Safe plants for iguanas

Twelve Tips to Rid Your Yard of Pesky Iguanas

Phil AutelitanoFollow Nov 20, 2016 · 4 min read Photo courtesy of Iguana Gone — www.iguanagone.com

By Phil Autelitano

It’s an epidemic! Iguanas have invaded South Florida and there’s no end in sight. They’re everywhere — taking over backyards, crapping in swimming pools, eating our flowers and fruits, destroying landscaping, seawalls and foundations, stinking up the place and spreading harmful bacteria in the process.

Your first thought might be to kill them. Iguanas aren’t endangered or “protected” under Florida law, except under anti-cruelty laws, so whatever you do, it has to be quick and painless. You can’t shoot them, because in most Florida cities and towns, it’s illegal to discharge a firearm with their limits. Whatever you do, you’re then left with having to remove the dead beasts from your backyard and dispose of them properly. (You can’t just toss them in a canal, that’s illegal, too.)

You could build walls, or use bird spikes (which really have no effect on iguanas’ armor plated skin), maybe some poison, though I haven’t found one that works, and even if it did, you’re still left with dead iguanas in your yard, or dead iguanas somewhere nearby stinking up your yard.

Bottom line, it’s a problem we here in South Florida just can’t seem to get rid of, and until someone, somewhere, figures out at way to eradicate Florida of iguanas, the only “solution” to the problem is CONTROL.

Here are ten ways to control the pesky iguana problem plaguing your backyard:

  1. Do not leave food out, unattended. A bowl of fruit on the patio table unless you’re sitting there eating it, is not a good idea. Leftovers from a party should not be allowed to sit. Clean up your dinner mess right away. Iguanas are mainly herbivores but that doesn’t mean they won’t smell something good and want to eat it. They will TRY anything.
  2. Rid your lawn of dropped fruits. Iguanas love fruit. Even more so, they love low-hanging fruit, or fruit that’s easy to get to. If you have fruit trees or avocado trees, etc., take the time to pick up you yard and dispose of any dropped fruit. (If it’s good, keep it for yourself. If not, discard into a closed container/garbage can).
  3. Keep a lid on it. Iguanas will dig into your garbage looking for food. Keep a lid on your garbage can. Some iguanas are smart enough to lift that lid and slide in. So either put your garbage cans in a place they can’t get to, or put a cinder block on your can lid.
  4. Do not leave pet food out. Iguanas have been known to eat pet food. If you’re putting a bowl of dog food or a plate of cat food out for your pets, you’re inviting iguanas into your yard. Instead, feed your pets inside.
  5. Fill iguana holes. Iguanas like to dig. Wherever you see a hole, fill it. Best during the day when they’re out roaming. Don’t just fill it with dirt though. Stuff rocks into the hole first, then fill it with dirt and top it with sod. The iguana may return to dig again, but he won’t dig through large rocks. Any iguanas in the hole, won’t either. They’ll either dig another route out, or die in the hole. Eggs are less likely to hatch, too. (Sorry.)
  6. Do NOT feed the iguanas. It probably goes without saying, but the more you feed them, the more they will return. Don’t be friendly with them.
  7. Protect trees to prevent climbing. You can wrap trees with sheet metal guards, 18–36″ inches from the base to prevent climbing. The slippery metal makes trees difficult to climb.
  8. Wire netting around plants. You can use wire netting, cages or screens to prevent iguanas from entering plants and shrubs. As the plants and shrubs grow, the netting becomes less obvious but is still effective.
  9. Spray then with water. When you see an iguana in the yard, spray them with the hose. They also hate loud noises. Constant harassment can keep them from returning.
  10. Keep your yard clean. Excessive overgrowth or thickets are great places for iguanas to hide. Those areas should be cleaned out. Also, stacks of lumber or building materials, an overturned canoe, any other places under which iguanas can hide should be removed.
  11. Mulch piles. Consider dumping a pile of mulch into an out of the way corner of your yard. Iguanas like to dig to nest, but prefer to dig where it’s softest and easiest. Rather than digging at the foundation of your home, this may encourage them to dig in the mulch. When you notice a hole, check for eggs. Discard any eggs in a sealed plastic bag.
  12. Use an iguana repellent. There aren’t very many products out there for alleviating the nuisance iguana problem, and most of them don’t work anyway. The only product proven to work is IGUANA GONE All-Natural Iguana Repellent (@IguanaGone) It’s safe and easy to apply, no harmful chemicals or pesticides, it doesn’t KILL iguanas (so there are no stinky dead iguanas to worry about), it just keeps them away. You can buy IGUANA GONE at www.iguanagone.com.

