Pet Green Iguana Care

Emotional Support Reptiles

Emotional Support Reptiles: Basic Pet Green Iguana Care
Photo by Nitty Ditty on Unsplash

We’ve all heard of cats and dogs as emotional support animals but you don’t hear much about reptiles as emotional support animals.

I like animals and each of them have different things to offer.

What’s nice about having a pet Green Iguana over other animals?

  • They stay in a confined space
  • They don’t have fur
  • They’re quiet
  • They’re unique
  • Their food is cheap
  • They look like dragons

They’re not for everyone but if you’re thinking about trying it,

Here are some things you should definitely know before getting a pet Green Iguana; 

  • They can bite, scratch, and tail whip
  • They can live for 20 years!
  • They get big, up to 5-7 feet long
  • If you want them to hang out with you, you’ll have to put some work into it
  • There is some cost upfront if you don’t have any supplies
    • Tank ($100 or more)
    • Lights ($20 or more)
    • Reptile carpet or other substrate ($10)
    • The actual Iguana (100$ price varies quite a bit though)
    • Vitamins ($15)
    • Temp/humidity gage ($15)
    • Humidifier ($30 optional usually)
    • Food/water bowls ($10)
    • Things for them to climb ($20)

If you’re looking for how to care for an iguana, below is some info on iguana care for beginners.


Where do I get a Pet Green Iguana?

You can find them at most pet stores.

You can also buy them online, here are some sites below that have Pet Green Iguanas for sale.

Their price ranges from as low as $20, up to $500.

Backwater Reptiles

Underground Reptiles



What To Put in Your Pet Green Iguana Tank

These lizards like a temperature of 80-92F with a basking spot that’s 110-120F and they require UVA & UVB lighting.

5.0 linear fluorescent bulbs work well for Iguanas.

You should have about 12 hours of the light on and off, some owners also do 13 on and 11 off. You might need more than one depending on the size of your tank.


Here is just one example of lighting


Paper based bedding or alfalfa based bedding works best. You could also buy a reptile substrate approved for Iguanas at the pet store or reptile carpet.

You’ll want to change the bedding or clean the carpet at least every few months.

Keep humidity levels around 70-90% and you can buy a hygrometer to test the humidity.

Having a humidifier nearby is one idea to keep them moist or you could mist their tank with a spray bottle daily. They generally are tolerant of humidity changes.

It’s a good idea to have a couple different basking spots that range in temperature from 110F-120F.

Make sure your lizard is always at least 6 inches from their light to avoid injuries.

Hygrometer & Thermometer


They can live in the trees or on the ground, so have crevices and rocks. I would use smooth stone just for the sake of safety.

Climbing branches are popular for Iguanas. You should have surfaces on the ground and surfaces for climbing.

You can have live or fake plants in the tank as well as logs or other artificial decorations.

You can use a glass, wire or plastic container.

Tank should be double the length of your lizard.

Glass container are nice because you can see your lizard, but they will grow to be long lizards so be prepared for the space you will need.

A full grown Iguana needs a minimum space of 6F in height x6F in width x12F in length.

You can experiment with different plants and decorations. You will want to provide them a source of water and change it weekly or whenever they dirty it.

They can be pretty messy with the water and will bask in it & go to the bathroom in it.

Tubes and tunnels are another important addition. Corkwood tubes are a popular choice but once they’re larger you’ll need hollow logs, or even tree stumps.

Natural Cork Bark Tube


Provide a source of calcium & sprinkle the dust on their food 1-2 times per week.

*When they’re younger they’ll need this a bit more frequently. 

*It is possible for them to have too much Vitamin D. The symptoms aren’t very obvious; usually lethargy is something seen in a lizard with too much Vitamin D.

Some supplements have calcium and Vitamin D, but you only need the dust with calcium for a green iguana.

Calcium Supplement



Having climbable surfaces is a good idea; cork sheeting or garden lattices are just a couple ideas.

If you’re going to have multiple iguanas you’ll want to have multiple water bowls and basking areas, etc.

I really wouldn’t try it unless you have experience and enough space and supplies to have them completely separate; because they usually don’t get along.

