary, then click on your back button of your web browser to go back to the page you were reading.
Lost? If you are ever lost on our website or can't find exactly what you're looking for, there is a link to our site map at the bottom of every page on our site. There you will find an outline of all the pages on our site, where you can use the links to easily get around the site.
Still confused? Many people won't take the time to read up on how to care for their iguanas, and simply start asking questions. Please try to find what you're looking for on our site and the other places we recommend. If you still can't find what you're looking for, click on the graphic below to visit our message board, where you will find many helpful folks who can point you in the right direction.