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Diet of the Green Iguana

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: April 24, 2018
Diet of the Green Iguana

The green iguana, also called common or American iguana, is truly green in color when it is young. At two years old, these lizards reach adulthood and slowly lose their pigmentation, turning a grayish green or brown.

In some aspects, a young iguana's diet is different to that of an adult iguana. For instance, while young iguanas have to eat on a daily basis, adult iguanas only need to eat every two or three days. To help you feed your pet lizard as well as possible, this AnimalWised article will talk about everything relating to the diet of the green iguana.

Young iguanas

The green or common iguana, known scientifically as Iguana iguana, is the most commonly kept as a pet among all species in the iguana family. Although there are many different types of iguana, some are in serious danger of extinction.

Green iguanas are born from eggs that have been incubated between 10 and 15 weeks, and they do not leave their families for at least a year. The beautiful green coloration fades as they become adults. The coloration of grown specimens is very varied, and some iguanas do keep the green shade. However, they can be found in red and even pink or black depending on their geographical origin.

Some types of common iguana are threatened or vulnerable in their habitats, or too sensitive to become pets for non-specialist people.

Diet of the Green Iguana - Young iguanas

A plant-based diet

Domestic iguanas should follow a strictly plant-based diet, and should never eat food originating from animals. If given the correct diet, green iguanas can live for up to 20 years. If they are fed crickets or worms, they rarely live for more than 8 years.

It is very difficult to find native plants that iguanas consume in their natural habitat if you don't live in Central America. Therefore, you should feed your domestic iguana their own specific food with appropriate alternatives for their favorite fruits and vegetables whenever available.

You should also use specific food supplements. It is essential to do some research and know the plant-based foods you should give to your iguana.

Diet of the Green Iguana - A plant-based diet

Plants suitable for domestic iguanas

Alfalfa and parsley are suitable plants as a basis for a domestic iguana's diet. Other good fruits and vegetables include:

  • Celery
  • Melon
  • Courgette
  • Pears
  • Figs
  • Coriander
  • Turnips

You should prepare a salad composed of one base food (alfalfa, for example) and add small amounts of other vegetables and varied fruit for a healthy and balanced diet.

Some complementary plant-based foods can also be:

  • Watermelon
  • Carrot
  • Watercress
  • Bean sprouts
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Apple
  • Lettuce
  • Endive
Diet of the Green Iguana - Plants suitable for domestic iguanas

Forbidden fruits and vegetables for iguanas

As with most animals, there are a number of forbidden plant-based foods that should not be given to domestic iguanas under any circumstances. These include:

  • Grape
  • Banana
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
Diet of the Green Iguana - Forbidden fruits and vegetables for iguanas

Food supplements for iguanas

Your pet green iguana will occasionally have to eat food supplements. Your vet should monitor and prescribe the usual diet and complementary foods or other suitable vitamins to keep your iguana in good health.

Shops specializing in reptiles will inform you about the many varieties of prepared specific food for iguanas.

Diet of the Green Iguana - Food supplements for iguanas

If you want to read similar articles to Diet of the Green Iguana, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.

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1 comment
Kris
The second picture is not an iguana, it's a Chinese water dragon.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Kris,

Thank you for pointing this out, we have changed the picture. We appreciate it!

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