Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology.
Iguanas are some of the most popular pet lizards in America, commonly found in the reptile section of many chain pet stores such as Petco and Petsmart. This is unfortunate because while they may seem pleasantly tiny as babies, they can grow up to 6 feet in length with the proper care (many die prematurely), and those adults will require an enclosure that is sized to accommodate an animal that large. While, in general, reptiles do not need as much room as mammals relative to their size, iguanas still need what many would consider to be a large enclosure. In fact, there are no suitably-sized enclosures for most adult iguanas in conventional pet stores.
It's typical to see iguanas in cages where they would have inches of horizontal room to maneuver around. Cages like these are even sold by dealers claiming to be specifically for iguanas, but they are inadequate for an iguana's thermoregulation needs.
The commercial pet industry doesn't often make the right cages available most likely because there isn't a lot of money in the business of selling enormous caging for cheap lizards.
Iguanas originate from the high jungle trees of South America, so no one should be fooled into thinking any iguana cage in the world will simulate this existence. However, just like most captive animals, enclosures can be modified to provide the essential elements that an iguana needs to thrive.
It doesn't matter if you use a 400-gallon aquarium—it is too small and is not high enough to support the iguana's arboreal needs.
Aquariums are a popular choice for baby iguanas and while they have worked for many, neonate iguana will quickly outgrow these heavy enclosures so they might not be practical for some.
While this enclosure physically fits an iguana's size, it should be obvious that this space provides little or no room for thermoregulation, exploring, and other enrichment. Dog crates are also heavily ventilated and do not hold humidity without modifications.
Dog crates make excellent transportation cages and even temporary housing (although a multi-level cat cage will work better), such as for vacations (whether you are taking them with you or leaving them with a caretaker for boarding) or iguana rescues that cannot accommodate multiple giant cages for several animals. They can also be used as an outdoor cage for your iguana to get some sun, provided there is a shady side with cover.
Retailers have answered the call to the widespread keeping of iguanas being bought as pets from conventional chain pet stores with affordable but inappropriate enclosures. They are all too small, and most do not hold humidity. Here is an example: A Google search for 'iguana cages' shows many cages that are only suitable for chameleons (those with mesh) or for smaller lizards, such as the Zoo Med Reptibreeze IguanArium (this would again, only make a good temp cage. Poor humidity should also be considered). It is perhaps a 'reasonable' size for young iguanas or those which have reached adult size.
Many commercial cages often use a confining 'phone booth' design.
Unless the cage is so large that the width is appropriate, cages in an upright rectangular or 'phone booth' shape are not good for iguanas.
More often than not, such a shape does not even accommodate the size of the iguana, providing inches of room for the animal's body which can cause trauma to the tail overtime when the iguana tries to turn.
A short width also means there is less room for basking spots, of which ideally there should be at least two. This forces the iguana to bask in one area. The 'phone booth' design is confining and should be avoided if possible.
While there are currently no conventional retail iguana cages that are considered to be ideal, changing the species you search for will yield a few suitable options. There are several cat cages that have a reasonable amount of space for the right-sized iguanas. Many iguana owners have had success with large wooden cages designated for cats and even walk-in chicken coops.
There's a caveat, however. In nearly every situation these cages need to be modified substantially. For instance, a popular choice on Amazon is the CoziWow cat cage. As there the is made with hardware cloth owners need to apply material to hold humidity such as plexiglass, clear shower curtain or table cloth (a much cheaper option). Modifications also need to be made to the top of the cage to install the appropriate ceramic heat emitters and lighting. These cages are a great option for people who do not want to build a cage from scratch but can still put in some work.
It cannot be emphasized enough how beneficial it is for iguana owners to make their own cages. Not only do you get to customize the cage to best fit your designated area and get the best use out of it, but the cage can also be designed according to your iguana's known attributes.
If you have some idea of what your iguana might enjoy and what dimensions are suitable for its length, you can create the enclosure that is optimal for you, and you can also add features such as a pool, litter box, and other additions to make caring for your iguana easier and thus more fulfilling.
In my iguana's cage, I have added a 'suspended litter box' that makes cleaning up her droppings a snap and enables the cage to stay much cleaner. This is just one example of a simple innovation one can come up with when constructing the cage for scratch.
Also when building a cage, don't be afraid to keep it simple. The main thing that needs to be focused on is utilizing the space to the best of your ability, adding multiple ramps and climbing opportunities along with accommodating the iguanas biological needs for heat, humidity, and ventilation. Your cage doesn't need to look like the beautiful enclosure in the above video, but owning your iguana will be much more fulfilling when your cage is dynamic and artistic. Be creative, and your iguana will also benefit. Just be sure the cage is able to be easily sanitized (remember, iguanas love to poop in water).
A few tidbits on using walk-in closets or small rooms to house iguanas. This might seem to be a cheap, easy option, but in order to pull this off successfully, the room must be at the proper humidity (most homes average about 35-40% when an iguana should have 65-100%) and this room must be "iguana-proofed" (no objects that can be swallowed, and wires should be out of reach).
