Iguana Food And Feeding Issues
You would be very wrong if you assumed that lettuce was the only type of food that an iguana requires to remain healthy. In order to help their iguana remain healthy, good owners must take the time to understand the nutritional issues affecting these lizards. This article is meant to guide your through the problems of feeding your iguana a healthy diet.
1. Vegetables are enough. Many iguana guides recommend that insects and other protein sources such as commercial dog and cat foods be included in your pet iguana's diet. However, the body of the iguana is designed to get its protein from plants most effectively. A vegetarian diet is best for your iguana. However, foods such as mustard greens and collards that have high value nutritionally are preferred. There is little nutritional value in salad lettuce and it should be fed to your pet only on an occasional basis.
Why are vegetables the best diet for your iguana? Animal proteins are difficult for an iguana to process. Their kidneys are not up to that level of work. In fact, iguanas are at greater risk of developing problems with their kidneys when their diet includes a large amount of protein from animals. Absorption of animal proteins is difficult for this species. Gout often develops when animal proteins in its body are not absorbed and converted into uric acid.
Now that you understand the problems with animal proteins in the iguana diet, make sure you feed them healthy doses of vegetables.
2. Iguanas do not drink large quantities of water. Because of this, your iguana is at risk of being dehydrated, at least partially, if the enclosure does not have humidity levels that are optimal for the species. Your iguana will not thrive in a a low humidity environment.
Water should be included in the iguana diet in a variety of ways. You will need to take steps to ensure they get enough water because iguanas will not seek it out on their own. Ensure that your pet gets the water it needs by spraying its food with water which it will take in when it feeds.
It is possible to train your iguana to up their water intake. Inside of the water dish, place a treat. Repeat this action frequently and eventually your iguana will return to the water even when the treat is not present in the bowl.
3. Maintain a comfortable temperature for your cold blooded pet. In order to maintain the functionality of their bodies, iguanas rely on the heat from their living environment. If temperatures are not at the right levels, iguanas cannot digest any foods, no matter how healthy the foods are for them. To aid with digestions, make sure that their enclosure is set at a warm temp of 85 degrees F. They will bask in the heat while digesting their food.
4. Calcium and phosphorus must be included in their diet in a ratio of 2:1. Select the foods you choose to feed them based upon these requirements.
5. Iguanas need the right kind of light to properly digest their foods. In order to produce vitamin D3, they require both UVA and UVB rays. Calcium can only be absorbed when this vitamin is present in the proper amounts. The best source for these rays is the sun, although there are many types of artificial lighting that will do the job. Allow your pet to be out in the direct sunlight whenever possible to help it maintain its health.