Did you know Godzilla is an iguana? The giant reptile who terrorizes and destroys entire cities is an iguana. A marine iguana, to be exact.
Before bringing any animal into your home it is important to know all about it. What are the pros and cons? How long does it live? What does it eat? Is it a good pet for kids or with other animals?
Thus far in my journey that I have shared with you in becoming a pet parent to an iguana, we have discussed proper reptile care including: habitat, diet, taming, and more. Now we are going to discuss pros and cons to owning an iguana to determine if an iguana is right for your family.
Pros to Owning a Pet Iguana:
- Long Life Span: Personally, I like the fact that an iguana will live a long time. Losing a pet is one of the hardest aspects of pet ownership, and a longer lifespan means not having to go through that loss as frequently.
- Herbivore Diet: You will not have to purchase or store any insects or rodents to feed an iguana. They thrive on vegetables and fruit.
- Personality: Properly tamed iguanas are great family pets! They get along with other animals in the household as well as children. My iguana that I had as a child would sleep next to me in my bed at night. They can be loving, social animals if raised correctly.
- Supplies: All lighting, commercial diets, humidifiers, and more that an iguana needs to thrive can be easily found at Reptile Purchase Center on PetSmart.com. You can also check your local PetSmart® to see what supplies they have available in store.
- Activity: Iguanas are only mildly active and they sleep at night, making them easy to accommodate into daily life.
Cons to Owning a Pet Iguana:
- Long Life Span: How can this be a pro and a con? Many times the length of an animals’ life can affect it ending up in rescue. What happens when the child who the pet belongs to goes to college? What if you move? Animals with shorter life-spans are not as likely to be affected by these life changes.
- Size: This is actually one aspect I personally like about iguanas, but in reality, it is one part of iguana ownership that makes them difficult pets. A five foot reptile can not be kept in a 20 gallon aquarium. Providing a large enough habitat for a full-grown iguana can be challenging.
- Personality: Iguanas who are not tamed can be quite aggressive (especially during breeding season). While iguanas rarely bite, if they do, their bite is very strong. And a tail-whip from a 20lb reptile can really hurt!
- Veterinary Care: The cost of taking an exotic animal to a veterinarian is much greater than taking a cat or a dog to a veterinarian. Also, not all veterinarians care for reptiles. Have you checked with your vet about iguana care?
You won’t see an iguana as a classroom pet because of their special needs and large size, but they are frequently used by animal education centers which stop by classrooms for lessons. These large reptiles can be intimidating for children, so it is important that an adult be present and actively help with their care.
So, is an iguana right for your family?
- Can you provide a large enclosure with proper climbing materials, humidity, and lighting?
- Are you able to care for the iguana for its’ entire life? Don’t forget, iguanas can live for 15 or more years.
- Do you have an exotic veterinarian nearby who can help you care for your iguana in the event that it gets sick? Many iguanas come home with parasites (intestinal parasites, mites, and other common ailments) that are easily remedied with proper veterinary care but can lead to death if untreated.
- Can you provide fresh fruit and veggies daily for your iguana? Yes, there is commercialized food available conveniently at every PetSmart® , but Iguanas also need fresh fruits and veggies daily to thrive.
- Are you able to handle your iguana frequently in order to help tame him when you bring him home? Remember, iguanas can grow to be around five feet in length and over 20lbs! You do not want an antisocial reptile of that size in your home!
If you answered “yes” to all the questions above then you would be a great fit for an iguana. I would love to hear from you if you decide to join me in becoming an iguana pet parent!
If you answered “no” to even one of the questions above you should probably continue researching before deciding to get an iguana. There are many reptiles that make great pets, and a different reptile may be better for your home. You can research Bearded Dragons, Leopard Geckos, Turtles, Snakes, and more at the Reptile Care Center on petMD®!
If you have missed any part in this series, I will be posting all the links on my Iguanas as Pets Page.