If you do not convert the room to a hard floor, this area can be hard to sanitize. Iguana droppings are of particular concern because they can carry Salmonella. With these guidelines in mind, iguanas can be housed this way.
Most of the appropriately-sized cages available for purchase are very expensive, custom-made cages that may very well be worth the money if you can afford it. The advantage of buying a cage is mostly aesthetic, but a professional cage might also be easier to sanitize. A professionally built cage may blend in well with surrounding furniture at your request and have a more beautifying effect. The cost will generally be in the high hundreds to thousands.
You've probably stumbled upon this company's website before. They also can send free catalogs and offer additional accessories for their standard enclosures. Their Majestic Reptile Cages are properly sized for iguanas but offer limited basking options (unlike the example pictured in this article, where ramps surround the perimeter, creating more space for the iguana). These cages are $4000+, without the cage furniture, of which each suspended rock shelf is $50 each (larger sizes are more). I'd recommend customizing your own furnishing with these models (the rocks can probably be created with Styrofoam, please see the above link about making rock walls).
JWorld's cages are customized, beautiful, and have many exciting features that can be added such as waterfalls and ponds, misters, and other décor. Some models can be flushed out (with a drain on the bottom) or even hooked up to the plumbing.
As should be obvious, these types of cages are pricey (expect $4,000+), especially when properly sized for an iguana.
Iguana cages do not need to be this fancy, but these are wonderful options for people who care about their reptile's enclosure blending in with furniture or being eye candy in the room. Note that iguanas like to eliminate in water, so if adding a water feature, it must be able to be thoroughly cleaned each time this occurs. Be sure that special caging like this meets the needs of the iguana and is not designed just for the visual appeal of the owner (JWorld's site does contain some gorgeous cages that do not appear species appropriate).
Many homemade and professional cages can be found on Ebay for those who are not comfortable making their own. Just be sure these cages meet the requirements for the size of the iguana and avoid the common "phone booth" cages if possible.
Welcome to the nightmare. Even though iguanas are one of the most popular pet lizards in America, most people do not have to room, time, or finances to give them exactly what they require. Yet giving your iguana away might make things even worse, because it is very difficult for them to find the proper home. Most iguana rescues are at capacity and cannot meet the demand for the constant flow of animals that need homes.
If you feel you can provide a reasonable existence for your pet, I would recommend keeping it, and trying out these options if your cage is not suitable:
Question: Are there any plans for building an iguana cage yourself? Also, is Jworlds a reputable company and where can I find reviews?
Answer: Jworlds is run by one person. I've used him before, and his cages are one of the best for looks, but an appropriately-sized iguana cage from there will be very expensive, and there might be long wait times. I've never found any plans for cage building, but there are many ideas on Youtube and Pinterest.
Tammy on June 09, 2019:
I have seen some bad reviews for custom ages.com. Does anyone have any experience with this comaony
3ishaw on May 08, 2018:
Hi, where can I find the advantages and disadvantages of keeping Iguana as a pet animal ? (:
Clark on February 05, 2017:
Hi there. Just came across your forum. I have an adult female iguana....she's in a cage I found on Kijiji here in Canada. A guy housed a male for 25 years in the cage I bought from him but I still feel it is small. Looking for options and came across bigappleherpsupplies.com. They seem to have a few great options for large arboreals. I'm looking at shipping options from the USA. Haven't really come across anything comparable commercially.
glenn perrine on June 18, 2016:
i would like to buy one cage but it's alot of money i only have 150.00 to spin on one anyone sell one i would like 7 feet bye 8 ft wide thank u 4 takeing the time GOD bless
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on January 25, 2016:
Sounds good to me.
iguanaguy on January 23, 2016:
I have a 3ft iguana and am planning on building a 6ft long by 6 ft tall by 4ft wide is this going to adequate enough for him
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on January 17, 2015:
Adam, Thanks but I assume you are being truthful and if you are, those animals do not belong in the same enclosure. Iguanas are solitary. Each of those species needs its own enclosure.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 24, 2014:
I know most people in the hobby wouldn't complain about that size. It's hard for me to envision lengths in my head, but it sounds OK to me. 4 feet is a good length for a shorter lizard like a water dragon, even though it will take on that upward rectangle shape. And of course it has a nice height, so be sure to utilize it with ledges around the perimeter.
ZookeeperByNature on September 24, 2014:
Nice article, although I have one question, albeit it's not an iguana.
What size cage would you recommend for a Chinese water dragon, which is about half the length of an iguana? After reading this article, I was starting to question my own plans to construct a 4' x 3' x 6' enclosure as I'm afraid it might be too small to suit an adult animal, yet at the same time, I'm not sure if it will fit up a flight of stares if I make it any bigger. What do you think?
Setting up a cage for your iguana is one of the most important things that you need to do before bringing it to your place. As your iguana matures and develops, you will need to change the cage to ensure that it will meet its needs. And since your iguana will spend most of its time inside the cage, make sure to set it up properly. In fact, this will keep your pet healthy and happy.
