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You want an iguana?

An iguana is not exactly a pet you can train to bring you your slippers. But it is a fairly easy pet to take care of as long as you have all the necessary gear that goes into housing one.

Iguanas can live as long as 20 years and grow quite big in that length of time. It won't be easy for you to sell or put your iguana up for adoption, so your commitment to caring for an iguana has to be firm.

Desert iguanas, spiny-tailed iguanas and green iguanas are some of the different types around, but the green iguana is the one most often kept as a pet. The others are left to exist in the wild.

Tierra Griffiths, spokeswoman for the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, says this lizard is the most expensive reptile to care for with a total annual cost of $238, but of all the pets you could choose, a reptile is pretty economical.


The Green Iguana Society suggests that a pet store is not the ideal place to get an iguana. Often they are not healthy or well bred. Its Web site,, offers information for buying and adopting an iguana.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, iguanas seldom need to see a veterinarian unless something goes terribly wrong. In the event there is an emergency, a checkup with a herpetologist will be necessary, and based on the nature of the ailment, very expensive. Iguanas eat easy-to-find vegetables and should be fed about three times a week. It's best to clean them at least once a week, according to the Green Iguana Society, to prevent the spread of salmonella.

You will need to have a very large terrarium to house your reptile. It must be equipped with a heat source, water bowl and hide rock to survive. But, iguanas also need to be allowed to roam outside of their cages.

UVB lighting should be provided to aid in the digestive process of the lizard and keep its body temperature normal. A heat rock shouldn't be its only source of heat, because your pet might get burns from resting too long on it.

A hide rock provides a private space for your pet that allows it to operate the way it would in the wild. It'll be able to retreat from your constant scrutiny and that makes it feel secure.

Iguanas are not a pet for children. By nature they will bond with one person and might be hostile to others. During mating seasons, they will become aggressive, bite, lash or grab.

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