The Green Iguanas have been one of the most popular reptile pets on the market because of their small size.
These animals originated from captive farming specifically in El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, and Honduras. If taken care of properly, they can last up to 20 years.
On the average, an Iguana can grow up to 6 feet in length and weigh somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds depending on its gender. Most healthy iguanas are very observant in nature, confident, and curious.
After the 5 to 10-year period, they will already be able to bond similar to that of other animals but they require constant supervision. They also have the tendency to have separation anxiety, so that is something you will have to consider before you decide to own one.
Iguanas and Their One-Time Necessities
There are three ways that you can buy an iguana; through a breeder, a pet store or online. As a first timer, it would be recommended that you purchase one from a breeder because the prices can be generally cheaper.
Prices may also vary depending on the species of Iguana.
So, how much do iguanas cost? Most common prices range from $19.99 to $599 depending on the breed and gender. Backwaterreptiles.com has many selections to choose from. Green iguanas cost $19.99 depending on the gender and size starting from baby to adult.
Here are some other one-time expenses that you may want to prepare for:
- Shelter/Cage Costs – For beginners who plan on buying baby iguanas, a 20-gallon long aquarium is okay for baby and young green iguanas up to 18 inches in length. They grow gradually so eventually, you will need to buy a bigger enclosure.
For adult iguanas, they cannot have a cage that small. They need a lot of space to move around. The goal here is to have a cage that is at least twice as long as the iguana. They also need a lot of space to climb. Since iguanas are tree-dwelling creatures, they need vertical space.
If you have more than one iguana, take note that you cannot house two males together because they tend to fight. Iguanas are not very sociable animals so it will not be a good idea to house two together in one enclosure.
Customized iguana cages start from $40 and exceeding $1000 depending on your taste. Also, take note that reptiles carry salmonella so their cages need to be kept clean at all times including the iguanas.
- Legalities and Licensing – Some iguanas cannot be kept as pets in some states like Hawaii and New York. Before buying one, make sure that you read up on the rules and regulations.
If you live in a state like Hawaii, it is very strict when it comes to owning exotic pets, and if you are caught housing one without the legal documentation and license, you can be fined $200,000 with a 3-year sentence in jail.
It’s safe to say that before you buy any exotic pet, you first need to register them and get a license.
- Shipping – Depending on the kind of iguana you want to own, shipping fees may vary on your location. If you are going to order your reptile online at com, shipping fees can cost $65 -$200.
If you are going to buy from a pet store, sometimes it’s better to buy a small cage to house your iguana in for the time being. Cages can cost $10 – $20 depending on the size and age of your reptile.
Pet stores will usually include a temporary cage for you to be able to bring home your new pet with ease. Others may even give some food to last a few days while recommending you permanent food sources, cages, medical supplies, and other needed items if these are not available from them.
Some iguanas for sale online even have a one week guarantee that ensures the pet is in the pink of health when it arrives to you. In cases where the pet dies upon arrival or gets sick within 7 days, they will replace the same at no extra cost. But others may charge you for the shipping of the replacement.
If you are planning to buy from a breeder, some of them will already include all the documentation and medical certificates for your pet.
Iguana’s Maintenance Costs
Diet cost – Iguanas are natural herbivores, so it won’t be too expensive to feed them provided that the number of minerals is precise.
The good thing about iguanas is aside from being herbivores, once you get them used to living in a cage, they can also eat a variety of other food.
If you don’t know what to feed them, dark leafy greens are the best like turnip greens, collard greens, dandelions, and small portions of kale. Iguanas can also eat fruits and vegetables on occasions like parsnip, tomatoes, mangos, berries, watermelon, bananas, apples, and squash.
It’s better to give them a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables, but the dark leafy greens need to be fed to them in greater amounts. Do not feed them anything that is high in oxalate like carrots, snap peas, okra, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, and broccoli.
Never feed them spinach or iceberg lettuce, as this could be deadly and can lead to a lot of health problems. Daily grocery shopping for their food can cost $1 to $50 depending on how much food you are buying.
It would be recommended to buy a wholesale because it will come out cheaper than buying it one by one. You can find many fresh leafy greens at Vmo.org if you do not want to go down to the grocery store to buy food.
Heat & Lighting – Iguanas need sunlight to grow and stay healthy. Since most iguanas cannot get natural sun light while captive as pets, they need a UBV source to help them grow and gain the natural vitamins they need to keep their bones healthy.
