EnRICHing the iguana/keeper relationship through accurate care information and compassionate re-homing.
POTTY TRAINING YOUR IGUANA
Incredible as it may sound, the green iguana can be trained to defecate in a specified container. Or as I like to refer to it, "Poop in the poopy box".
If you have a hatchling it will be fairly easy to do, since you will be taking advantage of their own nature. Iguanas are actually clean animals, and prefer to defecate away from their roosting area. Many keepers have found that their iguana would poop in the water dish instead of drink from it. Water is a natural defecation cue. By providing a large enough container of water, your iguana will most likely train itself. Sometimes older iguanas have picked up bad habits. If you need to retrain an older iguana, consistancy is the key. Place your iguana in a tub of warm, not hot, water. Some iguanas are nervous in the bathtub, due to perhaps the slippery-ness of it, or that it's all white and hard to get it's bearings. As with any training program, patience is essential. I have found some of my iguanas like to poop in a shower. So I turn on the hand-held shower sprayer (while the iguana is in the bathtub) and this will encourage defecation. Most of the time, they poop right away in just a few inches of water. No, you don't have to fill up the tub!Place your iguana in water, whether it's the bath tub, or a big plastic tub, at the same time every day, and the iguana will get the idea. I have heard of many owners whose iguanas would sit by the bathtub waiting to be lifted into it.
Then again, I know of others whose iguanas were not so accomodating and decided to make a statement with a behavior known as "poop painting". This usually happens when the iguana is not happy with a given situation and expresses itself by pooping on the shelf and walls of it's enclosure.
Iguanas will typically poop once a day. Sometimes, every other day. During breeding season however, the female might defecate a few times a day.
Iguanas are similar to birds, in that they defecate all waste at once, through one opening called the vent. Quite often, the iguana will do a "poopy dance" right before defecation. It will raise it's hind end up, and bounce up and down. Why they do this is somewhat of a mystery, until you think of those times when you are trying to get your house key in the door before you wet your pants. Small children are also known to do the human version it, also called the "potty dance".
Iguanas relieve themselves of their waste all in one go. First is the urine, which should be more of a clear liquid. Then the urates, which are a white, viscous type matter similar to egg whites. Then the feces which are soft, but hold their shape. They should be a dark brown and not hard or pellet-like. You can get an idea of your iguanas health by checking it's excretion. More of that is explained in the FAQ # 11, "How do know my iguana is sick?"