Hopefully these tips help keep your iguana problems to a minimum.

— P.

Phil Autelitano is founder/CEO of Mediarazzi, a leading developer and producer of TV channels and content for Roku and connected TV platforms. www.mediarazzi.com

@PhilAutelitano

IGUANA INVASION ^

Iguana lizards are considered to be an “invasive” animal here in the United States. Indigenous to Central and South America, Iguana are sold and kept as pets here in the states. This has indirectly led to their existence in the wild. Currently, they can be found in Florida, Louisiana, Texas a few other southern states with climates that can support their lifestyle.

Related articles: BULLFROGS CUBAN TREEFROGS CURLY TAILS FROGS SALAMANDERS SNAKES TOADS TREEFROGS

Once in the wild, it was just a matter of time before released iguana began to conflict with people. In South America, they can grow to 4-5 feet in length, but here in the US, it’s uncommon to find them larger than 3 feet. But for most people, seeing the iguana in the yard is unsettling!

IGUANA IN THE YARD

An iguana can exist in arid or wet climates. During a drought, they’ll routinely settle close to water. This leads them to pools, streams, ponds and any body of water where food will be active for them to harvest. Iguana eats a broad range of plants so any yard with healthy green growing shrubs, flowers or bushes can become their home.

HOW TO KEEP IGUANAS AWAY

The good news is chasing iguanas away is pretty easy. Just applying iguana repellent where they are entering the yard and spraying any plant you want to protect will get them top relocate immediately.

IGUANA REPELLENT

First, use repellent granules where they are known to enter your property. The best iguana repellent is made from an all natural, low impact blend of food grade actives. It comes in both granules and spray. Iguana will detect its presence and stay away from where it’s applied.

PEST RID GRANULES should be set out along trails, property borders, around foundations, alongside walkways, patios, decks and other areas where iguana are seen foraging, roosting or nesting.

The granules are not strong enough by themselves to chase them away, but they’re designed to both absorb and keep the liquid Pest Rid active longer. Typically they’ll extend the treatment a good 50-100%, so you don’t have to spray but once every 30-45 days. Coverage is 250 sq/ft per pound, so the 2 LB jar will treat up to 500 sq/ft.

If you get the gallon size, you’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER like the one above to apply it. Alternatively you can get a TRIGGER SPRAYER which has a 3 foot long hose that fits into the jug making it easy to apply right out of its container.

One of the most important keys to having success using these devices is to get them inserted properly in the ground. To do this you’ll need a smooth, well drilled hole for them so they fit snug in the ground. The hole must be the proper depth and width. Our SOIL AUGER is perfectly designed for this task.

Simply attach it to your favorite hand drill and take it to the yard for the task at hand. Holes can be drilled in 10-20 seconds and will be just right. Plan on making the holes about 9 inches deep as units need to be installed so 1-2″ of the stake is above ground. This ensures the head unit stays off the ground and stay clear of damaging moisture.

Here are the options for the sound repellers.

SET OUT IGUANA TRAPS

Lastly, using baited IGUANA GLUE TRAPS can help reduce numbers on patios or decks or catch animals living in crawl spaces or attics. We have two types. One is small and for iguana 8″ or less. For anything over 8″, you’ll need the large model.