Wondering how to setup the perfect iguana cage? If so, here are the most important things that must be taken into consideration when setting up.
Baby iguanas can live in pre-made terrariums, but as mentioned a while ago, you will need to construct a new one since it will grow bigger as days pass by.
The cage of your iguana must be selected or designed with the possibilities of it getting big. If you don’t give your pet enough space to grow you well end risking its life.
Unluckily, there aren’t many cages that can accommodate full-grown iguanas on the market today. So, if possible, consider making your own as an alternative.
When setting up a cage, make sure not to place it near air conditioners, windows, or other areas in which temperature and humidity change drastically. Also, keep humidity at an optimal level, or else you will end putting the health of your iguana at risk.
Iguanas are lazy creatures, in fact, they spend half of their time lying under the sunlight. That said, you need to set up the cage in a place that has plenty of natural light.
On the other hand, if you want to give your iguana the needed heat and vitamin D3, you may want to invest in a UVB fluorescent bulb. You can also buy large bulbs, heat emitter, and a thermostat to maintain an optimum temperature easily.
We all know that iguanas are sneaky creatures. If they find a way to sneak out from their cages they will take advantage of it immediately.
With this mind, you need to look for a cage that has locking doors and lids. Not only that, make sure it has a sturdy construction.
Nevertheless, if you want to discourage your iguana from sneaking out from its cage, consider applying a small amount of petroleum jelly on top of the cage as other owners do.
Iguanas like to spend their time on the tree. So if you want to make your iguana happy, make sure that you buy or create a cage that has vertical spaces. This will allow you to put lots of branches, logs, and basking shelves inside the cage.
When setting up an iguana cage don’t forget to include food and water containers. Make sure to give your pet enough food and water so that it will grow healthy and extend its lifespan.
Having a designated place for a substrate is important whether you are looking forward to using a pre-made cage or a custom one to create enough bottom for your iguana.
When it comes to the substrate, there is a lot of options where you can choose from, these include newspaper, paper towels, and eco-friendly carpets. You can get the last option from pet stores and even online. This substrate, on the other hand, is very easy to clean and looks very natural.
To complete the look of your iguana cage, you may want to add some accessories such as rocks and plants. There are lots of reasons why you should do this, for example, such accessories will make the cage feel more like a real iguana home. Keep in mind that iguanas are living in a boundless sea of plants and foliage. So seeing rocks and live plants in their enclosure will give them a sense of security and belonging.
In case you didn’t know, plants can also help in maintaining a good level of humidity inside the cage.
Like people, iguanas need some”me time” in order to chill. With this in mind, consider building a hiding place for him/her so that your pet iguana can have a haven where he/she can enjoy privacy.
There you have it the 9 things that you need to consider when setting up a cage for your iguana. Following this may result in a beautiful, comfortable, and safe iguana cage.
If you too are concerned about finding the perfect comfortable home for your Iguana, then we have listed down some of the best names on which you can rely.
At a reptile fair, this is where all the pet shops, breeders, online sellers, private sellers come together under one roof to sell reptiles. Chameleons are usually sold here and a variety of them as well.
At a reptile fair, since everything is focused on reptiles, there will be a lot of people with knowledge on chameleons and other reptiles. You can gain a lot of insights and knowledge at this gathering.
Depending on where the reptile fair is being held at, it can have just a couple of sellers to hundreds of sellers. Of course, reptile fair in large metro cities will have a lot of sellers, while reptile fair in small cities will be just a few sellers.
The reptile fair is a great place to buy a chameleon since everyone here has a lot of knowledge about chameleons. However, just like anywhere that sells chameleons, their main focus is to get you to buy their chameleons.
Before buying a chameleon from any seller, check their credential, and ask a lot of questions. A seller who sells healthy chameleons will be eager to answer any questions you may have and willingly provide any credentials you ask to see.
Another thing to look for is where the seller is located. If they are someone you’ve never heard of and they are from outside of town, it’s best to find other sellers. If something goes wrong with your chameleon, it will be difficult to track them down and get your money back.
Buy only from those sellers that have a good reputation and have a good track record of breeding and raising chameleons. By doing so, you’ll have a greater chance that you’ll end up with a healthy pet chameleon.
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Green Iguanas are completely herbivorous.
Green iguanas require a precise ratio of minerals (2 to 1 calcium to phosphorus) in their diet. Iguanas should be fed a large fresh salad and fresh water every single day. The best fruits and vegetables for green iguanas are the following: Green beans, alfalfa (rabbit pellets), acorn squash, butternut squash, cactus leaves, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive (when mixed with other greens), mango, mustard greens, okra, papaya, parsnips, snap peas, turnip greens and watercress. If fed a steady diet of these selections, your iguana will be eating optimally. Be sure to feed a variety.
Other fruits and vegetables can be fed in moderation. Please see greenigsociety.org for an excellent feeding chart with precise nutrition details about common fruits and vegetables.
Juvenile iguanas often eat feces from adults in order to acquire the essential microflora to digest their low-quality and hard to process vegetarian diet.