UVB gives them Vitamin D3 which allows them to digest calcium.
Take note that iguanas cannot live in places without heat. Iguanas that live in a cold environment will soon become sick. So, if you are going to house them as pets, they need to be in an atmosphere that is at least 75 to 95 degrees F (24 to 32C).
Most UVB light bulbs need to be replaced every 6 months to maintain the temperature and can cost $29 to $300 depending on the type of bulb that you are getting.
Toys and harness – Given that iguanas are not very sociable animals, they still like to have fun and play. Even reptiles as big as these guys want to get rid of their boredom every once in a while.
Iguanas are very solitary animals. When they are not doing anything, they like to play with various things or engage in small activities that will relieve them of their boredom like climbing, taking a dip, diving, leaping of trees, and jumping from one tree to another.
Interestingly enough, these creatures are very simple and will enjoy a used up old rag, old clothes, pool toys, gloves, or anything inflatable. Plus, they also like the color green.
Iguanas are not very particular with toys but they do like anything that is soft. For beginners, it would be recommended to buy a green iguana stuffed animal. It doesn’t have to be an iguana; it can be a dinosaur, a bear, or any kind of stuffed animal as long as it is color green.
Stuffed animals can cost $5 to $15 depending on the size. You can change their toys every once in a while, so that they do not get too accustomed to it and not get too bored.
Iguanas are also very trainable. Using a harness will give them that freedom to walk around outside and bask in the natural sunlight for a couple of minutes each day.
Take note however, that training your iguana will take a lot of effort and patience to get them used to their harness. The ideal harness to get is the generic kind. If you own a small iguana, the chest length should be less than 23 cm.
Some generic harnesses come with a 40cm adjustable cable and this is the best kind for beginners.
Medical Expenses – As mentioned above, healthy iguanas are naturally very curious animals. Here are some signs you may need to look out for when your reptile is not in good shape:
- Weight loss
- The color is dark and drab.
- Changes in bowel movement and/or smell since the last time it changed its diet.
- Having trouble passing bowel movement for more than 3 days.
- It has bumps and lumps on its body and not consistently the same in size, location, and number.
- Swollen abdomen.
- Signs of blood in the cage.
- Not responsive.
- Having trouble closing its mouth.
If you notice that your pet iguana is already starting to have all of these symptoms present, take them to the vet already. Depending on the severity of the problem, vet care can cost around $100 to $125 dollars.
Factors Affecting Iguana Prices
- Age –baby iguana cost cheaper as compared to adult iguanas.
- Breed – Other than the common breed of iguana which is green, there are also the red Iguana, Blue Axanthic Iguana, Rhinoceros Iguana, Desert Iguana, Spiny-tailed Iguana, Chuckwalla, and Club Tail Iguana which are all priced differently.
- Sources – When it comes buying iguanas in different locations and from different breeders, pet stores and breeders sell these pets at different prices depending on the cost maintenance of these pets while under their care.
- Location – The location also makes a huge difference in prices because most pet stores do not allow online shopping. Breeders will often set a different price if you are not from the same area. That’s apart from the cost of living and cost of doing business in a particular state which usually impact the prices the most.
Fun Facts and Additional Tips
Now that you already have a general idea of what you will be spending before you purchase an iguana, here are some other useful tips and fun facts to take note of:
- Iguanas can be potty trained – Iguanas are surprisingly very smart animals, and with enough patience and effort, you can train them to poop or pee in the toilet or anywhere designated.
- Green iguanas are not suitable for beginners – Although these reptiles may seem gentle, they may not be the best pets for a beginner. Iguanas require constant attention and care, and if you were to give this reptile to a 10-year-old child, they will not be able to take care of it properly.
- Iguanas only become comfortable after a few months – When caring for an iguana for the first time, do not force it to do anything first. Let it get accustomed to its new environment and surroundings. Most iguanas will take a few months to get used to their owners and their cage. But, once they have already grown an attachment with you, there will be no problem with trust. This is why they need constant nurturing and care.
- Iguanas are naturally confident in nature – Iguanas have their own individualities. It would be better to purchase a baby iguana if you are first timer because it will be easier for you to bond with it. Baby iguana prices may vary depending on the type of iguana. If you want it to be fully socialized with other animals and not just with you as the owner, this may take up to 5 to 10 years before they can fully adapt to their fellow animals and humans.