These traps are very effective at catching and holding common nuisance iguana. They include a type of bait “pellet” which is essentially insects and their pheromones ground up. This bait is then dropped onto the glue trap prior to setting them out. Undetectable by people but quickly found by foraging iguana, these boards can be used to trap out local populations that have made their way inside the home or to outside protected areas.

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How To Keep Iguanas Out Of Garden

To those who live in cooler places, iguana control may seem like a trivial problem. But, if you live in a place where iguanas roam freely, the question of how to get rid of iguanas is a big one. These pesky reptiles can damage flowering plants and vegetables if left unchecked. Let’s look at how to keep iguanas out of garden and away from your pretty plants.

Iguana Damage

Iguanas are plant eating lizards and will eat a great many kinds of plants. In particular, they like flowering shrubs, like hibiscus, and berry fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, strawberries and figs.

They also dig burrows to live in. These burrows can damage lawns and walkways in the garden.

Iguanas also may leave feces that is not only smelly and unsightly, but a health hazard as well – iguanas carry salmonella.

How to Keep Iguanas Out of Garden

Most iguanas that come into the garden are domesticated pets that either escaped or were released by lazy owners

who no longer wanted to care for them. This does not mean that you can simply go up and pick up the iguana or touch it. Many of these former pets have gone feral and can be dangerous if they feel threatened.

The best way for eliminating iguanas is to keep them out of the garden in the first place. This form of iguana control means changing the environment some so it is not iguana friendly. Some ideas are:

  • Do not leave food scraps such as fresh fruits and vegetable out in the garden or open compost bins, as this can be an additional food source for iguanas.
  • Get rid of areas where iguanas can hide such as brushy, low growth plants and shrubs and piles of branches or stone.
  • Cover or get rid of flat warm surfaces, such as sidewalks and rocks, where iguanas can sun themselves.
  • Fill in burrows as you find them. Do not leave a burrow open. Try to fill burrows during the day when the iguanas will not be in them.

Making your garden more friendly to predators to help keep iguanas out of the garden is helpful. Owls, hawks and crows will all eat young iguanas. Pet dogs will bark at and sometimes chase iguanas, which will eventually drive the iguana out of the garden. Be aware though that large iguanas can hurt your pet, so use caution when deciding if your dog can be out with a wild iguana.

Low fences around gardens can be enough to keep iguanas out. On trees and shrubs, a slick metal collar of 6 to 12 inches can be placed around the trunk of the plant to keep iguanas from climbing the plant and eating the flowers.

You can try trapping or snaring iguanas. The best place to put traps or snares is at the end of recently erected fences. The iguana will walk along the fence and right into the traps as it looks for a way around the new fence.

Proper diet for your green iguana is crucial, as for any other lizard. Learning how and what to feed your lizard will help you take the best care of your iguana. This post will cover the basics and introduce you to the foods that you can and must not give your iguana.

It will cover best foods for iguanas, give facts about goitrogenic and high oxalate foods, as well as provide you with lots of other facts. At the end you can also find a table with toxic and non-toxic foods for your iguana pet. Make sure to read other articles about iguana diet here (part 2 and part 3).

What should I feed my pet iguana?

As we have mentioned in the facts article, iguanas are herbivores and enjoy eating veggies, fruits, green salads and plants.

Even though iguanas can be omnivores in the wild and can eat small animals to survive, you shouldn’t be giving your iguana any live insects or animals. You should aim feeding your iguana mostly with vegetables and green leafy veggies.

Green vegetables and some fruits will provide your iguana with proper nutrition and vitamins, as well as extra source of water.

When giving your iguana any lettuce occasionally, make sure to feed it extra food, as lettuce is mostly made of water. That doesn’t mean that lettuce should be left out completely – it will provide your iguana with water, fiber and some vitamins for good digestion.

