EnRICHing the iguana/keeper relationship through accurate care information and compassionate re-homing.
You just acquired your first Green Iguana. Maybe you bought a hatchling
at a pet store. Or even better yet, you adopted an iguana from a
rescue. But you're not sure if it's a male or female. Or you’re not
sure how to care for it properly. You need quality information that will
give you the tools to make your iguana thrive.That is the purpose of Resource for Iguana Care and Adoption.
are not for everyone and they require specialized care. But if you are
willing to commit to it’s proper husbandry, are willing to house a
lizard that can grow to six feet long, and weigh up to 15 pounds, and
are willing to give it the veterinary care that any other captive pet
deserves, you will engage with an animal that is intelligent,
fascinating, sometimes aloof, sometimes affectionate, always a
challenge. And your life will never be the same. Welcome to the
wonderful, wild, wacky world of the Great Green Iguana.
Meet Kathy - President of RICA
The first time I saw an iguana was while I was waiting at a stoplight. I looked over to the driver next to me, and there was this lizard type creature on the dash. We both had our windows down, and I yelled over "Is that thing real?" He nodded yes. "What is it?" I asked. "An iguana" was the reply. The light turned green and we went our separate ways. I got a small handbook on iguanas at a pet store to read up on them. At that time in the early 90's there was a lot of misinformation about iguanas, but some of the things I remember about the book are correct. They get big and the males can be aggressive during breeding season. I had the room, but after reading it more, I determined I would not have the time to take care of an iguana properly.
Then, in 2002 I was working part time for a friend of mine who had a specialty fish and reptile pet store. I have raised fish for many years, but needed to educate myself about the reptiles he sold. And it was there that I met Shawn, who had two adult iguanas that needed a new home. I went to look at them, and I fell in love with the beautiful, bright green female with the intense yellow eyes, and the other female who had all of her long, gorgeous, original tail. He brought them to my house, where I already had a room in the basement set up for them to free-roam.
In June of 2003 I helped another person organize an iguana rescue. I served on the Board of Directors, first as Vice President, then later as Director of Community Outreach, and Team Leader of Home Visits.
In May of 2006, a tragic event happened that changed my opinion of this rescue. It involved the death of one of the fostered iguanas, due to neglect.Moe and three other iguanas were abandoned to live in filthy cages with no food, or heat. Fortunately, they were removed from the premises. But not in time for Moe, and sadly, she did not make it through the night. She was forced to endure a slow, painful death, which was completely avoidable.
I resigned from this organization and created RICA as an outreach and educational portal to help iguanas thrive in captivity, thereby enriching the iguana/keeper relationship. It is my enthusiastic desire to dispel myths, provide accurate husbandry facts, and share tips from real life personal experience that will enable you, the iguana "kept", to enjoy your green friend to the highest degree possible.
I hope you enjoy this website and use it often. Please feel free to give us suggestions to make this site a better place.
Kept by iguanas since January 2002.
Meet Lizzy - Vice President
For me, and like others here, my fondness for reptiles, more specifically lizards, started with a fascination of dinosaurs when I was a child. When other girls were playing with dolls, I had my stuffed animals, Breyer model horses & plastic dinosaurs.
I got my first lizards, anoles, at a local department store in the mid-70's. Back then, lizard supplies consisted of hot rocks & glass aquariums and books on the subject were sorely lacking. The anoles perished quickly.
In the late 80's, I came across what would become my favorite of all the lizard species, green iguanas. By then, reptile supplies had come a long way and lucky for me, Twin City Reptiles was close by in Golden Valley, MN. The owner of the store set me up with all the correct supplies. (The store has since moved to St. Paul.)
My first iguana, Isaac, was wonderful. He tamed quickly and preferred to be out of his cage. He grew fast but unfortunately died at a young age. I vowed to never let that happen again. From then on, if an iguana of mine gets sick, he goes to the vet sooner, rather than later.
In the 90's, I had moved back in with my parents. While living there, someone told me that an iguana had been found under a car in Crystal. I quickly got an enclosure together so I could take him in. I named him Mike. He was a nice male sub adult iguana without most of his tail. He also preferred to be out of his cage. When my parents came home from vacation, they said "No way, it's gotta go," so I brought him to an iguana rescue.
Now that I'm on my own, and able to have iguanas again, I do! In 2010, I bought two 6 month old iguanas, SPIKE (green) & Ringo (red.). SPIKE was a handful from the get-go. You can read all about our trials & tribulations in RICA's October 2012 newsletter. If you are having a difficult time with your iguana, I highly recommend reading it.
I met Kathy at a herp show in Bloomington a couple years ago. At the time, I didn't realize how many iguanas needed homes. Now that I know, I've decided that fostering & adoption is the only way to go. I took in Steven, and am ready to take in one more. Rosie is moving in any day now.
I am so pleased to be the new VP of RICA. A big thank you goes out to Kathy for having me. I look forward to great things ahead for this fantastic organization.
I have always had a great deal of respect for animals. All my pets have been a best friend, whether they are hamsters, ferrets, cats, dogs, birds, or iguanas.
