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 So you want a new iguana???

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Reptile Rescue Den
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PostSubject: So you want a new iguana???   Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:57 pm

So you want an iguana? Are you begging your parents for an iguana? Due to an iguana's special needs, please consider long and hard before purchasing one, or any reptile for that matter.

Never buy an exotic pet before completely researching it and providing it with a proper enclosure and food - BEFORE - buying it and bringing it home. Never put a new pet in with any other pets you have. You risk giving all of your animals infections or diseases that a pet store animal may have unbeknownst to you. Isolate a new animal from other pets for at least a month to insure their health.
Anyone growing up in the fifties remembers the popularity of the tiny red-eared slider turtle. Pet stores sold them by the thousands. Inevitably, the small turtle died and was ceremoniously buried in the backyard or unceremoniously flushed down the toilet. This living creature of the swamp and riverbank, which should have grown to over a foot in length, was considered a novelty, a "disposable" pet. And still is!!!

Unfortunately, the Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) has become the disposable pet of the nineties and many decades after that. The International Iguana Society reports that in 1997 over 750,000 iguanas were imported into the U.S., with the majority dying in their first year and only a small percentage projected to reach maturity.

The Green Iguana is a diurnal, herbivorous folivore (a plant eater) and a tropical reptile with strict care requirements. The proper environment, temperature, nutrition, humidity, light, and psychological comfort must be provided to insure its survival. Iguanas grow incredibly fast. A hatchling of six inches grows to ten times that size in three short years, doubling its size in the first year. A fully mature male iguana will grow to a very impressive five or six feet in length, can weigh ten to fifteen pounds, and may live fifteen to twenty years.

A pet store will invariably suggest the purchase of a ten or twenty-gallon terrarium (only 20"x10"x12") which is woefully inadequate. A young iguana is all ready too large for a space that small. An iguana will outgrow a twenty-gallon terrarium in a few months. Remember, if you buy a large enough enclosure initially you won't have to replace it in a year. Another problem with such a small enclosure is the inability for the iguana to "thermoregulate".

Cold-blooded (or ectothermic), the young iguana requires external heat sources that range from 75 degrees to a 95 - 100 degree basking spot in a large enough environment that the iguana can "thermoregulate" its body temperature by moving from a cool area to the hotter basking area. An iguana, diurnal or active during the day, needs sunlight and heat during daylight hours, darkness AND warmth at night. Pet stores, unfortunately, sell the new iguana owner a "hot rock" to try and replace the more expensive overhead light panel that is required for proper care. Equipped with a place for a basking light bulb, a nighttime bulb that is black, blue or red, and a UV fluorescent tube which delivers UV rays, the light panel is an integral part of creating the proper environment for a rain forest creature. There are cheaper alternatives if you want to create a more custom environment. Clamp-on lights with an aluminum hood can be used OUTSIDE of the cage to provide the heat for a basking spot and for nighttime heat. You must always screen any hot light source to prevent burns (one of the most common injuries to a young iguana.) A fluorescent fixture can be purchased from a hardware store and equipped with a UV tube (Vita-Lite or Zoo-Med make such a light) from the pet store. Often overlooked, an inexpensive timer is necessary to turn day lights on and off.

Proper nutrition is as crucial as a proper environment. Iguana iguana is a herbivore requiring a daily vegetarian diet consisting of dark leafy greens like mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion greens (not spinach or lettuce), grated vegetables, and fruit. NO iceberg lettuce and NO animal protein (like dog food, worms or insects) should be fed to a herbivorous lizard. With proper nutrition, exposure to sunlight, a spacious environment, and a gradient heat range (no hot rocks!), your green iguana will thrive.

The Green Iguana is a wild creature of the humid rainforest, adapted for climbing and basking in the tropical sun. To raise a healthy, happy pet, you must recreate a rain forest habitat. Plan to spend at least ten times the purchase price of the iguana to set it up properly and humanely. Before purchasing a reptile, buy a book (James Hatfield's The Ultimate Iguana Manual, for instance) and become familiar with that reptile's specific needs. Subscribe to Iguana Iguana Newsletter to get interesting articles and unique answers to all your environmental and nutritional questions. Read this web site thoroughly for the answers to your questions. Be proactive in your quest to be a responsible reptile owner.

If you are the kind of pet owner who leaves the dog in the yard most of the time, who doesn't like the daily feeding regimen, likes the freedom to pack up the family for a few days and doesn't have anyone to care for the pets at home, an iguana is not for you. If you, on the other hand, are committed to proper care for your pets, like the daily interaction, have the time and the room to build both an indoor and an outdoor environment for this sun-loving reptile, then go ahead. You will find the iguana to be an inquisitive, friendly, and unusual pet who will be part of your life for many, many years.
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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:48 am

Great post this RRD, we take our iggy on talks to show why iguanas are a BAD choice as a pet.

We tell them all if u want a pet with razor sharp teeth like a great white shark, a tail that hits like a baseball bat, claws like freddy krueger, and an attitude worse than a hundred hormonal teenagers, then dont get an iggy!!
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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:51 am

I agree this is a brilliant post Very Happy

They're certainly too big for me !!!

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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:45 am

Thanks guys.

One of our rescued iggies had a p!ssy on one day and had been showing some aggression for a few days before. But this one day my hubby had to go into the iggy room for something and the iggy was bobbing away and his stance told my hubby to watch himself. But hubby thought he would be ok to pick what ever he went in for and leave. Oh no - Mr Iggy had other ideas. Just when hubby dropped his eye contact, Mr Iggy lept at him and bit his face.