The best foods to feed your iguana are:

  • Fruits, such as plums (you should remove the stone), bananas, figs, melons, watermelons, apples, peaches, pears, pineapples, mangos, papayas and even guava. Iguana will also enjoy berries such blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and strawberries. Chop these fruits into small pieces and remove any small stones to prevent impaction or choking. Your iguana will appreciate delicious fruity deserts on their own or in their green salads! You can get your fruits from supermarkets or other shops.
  • Vegetables, such as chopped carrots, sweet peppers, zucchini (courgettes), pumpkins, sweet potatoes, different beans (lima, green, butter, snaps), corn, green and sugar peas, squash and turnip greens. If you cannot find fresh vegetables for your iguana in winter, you can get frozen and some canned vegetables. Chop veggies and fruits into small pieces that iguana can swallow.
  • Green leaf vegetables, such as dandelion, kale, mustard, radish, collards, hibiscus leaves and romaine lettuce (sometimes). You can also buy mixed leaf salads for extra diversity.
  • Premade commercial foods – these are ready to eat and are usually fortified with extra vitamins and supplements. There are different types of foods available on the market made specifically for lizards. They include wet canned foods, to juvenile and adult snacks and bites. You can try these pellet foods for a change in a diet, as emergency food, or to supplement the main diet. Make sure the food is moist before you give to iguana, as they swallow foods and don’t chew them. These foods are usually dry and your iguana needs to take in water with its diet.
  • Don’t forget about water. Even though water content is high in vegetables and fruits, provide a bowl with cold water for your iguana every day. Your iguana might also bathe and poop in this water, so make sure to change it and clean the enclosure every other day.

Foods that you must avoid feeding your iguana:

There is a list of foods that you must not feed your iguana. You should be extra careful as some foods or flowers can kill your iguana. So, forbidden foods for your iguanas are:

  • Don’t feed your iguana any live insects, bugs, rodents, dog or cat food, meat or other foods high in protein. As iguanas are herbivores, they must stick to a vegetarian diet. Any protein in their diet will cause disorders with their kidneys and livers over time. Of course, few insects won’t kill your iguana, but you should still avoid foods that are high in protein.
  • Also, don’t feed your iguana any soybeans. They are high in protein and contain phytoestrogens and can interfere with growth and reproduction.
  • Never give your iguana plants or flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides. This is very common, and you should be careful. Wash any vegetables and greens before feeding your iguana. Take extra care with flowers, such as roses or hibiscus – wash and keep them outside for 2 weeks before giving to your iguana to eat or to climb on.
  • Avoid greens that have high oxalic acid in them, as they bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed by iguana. There are many vegetables that contain this acid, but some have more than others. While giving your iguana vegetables that have some oxalic acid won’t harm, ones high in acid should be avoided. Long-term consumption will lead to storage oxalates in kidneys in crystallized or mass forms, as well cause calcium deficiency. Vegetables high in oxalic acid are spinach, rhubarb, celery, beetroot, chard, fried potato chips, parsley and leeks.
  • Fruits high in oxalates include kiwi, figs and small berries. These can be given occasionally as a treat but try to limit the portions.
  • Avoid giving tofu, as it is high in both protein and oxalates.
  • Don’t give your iguana much broccoli, Brussel sprouts and kale. These foods can interfere with production of thyroid hormones. What is more, brussel sprouts from supermarkets also carry Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria, as farmers grow them in wet and warm conditions. Don’t give your iguana any raw sprouts and make sure to cook them thoroughly for your own or iguana’s consumption.
  • Don’t give your iguana any avocado as it is toxic for your pet.
  • You should avoid caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee, coke, sports drinks etc.
  • This may sound crazy, but I must mention it – never give your iguana any alcoholic drinks or sweets.
  • Never feed your iguana dairy products and eggs.

So, what are oxalates and oxalate acid and why do you need to avoid high oxalate foods?

