What do iguanas eat?
Iguanas are herbivores. Iguanas eat certain fruits, vegetables, and plant products. This is something a prospective iguana owner needs to know.
Just because iguanas eat plants, it doesn’t mean that all types of plants and fruits are suitable for them.
There are types of food that need to be fed regularly, some that are only given occasionally, and some that should never be given to iguanas.
So, for an iguana to live a healthy and prosperous life, knowing the right type of food is very necessary.
Summarizing the previous explanation, there are three types or categories of iguana food:
- Foods that must be given regularly
- Food that only needs to be given once in a while
- Food that cannot be given
Let’s start with the foods that should not be given to iguanas.
Since iguanas are herbivores, bearded dragons eat cucumbers do not give meat or other animal products. Iguanas may not resist being given meat, but don’t start this habit.
Animal protein is actually not good for iguanas. Iguanas still need protein, but make sure to get it from plant protein.
So don’t feed your iguana meat, worms, insects, or other animal products. Also avoid milk and eggs.
Iguanas should also not be fed dog or cat food. This product can be given as long as it is confirmed that it does not contain animal protein.
After the foods that should not be given, now let’s discuss the types of foods that should be given to iguanas.
These types of food include:
- Mung beans
- Yellow-orange vegetables, such as pumpkin and carrots
- Green radish
The list above, of course, is not all-encompassing. But what is certain, the nutrition contained in the food must be a combination of several nutritional elements.
To keep your iguana healthy, don’t just give green beans every day, for example. Types of food must be combined.
The following composition can be used as an easy guide for making iguana food combinations.
- 45% plant products such as green beans or pumpkin
- 40% vegetables
- 10% fruits
- 5% additional protein, and other foods
Lastly is food that only needs to be given occasionally. These types of foods include spinach, celery, broccoli, and tofu.
The presentation above contains only a partial list. But at least this short list can give you an idea of the different types of food for iguanas.
The right food will make your iguana grow optimally and stay healthy. Of course you want to have an iguana that is active and not lethargic. Providing the right food is one of the keys.
Can iguanas be fed insects?
While iguanas may eat several species of insects in the wild and under certain circumstances, this type of food is not something they need.
That’s because, insects are not the right food for iguanas.
The digestive system of these animals will work hard to process meat and protein, so that it can interfere with liver and kidney function which has the potential to be fatal.
What foods should iguanas not eat?
Iguanas should not eat meat or insects.
Iguanas must be fed plants, leaves, flowers and fruits.
Some plant foods can also be bad for the iguana if given in too much.
Examples of this type of food are kale and spinach.
Kale is rich in goitrogens and too much of it can cause thyroid problems.
Spinach is high in oxalate and too much of it can inhibit calcium absorption (like all other reptiles).
Ultimately, too much spinach can cause problems that lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
In moderation, kale and spinach are very useful as part of a variety of foods.
How often should iguanas be fed?
Iguanas must be fed daily.
It is recommended to feed in the morning, so as to allow enough heat and ultraviolet light for digestion and for sunbathing.
It is best to feed in sufficient quantities until the Iguana is actively away from food.
How much is needed will be known over time when observing the eating habits of the iguana.
Why won’t the iguana eat?
There are several reasons why an iguana won’t eat.
The main cause and this applies to most reptiles is due to insufficient (too low) temperature.
UVB and poor humidity are other causes.
If all of these factors are not optimal then the iguana’s digestion can be problematic so it doesn’t want to eat.
Parasites are another common reason. Most reptiles carry parasites in their digestive tract which are mostly not a problem for them.
A healthy iguana will be able to control this parasite naturally.
However, when an iguana is sick or stressed, the number of parasites can multiply uncontrollably, causing problems and symptoms such as refusal to eat.
Parasites are usually easy to treat. With one or two doses of parasite medication the problem can usually be resolved.
Important points when preparing iguana food
Here are a few things to consider when feeding your iguana.
- Iguanas do not chew food and swallow it immediately. Therefore, cut the food small enough so that the iguana has no difficulty swallowing.
- Drinking water that is clean, hygienic and free of chlorine is also an important part. Never compromise on the quality of an iguana’s drinking water.
- If there is food residue in the food container, be sure to clean it immediately. Food should always be fresh, clean and healthy.
- Be sure to train your iguana to drink more water by putting a few pieces of food in the water bowl.
- It is recommended to provide a varied diet. Apart from nutritional reasons, a varied diet also keeps the iguana from getting bored.
- When giving calcium and other mineral supplements, keep in mind that the ratio of calcium to phosphorus should always be 2:1.
Iguana common health problems
Like most domesticated reptiles, iguanas are carriers of the salmonella bacteria.
This means that salmonella is present in the iguana’s digestive tract but without causing disease.
That’s why care is needed when handling iguanas so as to prevent humans from experiencing problems associated with these bacteria.
Especially for children, pregnant women, people who have low immunity, or the elderly, extra care should be taken to prevent salmonella infection.
If your iguana lives in a home with people who fall into any of the above groups, reptiles may not be the right pet for your family.