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How to Care for Your Green Iguana

How to Care for Your Green Iguana


Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) are huge (5-7’), diurnal, arboreal reptiles native to the sub-tropical and tropical areas of North, South and Central America.  They have also been introduced to southern Florida, where they thrive. Wild type Green Iguanas are generally green, as their name states, though they also can be tan, brown, or gray.  More recently developed morphs include albino and blue iguanas. Juvenile iguanas are easily available in the pet trade. They are, however, considered to be advanced level pets due to their size. Please do not consider an iguana as a pet unless you are prepared to house and feed a very large reptile.



Although a juvenile Green Iguana can be kept in a 20 gallon long tank (30”x12”x12”), adult Green Iguanas require very large enclosures, with a minimal size of 8-12’x6’x6’ tallSince these lizards are arboreal, they also require sturdy branches or even a shelf built into the upper part of the enclosure to enable them to climb and bask. Given the size of the adult Green Iguana, the most appropriate enclosure will either be a large wood frame and wire structure or a walk in closet or small room adapted as an iguana cage.The substrate can be newspaper, reptile carpet or eco earth.  Some keepers recommend cypress mulch, though others express concern about the possibility that the reptile will ingest it.  The cage should include a large water bowl that the iguana may want to soak in, a food bowl and a box large enough for the iguana to use as a hide.  In order to maintain humidity, the iguana should be misted periodically. 


Heating and Lighting

Green Iguanas require a basking area with temperatures of 120 degrees F.  Basking lamps are often placed toward the top of the enclosure with a shelf or branch that would allow the lizard to be about 12” below the light when basking.  In addition, a full spectrum light is required to provide the lizard with UV.  Due to the iguana’s size, a group of 3-6 lights may be required to provide adequate heat and light. The air temperature in the remainder of the enclosure should be 85-90F during the day, and in the high 70’s at night.  In some climates, the Green Iguanas may require supplemental heat in the winter.

Food and Supplementation

Green Iguanas are entirely fruit and vegetable eaters and do not eat insects or worms.  Their diet should consist primarily of healthy green leafy vegetables (not lettuce) and other vegetables such as squash, peppers and green beans.  Fruit is also appreciated but should be a relatively minor component of the diet.  It is important to maintain a low protein diet for Green Iguanas. The iguanas should be fed daily. Food should be dusted with calcium and vitamin D3. 


*This care sheet contains only very basic information.  If you are new to Green Iguanas, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.

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