What does an Iguana Eat

There are several species of the intriguing iguana, which are frequently kept as pets. Maybe you recently acquired a pet iguana and are unsure about what to feed it.

What does an iguana consume, and how does its diet differ from that of a wild iguana in captivity? How long can iguanas survive without food, and what are some typical causes for an iguana to cease eating? Go on reading! All of these queries will be addressed in this post.

What should iguanas eat?

Iguanas are folivores, or leaf eaters, which means they are herbivorous, or plant-eating animals. Iguanas eat mostly fruits and flowers and a few fruits and vines’ leaves in the wild.

Iguanas are hindgut fermenters, which means that they have particular microbes (specific bacteria and flagellate organisms) that normally reside in their gastrointestinal tracts to ferment the high-fiber foods they consume. This allows the nutrients in their food to be absorbed in their intestines and used by their bodies.

Can I feed my Iguana Insects?

Although they have been observed eating a few insect species in the wild and under specific situations, they have not developed to require this. Furthermore, you must not feed them.

They have a difficult time breaking down the meat and proteins, which puts a tremendous load on their liver and kidneys and can be deadly.

Are All Iguanas Herbivorous?

The bulk of the roughly 40 species of iguanas, both in the wild and in captivity, are herbivorous, as was already noted. To be more precise, the majority of them are folivorous. Although many iguanas also routinely eat fruit and other vegetables they come find in their native environments, folivores are a type of herbivore that predominantly feeds on leafy plant growth.

For instance, the green iguana, maybe the most well-known species of iguana, is a skilled forager who is always looking for leaves, vines, fruits, and even flowers to gnaw on. Their diets are largely the same in captivity, however pet green iguanas often eat a wider variety of foods because they are not restricted to a limited area’s particular flora.

Iguanas that like the water, like the marine iguana, are adept swimmers and seek for aquatic vegetation to eat on. Along with the leafy plants and flowers they find on land, they frequently eat various kinds of algae and seaweed.

What foods should Iguanas not eat?

Iguanas shouldn’t consume meat or insects. You ought to stick to fruits, leaves, and flowers from plants.

If Iguanas are fed an excessive amount of other foods, they may become unhealthy. Two common greens that are on the feeding list of the majority of reptile caretakers serve as an illustration. They are spinach and kale.

Due to its high goitrogen content, kale might impair thyroid function if consumed in excess. Due to its high oxalate concentration, spinach might prevent iguanas from absorbing calcium (as with all reptiles). This may result in problems that cause MBD (metabolic bone disease)

Both kale and spinach are extremely healthful when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Another vegetable that has to be consumed in moderation is lettuce. You may feed your iguana a variety of lettuce kinds. Variety is crucial here, however certain lettuces, like Iceberg, have minimal nutritional content while others, like Romaine, Lambs, and Gem, are superior and all offer wonderful hydration alternatives.

What types of plant material I can feed my iguana?

Less than 20% of the diet should consist of fruits, with the majority of the diet (80–90%) consisting of dark green leafy vegetables. Vegetables with shades of yellow, red, and orange can also be served. Avoid light green vegetables that are low in vitamins and nutrients, such as celery and iceberg or head lettuce, as they are primarily water and low in nutrition.

Collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, alfalfa hay, bok choy, kale, parsley, Swiss chard, romaine, kohlrabi, escarole, and dandelion are among the calcium-rich foods that are ideal for feeding iguanas.

An adult iguana’s diet should consist of 40 to 50 percent of these veggies, An adult iguana’s diet can also include an extra 30–40% vegetables, such as cactus, broccoli, squash, bell peppers, green beans, sprouts, sweet potato, parsnips, okra, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, peas, and maize.

Although spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard are excellent sources of calcium, they shouldn’t be the only foods consumed. These plants include oxalates, which can bind to other dietary calcium and trace mineral sources and inhibit their absorption in the gut. As a result, the lizard may be deficient in some nutrients.

Additionally, goitrogens (chemicals that can cause goiter, or hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland enlarges and malfunctions) are present in cabbage, kale, and mustard greens; as a result, these plants should only be served in limited amounts.

What Do I Feed My Green Iguana?

The Green Iguana (Iguana Iguana), commonly known as the American Iguana, is a huge arboreal reptile that is endemic to South America. When people think of a pet lizard, they typically picture the Green Iguana.