Foods, that are high in oxalic acid, or oxalates, can cause renal failure in your iguana in a long-term. The problem is, the oxalates bind to calcium and other minerals in the food consumed by your iguana. Then, the acid doesn’t let this calcium be absorbed and used by iguana.

This can lead to calcium deficiency and kidney stones (and failure), as oxalates bind to calcium and other minerals and are not removed with urine.

You can give your iguana foods that are high in oxalates, but very rarely as a treat. If you have been giving your iguana lots of foods high in oxalates, eliminate them and provide your pet with extra calcium and other trace mineral supplements.

Foods high in oxalates include spinach, kiwi, figs, berries, wood sorrel, rhubarb and others listed above.

What are goitrogens and why do you need to avoid goitrogenic foods?

You should avoid giving your iguana goitrogenic foods as they attach the iodine from the food and interfere with the absorption. This can cause thyroid dysfunctions, such as goiter.

Foods that contain high levels of goitrogens are mustard, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Bok Choy, kale, rutabaga. Again, you can give your iguana some of these foods, but make sure to take care of iodine supplements. Don’t overdo it though.

Toxic and non-toxic plants for iguanas

Below I will provide you with a table of toxic and edible plants for your iguana. Be careful when giving plants to your iguana, wash them before consumption. Don’t give your iguana any plants that have been sprayed with insecticides and call your vet for any extra information.

Toxic plants and flowers for iguana Edible plants and flowers for iguana
Azalea Hibiscus, including leaves and flowers
Buttercup Roses –petals only
Yew of any type Pothos
Apple leaf croton Viburnum
Rhubarb leaves Nasturtium
Black locust Dandelion
Poppy Ficus leaves
Oleander Mint
Poison ivy, German ivy, Glacier ivy Rosemary
Mountain laurel Raspberry
Honeysuckle Mulberry
Equisetum Chamomile
Cacao tree Thyme flower and leaves
Wild cherry Garden sage
Jack-in-the-pulpit Thistle, including creeping, Canadian, Californian
Juniper Aloe
Toxic mushrooms Petunia
Red maple Sweet acacia
Rhododendrons Fig trees
Bracken fern Marigolds
Daffodils American bittersweet
Elderberry Bamboo
Yellow or other jasmine Chickweed
Air plants Fir- balsam, Douglas, subalpine, white
Amaryllis Kalanchoe
Felt plants Purple passion
Oak Pothos
Nettle, stinging Willow
Rattle bush Zebra plant
Iris Umbrella plant
Coriander Spider plant
Calla lily, Easter lily and other lilies Cotoneaster firethorn
Cowslip Hollyhock flowers and leaves
Daphne Huckleberry
Buckthorn Comfrey
Benweed Christmas cactus
Buckeye Crabapple
Cannabis Dogwood
Thorn apple Baby’s tears
Poinsettia American and European Beech
Nightshade, any type Magnolia
Marijuana Monkey plant
Lupine White clover
Larkspur Wax plant
Boxwood Wandering Jew
Chinese lantern Palms
Eggplant Geranium flowers and leaves
Panda plant Hen and chicks
Chives Umbrella plant
Christmas cherry Clover
Christmas rose Day lilies only
Mistletoe Lavender
Devil’s ivy Maples leaves
Dracaena palm Natal plum
Elderberry Corn plant
Ergot Velvet nettle
Eucalyptus White poplar
False hellebore and false henbane Mother of Pearl
Swiss cheese plant Radish
Coral plant Lady’s mantle
Hyacinth Ice plants
Foxglove Tall mallow
Greater Burdock Abelia
Wisteria Camellia
St James Wort Autumn olive
Starflower Gardenia
Spurge Laurel American bittersweet
Rape Alfalfa
Primrose
Ghostweed
Pokeroot and pokeweed
May Apple
Weed, including Jimson weed
Dumb cane
Castor bean, extremely dangerous

The list is much longer, and you should consult your vet for more information. Avoid any toxic plants as some can kill your iguana straight away.