They get territorial which can really limit the less dominant of the two, so be sure to provide alternative areas. 

Many owners end up with DIY enclosures just because of how much space they need.

*If you are considering a DIY enclosure, make sure to use untreated wood since the chemicals used to treat wood can be harmful.

Even though they’re ground lizards they are still good climbers so be mindful of escape routes and space for climbing.

Reptile carpet is a popular substrate for Iguanas. They won’t tolerate some substrates (they give them gastrointestinal problems). 

Reptile Carpet



What to Feed Your Pet Green Iguana

  • Lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion
  • Kohlrabi
  • Parsley
  • Florette mix
  • Berries
  • Mango
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Artichoke
  • Roses
  • Hibiscus
  • Turnips

Pet green Iguanas should have a varied diet to get enough vitamins and minerals.

Also, they’re herbivores; they eat plants!

They will eat other things but I’d just avoid it because sometimes they have trouble digesting bugs/meat. 



How Often Do Pet Green Iguanas Eat?

When they’re young you can feed them as much as they’ll eat.

Once they’re two years old you will want to move to feeding 2-3 times a week.

Some owners will feed their lizard every 1-2 days for about 5-10 minutes per feeding. That ensures they get enough without overeating.

It’s a good idea to stick to the same time because Iguanas like routines.



Are Pet Green Iguanas Dangerous?

Green Iguanas usually don’t carry diseases, but are prone to parasitism.

They have sharp teeth and can certainly bite.

They are not poisonous or venomous.

They can scratch with their claws so be mindful of those.

They do have the potential to tail whip; while unlikely to injure you, it’s usually startling.

It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after handling any animal.

If you do get bit or scratched be sure to wash the wound since they could have bacteria in their mouth or on their claws.

Wash the wound daily until it has scabbed over since any open wound has the potential to become infected.



Where do Green Iguanas Come From?

Green Iguanas can be found in Central and South America. They can also be found in the Caribbean. 

They are an invasive species to Florida.

They can be sold at pet stores and can also be shipped from sites online.



How do Green Iguanas Reproduce?

A female is able to reproduce after about 3-4 years & will lay up to 70 eggs about 60 days after mating. 

She will lay eggs even without a mate and in captivity will likely bury them. Females can also hang on to sperm for years, making it possible for her to fertilize eggs in the future.

The incubation period varies based on conditions, specifically temperature but 90-120 days is the incubation period

They do not look after their hatchlings. 



How Long Do Pet Green Iguanas Live?

A pet green Iguana lifespan can be 15-20  years.



Parasites in Pet Green Iguanas

It’s not uncommon for these lizards to have parasites. Try to get one that’s already been tested before bringing it home and test them on a regular basis afterwards.

Unless you obtained the lizard from someone you know, and know they adequately test and treat parasites in their lizards; be on the look out.

Some symptoms of parasites are a lack of appetite, fatigue, respiratory infections, weight loss, and excess mucous. 



Pet Green Iguana Care and Temperament

They are usually skittish and even aggressive at first, but they can get use to handling.

You’ll want to ease into handling them and gain their trust, using a routine can help tremendously.

If you’re going to have multiple pet green Iguanas be careful introducing them to each other. You’ll want to be able to watch them interact with each other for at least a few hours after placing them together, but 1-2 days is even better.

They are very territorial so be aware of this before trying to put two together.

Some pet green Iguanas will tolerate sharing their enclosure and others will not.

Some owners only allow them to be together when the female is ready to mate since pheromones will encourage mating instead of fighting.

Be cautious every time you reintroduce them.



Pet Green Iguana Care Tips

  • Green Iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are awake in the day and sleep at night
  • They enjoy climbing!
  • Iguanas enjoy soaking in water
  • They will be long, growing to 7ft in length
  • Try to slowly gain their trust when it comes to handling your pet Green Iguana
  • Do not approach them from above
  • Do not force them out of their hiding spots
  • They are prone to parasites
  • Limit their time out of the enclosure as they want to be humid and warm

Hopefully this information helps, if you have any insight to add, please leave a comment!



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