Iguana owners are numerous despite the fact that they are strangely not the most popular reptile in the pet sector. The only foods consumed by Green Iguanas in captivity are fruits and vegetables, making them herbivorous reptiles.

There is some disagreement regarding whether iguanas should be fed animal protein in captivity, despite the fact that they have been seen eating invertebrates in their native habitat. They don’t need it, and in the environment, it appears to be more of an opportunistic behavior for them.

Additionally, there are a number of commercially produced meals that have been made from fruits and vegetables that may be used to complement fresh foods or to create a sustainable diet for them.

You must provide them the proper ratio of the many nutrients they need to keep healthy since some fruits and vegetables in captivity are better than others and more healthful than others.

Iguanas kept in captivity are fed a variety of foods that each contain different levels of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including fruit, flowers, leafy greens, turnip greens, and plant shoots. What should your pet iguana be fed, then?

What Do Iguanas Eat in The Wild?

Iguanas in the wild are opportunistic herbivores, therefore the food they consume mostly depends on the species they are and the plants that exist in the area. Only very rarely will they consume eggs or insects.

Since green iguanas spend the most of their life on trees since they are arboreal, they often consume the leaves, seeds, and fruit that the trees produce.

While marine iguanas spend much of their time in water and often eat algae and any plants it finds growing near the coast, desert iguanas will consume the fruit and buds of any plants they can locate in the scorching climate.

Iguanas from other colonies will follow suit and consume any nearby plant life. The iguana frequently has a favorite food, though, which is not unusual. For instance, in Panama, Green Iguanas like eating Common Wild Plums, whereas Desert Iguanas favor eating the yellow blossoms of Creosote Bushes.

What Do Green Iguanas Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, green iguanas eat mostly plants, such as leaves, fruits, and flowers, making them essentially herbivores.

The plants they eat depend on what is readily available in their particular area and habitat because they are widespread across the Americas.

The wild plum, for instance, is one of the green iguana’s favorite snacks in Panama. Eggs, insects that live on leaves, and snails have occasionally been found to be eaten by green iguanas in the wild.

What Are Wild Omnivorous Iguanas’ Favorite Foods?

Perhaps even less picky about what they eat than herbivorous species are omnivorous iguana species! The majority of them, in fact, are quite opportunistic and will readily consume any plant or animal that is tiny enough to fit in their jaws without resistance.

They have a wide array of food options in the environment because the majority of omnivorous iguanas are quite large reptiles. Their preferred foods include:

insects that are little to medium-sized, such as beetles, roaches, and caterpillars
Arachnids that live on land and in water, such as spiders, crabs, and even scorpions
Eggs from tiny birds, lizards, and turtles.
Various lizards, including tiny geckos
Turtles, lizards, and bird hatchlings
Fish eggs and miniature fish
The majority of the meals that herbivorous iguanas like are also enjoyed by omnivorous iguanas in addition to these meat-based diets. These meals consist of numerous fruits, flowers, and leafy plants.

How Long Can An Iguana Go Without Eating?

As you can see in the section above, iguanas occasionally go through periods of fasting. They could consume very little food or nothing at all during these times.

Therefore, you might be wondering how long an iguana can go without eating.

The majority of other species can survive for comparable lengths of time without food, including the green iguana, which is the most prevalent species in the United States.

Towards the conclusion of a pregnancy, female iguanas often go without food for 4 weeks or more, according to Veterinary Practice News. After copulation, both male and female iguanas may continue for up to 65 days without eating (intercourse).

Be aware that these are typical habits for iguanas that live in the wild. You should take your pet iguana to the doctor right away if it suddenly stops eating and you don’t know why.

How Often Do I Feed My Green Iguana?

Iguanas should all be fed every day, regardless of age, unlike most other reptiles that have various feeding regimens based on age.

While older iguanas do not need to be fed as frequently and can go without sometimes, young iguanas and babies need to be fed every day. Foods should be prepared with the required supplements before being diced into portions suitable for Iguanas of that size.

What Are Wild Herbivorous Iguanas’ Favorite Foods?

The majority of herbivorous iguanas, including green, blue, and rock iguanas, aren’t fussy about the plants they consume.

They have a large variety of dietary options because the majority of iguana species are found in tropical and subtropical areas, where plant life is abundant. However, a few of their preferred meals that they actively look for in the wild are as follows:

flowers like roses, orchids, and hibiscus, leafy vines like the balloon vine and princess vine, Bougainvillea and other flowering vines

Why Is My Iguana Not Eating?