Others will cause toxins or calcium to accumulate in the body, leading to renal failure in few years. Comment below if you have any questions or suggestions!

Read next part of iguana diet that will discuss the importance of supplements here.

Iguanas in the Landscape

Iguanas that were once escaped or released pets have become an established population in south and central Florida. Green, Mexican spiny-tailed, and black spiny-tailed iguanas have all adapted to and become landscapes pests in the subtropical environment.

Damage

Adult iguanas feed on foliage, flowers, and fruit and occasionally other animals such as insects, birds, and eggs. Their feeding can damage and destroy landscape plants and shrubs, flowers, and dooryard fruit (except citrus).

Iguanas will also congregate and bask in open areas, including sidewalks, docks, seawalls, and open mowed areas. Burrows around and under seawalls that cause the walls to collapse and problems with sight and smell of droppings are two examples of other issues iguanas’ presence causes.

Iguanas can give bites, scratch wounds, and slap with their tails to defend themselves if cornered.

Control and Management

Passive

  • Tolerance. Allow and share space with iguanas in the landscape. Learn to appreciate or even enjoy them, but do not feed any iguanas—it will only attract more and cause a larger problem for you and your neighbors.
  • Exclusion. Protect valued plants with screens or cages. You can also put sheet metal around trees, about 18 inches out from the base, to keep iguanas from climbing them.
  • Habitat Modification. Avoid planting species iguanas prefer for food (see below). Remove piles of timbers or rocks. Install electric fences on seawalls and docks.

Iguanas can also be controlled by natural predators that eat iguana eggs and young, such as birds-of-prey, raccoons, snakes, herons, and cats and dogs. Once they are adults, they have fewer enemies.

Freezes limit iguanas’ range expansion and will kill or slow them in range areas during winter weather. Cold-stunned iguanas are easy to collect and remove.

Iguana Plant Choices

Preferred

Bougainvillea, hibiscus/rosellia, Hong Kong orchid tree, impatiens, nasturtium, orchids, pink pentas, purple queen, roses; vegetable greens, squash/melons; most fruit and flowers, tender new growth.

Iguana resistant

Croton, milkweed, oleander, some pentas; citrus; toxic or tough/thick leafed plants.

Active

  • Harassment. Spray iguanas with a water hoses and startle with loud noises. Dangle CD-ROM discs in areas you want to deter iguanas. Move the CDs around so iguanas do not become used to the light reflections.
  • Egg Removal. Fill vacant burrows with concrete and sand during the day while the lizards are away. Build mulch or sand piles near sea walls to encourage nesting instead of burrow digging under the walls; open the nests and remove eggs.
  • Capture and Removal. Iguanas can be captured and removed from private property without special permits. Iguanas may be caught by hand, net, or traps. Only live traps and snares are legal in Florida.

It is illegal to release iguanas in Florida. Any captured iguanas must be kept in captivity or euthanized. We recommend hiring a nuisance wildlife professional due to the difficulty of performing humane euthanasia.

Iguanas are edible and the meat is considered a delicacy in their native range. Iguana meat may have value for ethnic markets that cater to Central and South American immigrants.

For more information on iguana proof landscaping and wildlife management resources, contact your local Extension agent.

Adapted and excerpted from:

W. Kern, Dealing with Iguanas in the South Florida Landscape (ENY-714), Entomology and Nematology Department (rev. 08/2009).

