The iguana family is considered the largest among the lizard families. Though the most common are green iguanas, there are also those with different colors including the red iguanas. One of the most popular red iguanas is the red-side skink. These are found in the forest habitat of Southern and Eastern Africa.
Caring for the Red Iguana
A red Iguana can stay in a 30 gallon aquarium. They may vary in size and styles made of glass, metal or wood. The basic requirement for keeping their cage is cleanliness. Keep it free from dirt, soil and loose barks as they may be contaminated and the iguana may ingest them. They must be supplied with appropriate supply of food and water. The cage must be provided with branches and twigs, rocks but must be disinfected to prevent infections.
Iguanas must be properly groomed. Bathing is a pleasant activity. It can be done using lukewarm water. Care must be given as not to surprise or panic iguanas during bathing.
Iguanas must be handled carefully and frequently to tame them. They show fondness on the pet owners who handles them regularly. They should be touched and held gently 3 times a day for fifteen minutes each. They like being stroke on their back and neck. However, be mindful that Iguanas are animals, that they can be aggressive at times. It may take patience and consistency in taming them.
Iguanas are herbivores so they should be fed with varieties of vegetables and fruits. The majority of the food intake must be more on the leafy vegetables. Limitation must be on protein rich foods. They should be fed everyday.
Water is very essential so it must be readily available. Normally they get water content only through the plants they consume. They need water regularly to prevent being dehydrated as they expose themselves to the required body heat.
If proper care and diet is not given to Iguanas, they may contract disease. Some of the ailments that iguanas may contract are:
1. Back leg and tail paralysis – This is due to vitamin B1 deficiency. This needs Veterinarian attention who will administer injection of essential vitamin and minerals.
2. Nose Abrasions – Attempts to get out of their cage may cause abrasions to their nose and face. Usually they rub their noses on the corners of their aquarium. The abrasions may be caused by broken glass, wires, loose metals, pointed objects. This may be avoided regular inspection of their cage and removing any potential harm to the iguana.
3. Heat Injuries – These are usually acquired due to contact with heating apparatus provided for the iguanas for their cage. Typical causes are hot light bulbs, hot rocks. Care and attention must be observed in installing heat supply for the cage.
4. Bacterial Infection – This can set in generally if the cage is unkempt, damp and dirty. Gangrene may set in with their toes and tails where the bacteria usually attack.
5. Parasites – As a result also of unsanitized surrounding and unsanitary food preparation. Parasites may settle in the internal organs of the iguana like the gastrointestinal tract. This case may cause death if left untreated in the early stage.
6. Organ failure – Organ failure may set in due to age. But that comes after a decade or more. This can occur also due to bacterial infection. Symptoms will be weight loss, loss of appetite, inactivity and bloating.
7. Egg Binding – This is typical to female iguanas when they fail to let their eggs come out of their reproductive tracts.