My fondness for iguanas started when I was 13 years old. Iggy, my first iguana was a male green iguana about 3 years old, which was being given away by a guy I heard on the CB radio my father had. I told my dad I would be able to take care of it and I read every book I could get my hands on and bought more. At first I named the iguana Velcro, then it became Iggy. I had a couple of part time jobs with Petco that enabled me to learn more about them. I became fascinated with exotic animals and started to build elaborate cages. Iggy was always happy. I had Iggy for thirteen years and when he passed I had a necropsy done through the local herp society to learn more about his species and the reason for his passing. After that I raised another from a hatchling who I named Sam. (Great name for a pet with an unknown gender.) And unfortunately he passed as well, not to a long life, but to an abnormality in his heart caused by his breeders.
A couple years passed and I missed having my green friends. I began looking into RICA and I made plans to adopt Lil’ H. So I built the cage and went to meet the iguanas and found a perfect match with Spike instead. Within the year I became involved with RICA on a small scale. In 2011 I became more of a fixture within the RICA family. I fostered an iguana renaming him Taz, and after a couple months, adopted him too. Unfortunately you outlive most pets, and with exotic animals there is always more that can be learned even after they pass away. I believe that the best thing for me is to let a professional learn more to help others in the future.
My family is quite large and just seems to keep growing whether human, fur baby, or scaly friend. I am married to Rosemary and father of 5, Aiden, Zave, Lilliy, Kaya, and Jocelyn). I have two iguanas Spike and Taz, a turtle named Felix, two dogs Nick and Ashley and Petrie, an Amazon Parrot. I have been told that I have a heart too large for my wallet. All of my pets are adopted and now have a forever home with my family.
“You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal.”
Meet Asra, Friend of RICA
I've always loved lizards; in fact, the first
book I could read by myself was called Dinosaur Time. (I could pronounce all of the dinosaur names with the
help of the phonetic spelling in parentheses).
At fairs, I begged my parents to get that foam lizard on a wire that would look
like you were walking a lizard on a leash. But I wanted a real lizard—a big
I got that opportunity as a freshman in college, and was consequently kicked
of the dormitory the year after, following the discovery of my iguana bathing
happily in the dorm's bathtub. Whoops. (I definitely do not advocate getting pets when
living in places that do not allow them.)
I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot from my first iguana, including
choice of veterinarian. My first veterinarian told me to feed her crickets
(cringe), but also did help get rid of a skin fungus which she had when I bought her—another
learning experience, as I did not even know what a healthy baby iguana should look like.
Now, several iguana books and online iguana forums later, I know a lot more
about these fascinating giants. I'm glad I can be a part of this new
organization to make a difference for new and potential iguana owners to get it right the first time.
These great greenies can be amazing to watch, hold, and feed—just like little dinosaurs.
Meet Kathy A - Treasurer
We became interested in iguanas when a friend of mine "had" to
give his away!! His wife to be said "it is either him or me!" You can
guess who he chose? Anyway, we adopted Iggy, who was 13. The other
reason is my oldest son is allergic to cats and dogs. So we had to
leave the mammal species. Iggy came along and we had him for 2 yrs.
Then he passed away. I was not going to get any igs after that, but got
kind of lonely without a pet in the house. So a few months later I got
3 igs. Newman, Butch and Crusty. A year later they got out of their
outside cage. We found Butch right away but Newman and Crusty were
gone. A week later I got 2 more. Caesar and Turk. A week after that
Newman was found down the street, alive, but barely. He survived. We
had them for 8 years. In the meantime we got Speedy, a female that
wasn't very nice. I was going to tame her and return her. They did not
want her back. So, we had 5 igs. It got to the point where they were
fighting ALL the time. Butch had to have stitches on two different
occasions and I just couldn't go through one of them killing another. I
then found homes for all 5.
That was 3 years ago. Things have
changed and times have changed and it was time for me to get another ig.
That is when I found RICA and adopted an iguana. I also wanted to be
able to help out as much as I could so I am also fostering one.
is how iguanas have come into my life and I really enjoy them.
Meet Jeff - Liaison to MHS
Jeff LeClere is interested in all aspects of herpetology from the care and breeding of all exotic species to the study and documentation of native herpetofauna. He is a long time member of the Minnesota Herpetological Society and had served on the board of directors on and off for over a decade. He has extensive herpetological field experience in the upper Midwest, primarily in Iowa and Minnesota. He is the author and photographer of www.HerpNet.net, has authored several publications on amphibians and reptiles, presented to a wide variety of venues from herpetological societies and fairs to state wildlife meetings and symposiums, and is currently employed by the MN DNR’s Minnesota Biological Survey program where he is in charge of three different projects involving mark-recapture and radio telemetry on bullsnakes, plains hognose snakes, eastern hognose snakes, and racers. He is also the chairman of the Amphibian and Reptile Subcommittee for the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan, and serves on the Amphibian and Reptile STAT team for the Minnesota Wildlife Action Plan. He has just completed a book, “A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Iowa” and is working on a field guide to the herps of North Dakota.