One of the pleasures of owning a reptile is creating an attractive vivarium for your pet to enjoy, frequently including live plants. Raising food for herbivorous reptiles is another interesting challenge. Whenever you are purchasing or growing plants for use around your reptiles there are a few very important things to keep in mind. Most plants you purchase have been treated with a variety of pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. The residues of these chemicals in or on the plants may be harmful to your pet even if the plants themselves are nontoxic. Take care to purchase plants only from a reputable nursery or organic farm that raises its own stock, and ask about chemical treatments used on the plants. Also pay attention to the soil the in which the plant is potted. Perlite, a white, Styrofoam-like pellet, is found in many potting soils, and can cause impactions in some reptiles if ingested in large quantities. Whenever feeding plants to your reptiles, always monitor their droppings, weight, appetite, and water consumption. Look for signs such as salivation, rubbing the mouth or face, or changes in breathing and contact your veterinarian if any unusual behaviors are noted.

Edible Plants for Herbivorous Reptiles

Common Name Scientific Name Edible Portion
Astilbe Astilbe spp.
Carnation (Pinks) Dianthus spp. petals
Dahlia Dahlia flowers
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale leaves, flowers

Ficus

Ficus benjamina leaves
Geranium Pelargenium spp. flowers, leaves
Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers, leaves
Johnny jump-ups Viola tricolor spp. flowers
Pansies Viola tricolor hortensis flowers

Common Houseplants Considered Safe for Reptile Vivaria

Ficus (Ficus benjamina) Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) – high in oxalic acid, may cause oral irritation if ingested in large quantities. Philodendron (Monstera spp.) – high in oxalic acid, may cause oral irritation if ingested in large quantities. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – sap may be a skin irritant The above lists are by no means complete. For further information on safe and toxic plants for reptiles, the reader is referred to the following website: http://www.anapsid.org/resources/edible.html

Providing complete veterinary needs in Lexington and surrounding areas…

If you have a pet iguana, you may find it a bit difficult to read his moods sometimes. Iguanas, after all, are not the most expressive animals. These scaled beauties tend to hide any signs of illness as long as they can. This is a defensive trick they learned in the wild. Even though your pet lizard may be completely safe in your Lexington home, the habits of a wild animal are deeply ingrained in him. If your iguana has an injured limb, for instance, he may try his very best to make the injury unnoticeable. To ensure your iguana stays healthy, you’ll want to keep a close eye on his behavior.

Here are a few things to watch out for with your iguana.

Appetite Loss

If your iguana is usually a healthy eater, and suddenly starts picking at or ignoring his food, this could be a sign that something is wrong. There are a few instances where it is normal for an iguana to refuse food, such as when the temperature is too cold for him, when he is about to shed, or if it is breeding season. If none of these apply, and your iguana is not eating, he may be ill.

Lack of Energy

Healthy iguanas tend to be quite alert, and even feisty. If your scaled buddy seems disinterested in everything, is lethargic, and/or seems weak, he could be sick. Keep a close eye on him; if he doesn’t bounce right back within a day or so, contact your vet.

Twitching

Iguanas don’t generally twitch. If your pet lizard is twitching, this is a red flag that something could be wrong.

Loss of Balance

If your iguana seems to be struggling to get on or off his perch, or falls off, there could be something going on. Iguanas sometimes do this when the temperature gets too cold, so make sure that your lizard’s domain is sufficiently warm.

Vomiting

Healthy iguanas rarely vomit. If you have witnessed your iguana getting sick, this could also be a symptom of illness.

Iguanas have specific needs. To stay healthy, they need clean cages, proper heat and light settings, and a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients. Don’t feed your iguana iceberg lettuce, as there is no nutritional value to it, and they will become malnourished. They also need a cage that is at least 3-4 times their length. Make sure to do plenty of research so you will know what to expect when it is shedding time, or when they enter breeding cycles.

If your iguana is displaying any of the above symptoms, please contact your Lexington vet immediately.

Best Foods to Feed Your Iguana

Properly feeding pet reptiles is a very important facet of being a responsible owner. Some herps are like children, meaning that they’ll choose food items they like, and not necessarily what’s good for them. The green iguana is notorious for being a picky eater.