If you keep an iguana (or other lizard) as a pet, you might notice that it goes for stretches without eating. Why is this happening, and should you be worried?

Let’s start by discussing some of the primary causes for an iguana’s possible lack of appetite:

Iguanas are often quite sensitive to the cold because, like other lizards, they have a cold-blooded system. They will cease feeding until the weather warms up if their habitat is too chilly since it will hinder their capacity to digest food.

Stressful surroundings: Iguanas can experience stress just like people do. Anything novel, unusual, or unexpected might make them more stressed out and reduce their appetite.

Iguanas, especially females, tend to consume less during the mating season. Iguana females may completely cease eating a month or two before giving birth.

Pickiness: Some iguanas just have a selective appetite. They could stop eating until you give them something more appetizing if their meal isn’t tasty or isn’t fresh enough.

Iguanas are susceptible to a number of illnesses and parasites, many of which might make them less hungry. If you are unable to determine why your iguana has stopped eating, it may be unwell, in which case you need to contact your veterinarian right away.

Does My Iguana Need Water?

Yes. Your iguana will want continual access to clean, fresh water for bathing and drinking as well as to remain cool. A large bowl of water that won’t spill and regular spritzing with a water bottle are necessary since iguanas may absorb water through their skin.

Taking long-term care of your Iguana

If you decide to purchase an iguana as a pet, you will be acquiring a stunning and perceptive lizard. A healthy, well-cared-for iguana may live up to 20 years or longer, but doing so takes time, effort, and expertise.

For them to survive and thrive in captivity, they also require room, the proper setup conditions, and a healthy feed.

Maintaining an iguana requires a lifetime commitment, and dealing with ailments and health problems along the road is inevitable. There will undoubtedly be some unpleasant times mixed in with the hopefully many happy ones.

Iguanas are definitely not “beginning” reptiles in my opinion. I would consider having some knowledge of reptile behavior to be essential for such a species, especially for one that may frequently be aggressively territorial.

It’s crucial to understand a reptile’s body language, especially that of iguanas.

You should also take your iguana’s living conditions into account. The Green Iguana may reach a length of 6 feet when fully grown, thus they need a large dwelling place.

You will require a setup that is at least 6 feet by 6 feet by 2 feet. Despite what some pet stores or breeders may claim. With this enormous tropical species, useful surface area is everything, and more is always better.

Additionally, owners must make sure their iguanas receive the necessary UVB (ultraviolet light) and temperature to stay healthy.

A reptile is not for you if you can’t supply the finest of what is required. Cutting costs when it comes to an iguana’s health is inappropriate; you must give them the highest quality food and housing when you own one.

Of course, with attention, engagement, and the proper food, you’ll gain your reptile’s trust and have a long-lasting friend.

Can an Iguana Eat Animal Protein?

Since your iguana is strictly a herbivore, you should keep the percentage of animal protein in its diet to around 5%. Although it could occasionally appreciate a few crickets, mealworms, or even pinky mice, the majority of dog and cat meals will be too heavy in protein and might cause stomach issues. However, the availability of this meal should be restricted.

Goitrogenic Foods and Oxalic Foods

Any animal, like the Green Iguana, that needs a lot of calcium in its diet should avoid oxalates since they bind calcium in the body. In order to maintain a sound bone structure, calcium is required. Absent it,

Iguanas can develop diseases including metabolic bone disease and other illnesses linked to a deficiency in calcium absorption. Foods high in phosphorous should also be avoided since they have a similar impact on the body as oxalates in that they prevent calcium absorption and may result in the same problems.

Additionally, goitrogenic items should be kept to a minimum in the iguana’s diet since they bind iodine and prevent the body from absorbing it. Iodine is necessary because the thyroid glands, which control the body’s important organs, utilize it. A thyroid gland that isn’t working properly will result in serious health issues.


Although some iguanas are omnivores, most are herbivores. Green leaves make up the majority of their diet, although they also consume flowers, fruits, vegetables, insects, and other meat-based meals on occasion.

When they are mating or getting ready to lay eggs, as well as when they are cold or scared, iguanas may go for extended periods of time without eating. If your iguana suddenly stops eating and you are unable to determine why, it may be ill and in need of veterinary care.