The bite took out a huge chunk of flesh from his face and blood just poured out of it. We got hubby to the hospital but the couldn't stitch it as there wasn't much to stitch it together with so they glued it. Hubby had also have a jab for samonella. the scar is that bad, when hubby shaves the wound opens up again, this happened months ago now and yet it opens as if it was yesturday.

After that day Mr Iggy hadn't shown any more aggression and has since been rehomed. The new owners was informed of this incident also.

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Last edited by Reptile Rescue Den on Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:50 am

Iguana bites off owner's ring finger
UMC doctors reattach the finger of a pet owner, who urges others to get rid of their pet lizards.
By Jane Ann Morrison
Review-Journal
From her hospital bed, Doris Kramer offered this advice Monday to iguana owners: "Get rid of them."
Kramer's pet amputated her finger Sunday with a sudden snap of his jaws after his daily bath. Fortunately, a team at the University Medical Center's trauma unit was able to reattach the finger.
"I had no idea he could bite like this," the Las Vegas woman said as her left hand was held upright in a sling and the feeling began returning to her blood-encrusted finger.
Kramer, 47, bought Pepper three years ago when he was 12 inches long and gave him a bath every day as he grew to 5 feet in length; iguanas can grow to up to 6 feet in length. After the bath, she would fill the tub a second time for Pepper's enjoyment.
On Sunday, for no apparent reason, after his daily ablution, Pepper reached up and snapped her left ring finger off.
"I didn't realize he had bitten me, I didn't feel anything," said Kramer, a state employee at Desert Regional Center who works with developmentally disabled people.
Her medical background helped in the crisis.
She grabbed her hand and told her grown step-daughter, Barbara Smith, to retrieve the finger from the bath and put it on ice. Paramedics took them to the University Medical Center's trauma unit and a team headed by Dr. William Zamboni reattached the finger during four hours of surgery.
A day later, Kramer was alert enough to advise parents to beware of iguanas "and be aware of what can happen in a split second."
Pepper was taken into custody by Clark County Animal Control Unit, and injured one of the animal control officer's hands by lashing his tail.
Kramer plans to have Pepper destroyed. "I can't trust him now," she said.
Zamboni, chief of the plastic surgery division at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, wants to write about the incident for a medical journal. "I've never heard of an iguana amputation," he said.
The cut was clean, almost like a knife cut, he said, which made reattachment easier. The microsurgery attached the arteries, nerves and bone.
The trauma center has offered reattachment procedures for amputated limbs for the past 18 months and in that time, has reattached 30 limbs, most from construction accidents, Zamboni said.
"Everything was perfect in this case, there was a patient who knew to put it on ice and to get to the trauma center," Zamboni said. Less than three hours after the incident, surgery was under way.
Icing the limb prolongs the time for a successful reattachment, he said, although reattachments can be successful within four to six hours if the limb is not on ice and up to 24 hours if it is iced.
Zamboni's practical advice: "Don't put the limb directly on ice, wrap the part in a moist gauze and put it in a sealed plastic bag and put the bag on ice, then get to the UMC trauma unit."
Iguanas are cheap and popular pets, available at pet stores for around $20.
"Most of them seem to be good pets, but because they will get up to several feet in length, they can turn vicious, particularly the males and they do occasionally bite," said Alex Heindl, curator of herpetology at the Barrick Museum of Natural History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Pet owners who choose iguanas have to be willing to put up with the possibility of damage and bites, he said. "They're climbers and they can get into shelves or Mom's china cabinet and they can wreak havoc. One of the means iguanas have to protect themselves is to slap their tails, and that can be painful."
No one knows why Pepper snapped or whether it had something to do with his mating drive.
"An animal may be in a bad mood, it may not be feeling particularly well," Heindl said.
The up side of iguanas is that the vegetarians are "emerald green in color, have a very interesting face ... they're interesting-looking animals if you like lizards."
Heindl's practical advice: "Be extremely aware if the animal lives long enough. It is likely to become large. It's going to need more and more space. And once the size difference between you and it lessens, he'll be less intimidated by you, more willing to stand up, and occasionally bite back."

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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:58 am

More iguana bites to make your mind up if these beautiful animals are indeed for you!

From our very own experienced forum member Caiman Hunter's post.

Ramdom iguana bites

Hope you enjoy!

THINK ON!

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"We are not rescuers for medals and glory, we are rescuers to help the animals that are true to our hearts".



Read our Rehoming Policy.


Last edited by on Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:41 am

Reptile Rescue Den wrote:
More iguana bites to make your mind up these beautiful animals are indeed for you!

From our very own experienced forum member Caiman Hunter's post.

Wow...that must've hurt!
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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:44 pm

Here, Here!
1 of the rep shops i use wont even stock them, cus he was so fed up with refusing to sell them to people, but will get you 1 in if you should desire to get 1 properly.

I keep hearing the stats that more iggys are destroyed per year than dogs or cats. Does anyone know anything on this?
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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:26 pm

I haven't looked into the stats on this but I wouldn't be surprised. Luckily we have always managed to find experienced homes for any that have come in to the rescue here, but I often do wonder about all the other iggies that need rehoming and what their fate does hold.
Currently we have two iggies that live here 'til the end of their days and these two we have had no bother with but they are getting on a bit now. However we are always on our guard just in case.


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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:12 pm

I saw a picture were a Green Iguana caught a young lady on the bridge of her nose. Bad scare.

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PostSubject: Re: So you want a new iguana???   Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:57 pm

Shaun I'm sure if we all searched for similar pics there will me lots.
A local garden centre near us has a large Iguana on display for many years and when my hubby told the hospital just how it happened they did ask if it was the same Iguana at the garden centre as they had many incidents involving the said Iguana. They was rather shocked when hubby told them that it lived was here at the rescue and how it happened.

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