The iguana is a very striking animal that has earned a place as a pet in many homes. Whether it’s vibrant or dark colors, its appearance makes it a very curious companion. And so that they stay healthy and happy, one of the elements that must be taken care of at the time of having them at home is their diet.
Do you know what iguanas eat? Lettuce and some fruits may seem the right answer, but the truth is that they need much more than that. In the following article by ExpertoAnimal we teach you to offer you adequate nutrition and we explain what iguanas feed on. Keep reading!
The iguana as a pet
The iguana is a reptile of the Iguanidae family found in Latin America and the Caribbean. It lives mostly in humid forests, where it prefers to live in the trees, since it is an excellent climber .
It is an oviparous animal , that is, it reproduces by means of eggs. Although its diet is mainly herbivorous, it varies in the different stages of its life, so we explain below what is most advisable for them according to their age.
Iguanas Food List
What do baby iguanas eat?
The baby iguana needs to eat twice a day , always fresh and chopped very small or grated. The best advice is to let them sunbathe right after eating, because the rays help metabolize the ingested food and assimilate the nutrients.
95% of the baby iguana’s diet should be vegetables and green leaves , while only 5% should be fruits and special iguana feed. In this way, the basis of your diet should be constituted by:
Similarly, avoid citrus fruits , such as orange, lemon and kiwi, as they are very acidic for the digestive system of iguanas. Foods such as carrots, lettuce, bananas and grapes are only offered occasionally, while Brussels sprouts, celery, beet and cauliflower are forbidden. Likewise, you should never give it meat , eggs or dairy products.
Baby iguanas can also eat iguana feed , preferably softened with a little water, but only once or twice a week. Do not forget that the variety of your diet is the key point to keep it healthy.
Some vitamin supplements of phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D can also be administered, but occasionally and always under the supervision of a veterinarian.
What do young iguanas eat?
As we already mentioned, the feeding of these reptiles varies according to their age. That is why, to be completely vegetarian when they are babies, as the iguanas go into the youth change their habits to eat not only fruits, plants and vegetables, but also some insects . Of course, as Albert Martinez and Joaquim Soler tell us in their book The Great Book of the 100 questions about reptiles  , this type of food should be offered very sporadically, since it is not ideal iguana food.
However, in captivity it is difficult to give live insects. You can offer some that you find in the garden, always of small size, in a proportion of once or twice a week. Avoid dry or flake foods such as those sold in pet stores, such as flies or mosquitoes, as it is usually recommended for fish and turtles.
Like the baby iguanas, the young eat a couple of times a day, although in greater quantity. How do you know the proper proportion of iguana food ? It will depend on each individual. An easy way to know is to offer the container with the food and, if it leaves food, it means that it is too much; this way you can determine the quantity, since they eat until they feel satiated.
What do adult and elderly iguanas eat?
When they reach the adult stage and for the rest of their life, including old age, the iguana is completely herbivorous . Vegetables, fruits and green leaves are all your food.
To be healthy, they need at least 40% of what they eat to provide them with calcium , such as tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, parsley, strawberry, melon and pear. Iguanas special food is also recommended, but in proportions of maximum twice a week, so you can offer it as a reward. You can also give grains and cereals such as brown rice, once a week and in a proportion of only 5% of the iguana food you give.
As in the other stages, if you wonder what iguanas eat and what foods are prohibited, during adulthood and old age you should not give meat , dairy products, let alone recommended feed for other species, such as dogs, cats or rabbits. Remember that these types of products are formulated differently for each animal.
Some wild flowers may be recommended for iguanas, but only if you are sure they do not contain pesticides or other chemicals, and as an additional food supplement.
What do green iguanas eat?
The green or common iguana ( Iguana iguana ) only feeds following a herbivore diet , the administration of insects can reduce their life expectancy by half. In nature, they eat leaves, flower buds and some fruits. At home you can prepare portions of food that contain:
- Banana with skin
Sporadically , in addition, you can add to the iguana’s diet:
- Romaine lettuce
- Soybean sprouts
Never offer onions, cauliflower, peas, grapes or citrus.
What does the black iguana eat?
The black iguana ( Ctenosaura pectinata ) is native to Mexico and inhabits rocky and coastal areas, so if you wonder where these iguanas live, here is the answer. However, it is currently also possible to find it in the United States. It is in danger of extinction , both by the destruction of its habitat and by its hunting to consume its meat.
During its baby stage and up to seven months, the black iguana is omnivorous , so it feeds on insects and plants mostly. Arriving in adulthood and in turn, it is herbivorous .
Complete list of recommended and forbidden iguana foods
Throughout the article we have mentioned what iguanas eat according to their age or species. However, here is a complete list of the best foods for iguanas :
- Boiled rice
Prohibited food for iguanas
In the following list we show the least recommended foods for iguanas, that we can give very occasionally or what we should avoid:
- Meat and fish
- Citric fruits
- Peas with pod
- Flower petals
- Worms, larvae and insects
- Beans or beans
Foods with calcium for iguanas
Since we have commented that the contribution of calcium is essential for the correct feeding of the iguana, do not miss this list:
- Sesame seeds
Supplements for iguanas
In addition to the above, you can add the following supplements to your iguana’s diet:
- Liver oil
- Cuttlefish bone or cuttlefish
- Calcium supplements
- Vitamin supplements
What do iguanas eat in their natural habitat?
As you will suppose, the diet of iguanas in their natural habitat is similar to what you provide at home , after all, a healthy diet is one that best mimics the diet of the species in freedom; adding, of course, vitamin supplements when necessary.
In freedom, however, it is easier for young iguanas to eat insects. Occasionally, the black iguana can consume eggs of birds and even small mice, that is, if you wonder what the iguana feeds on you should know that it can also be carnivorous; however, protein does not form the basis of your diet.
In the nature the iguanas lie in the sun just after eating , this is a need that you must satisfy when you have one as a pet to ensure an adequate absorption of calcium.