EnRICHing the iguana/keeper relationship through accurate care information and compassionate re-homing.
Maybe itís because they get so big that there is the misconception that iguanas need to eat protein. But take a look at other animals that only eat grain such as horses. Or the moose that eats primarily twigs and plants and grows to a very large size! So naturally, a large habitat is required for the adult iguana.
Going back to our model the tropical rainforest, iguanas will be found high up in the tree canopy basking and eating, always watching out for predators. The green iguana is a prey animal and is consumed by any carnivore, including humans. Being high up in the forest canopy give the iguana a sense of security. An appropriately sized enclosure will also enable the iguana to properly thermo regulate, since they are cold-blooded animals. Another reason to build the enclosure large enough to accommodate its size, is to ensure its emotional health. The right sized habitat will greatly enhance your socialization efforts. Since they are prey animals, any kind of creature coming at it from the top will be perceived as a threat. Too often the hatchlings first habitat is an overcrowded fish tank at a pet store. This is unfortunately repeated at the new home where the hatchling will literally fight for its life at the hand monster reaching down for it! Even older tame iguanas will sometimes flinch at a shadow overhead, if taken unawares.
A better enclosure is one where the iguana can fully stretch out, can turn around comfortably, open from the side, and is at least eye level with its human caretakers. For an adult iguana this could mean a habitat thatís six feet tall, eight to ten feet long and three to four feet wide. The bottom, or substrate, should be free of particulate matter like sand, bark, or pellets. Itís easier to clean, and a flat surface has nothing the curious iguana can ingest and possibly get impacted from. Climbing structures such as branches, ladders made from 2x4ís help keep the iguana strong. Shelves can be wood, or even coated wire closet shelves. Iíve used both with much success.
Almost all of the iguana caretakers, including myself, have been surprised to discover that their iguana appreciates soft surfaces. I cover the shelves with towels Iíve purchased from thrift stores that are for the iguanas use only. They even have pillows! They love their pillows!