The green iguana should be fed a completely vegetarian diet consisting of about 95 percent vegetable matter and 5 percent fruits, prepared so that even a picky iguana can’t eat only their preferred food items. Small amounts of commercially prepared iguana diet can also be offered.

Exasperated iguana owners often complain they are unable to get their pets to consume more than one or two favorite food items. If your iguana is in this group, don’t despair. There are several simple methods to convert your lizard over to a more balanced diet.

Chopped Food

If food items are coarsely chopped, the iguana can pick out favorite foods, leaving important nutrients uneaten. An easy remedy to this is to finely chop or grate foods, or even running foods briefly through a food processor. Preparing the diet this way doesn’t allow selection of the individual food items, so your iguana will consume a better balance of nutrients.

Feeding of the Young

Baby iguanas should be fed daily; mist them in the morning to increase their appetite. Young iguanas grow rapidly during their first year of life, so it is critical they consume a varied and balanced diet to prevent skeletal deformities. At 2 years of age, they can be fed every other day. Proper diet is very important, but to absorb calcium properly, your iguana should have access to natural sunlight, unfiltered through glass or plastic. For iguanas who are restricted to indoors because of weather, a full-spectrum vitamin-D source light is the next best thing.

Say “No” to Unusual Snacks

Iguanas are herbivores, or animals that naturally consume diets consisting entirely of plant material. Specifically, they’re folivores (they eat foliage). While a pet iguana may develop unusual food choices (hot dogs, cat food and jelly beans come to mind), he should only be fed vegetables and fruits, even if he seems to relish other foods.

Iguanas should not be fed prepared foods for other animals. A major portion of the diet, approximately 95 percent, should consist of vegetables, mostly dark green, leafy vegetables rich in calcium.

Greens

Recommended greens include collard, mustard, turnip tops and greens, bok choy, pak choi, broccoli rabe or rapina (the leaves, not flowerets, from the broccoli plant), clover and dandelions. Swiss chard, beet greens, escarole, parsley and watercress are also good choices. Lettuce tends to be mineral-poor, though romaine is more nutritious than other types. The outer, darker leaves have a higher mineral content than the inner, lighter leaves, so always try to feed the outer leaves. Spinach has been implicated in causing calcium oxalate stones and, for this reason, some iguana keepers avoid this green. However, some iguana owners offer small amounts with no problem. If you choose to offer spinach, do so in small amounts.

Flowers

Flowers such as roses, nasturtiums, carnations and hibiscus are excellent; however, beware of artificial colors and chemicals that might be found in floral arrangements. Nutritious vegetables include: radish, clover, bean sprouts, peppers (red, yellow and green), squash, carrots, fresh corn, green beans, pea pods, okra, cooked sweet potato, shredded parsnips, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber and mixed, thawed, frozen vegetables. You can also feed your iguana prickly pear cactus pads (no spines or stubble), as well as soaked alfalfa pellets. Though the reason is unclear, iguanas tend to prefer red and orange foods.

Calcium-fortified Fruits

High-calcium fruits should make up the remaining 5 percent of the diet. The best fruits to offer include:

  • Grapes
  • Papayas
  • Mangos
  • Raspberries
  • Figs

    Other fruits that can occasionally be offered include:

  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Melons
  • Pears
  • Cranberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Guavas
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas

Commercial Diets

You may have noticed that there are now commercial iguana diets available in most pet stores. A portion of the vegetables in your iguana’s diet may be substituted with these commercial iguana diets.

Supplements

Consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptile care about the necessity of providing a vitamin and mineral supplement for your iguana. Your veterinarian can assess your iguana’s diet and make recommendations accordingly. To prevent nutritional problems, vary the diet among a base of at least 10 to 15 different items.

Food Warning

Why can’t an iguana eat monkey biscuits or dog or cat kibble? There’s a good chance that the biscuits are high in vitamin D3, which can be extremely dangerous to iguanas. This vitamin in high levels can cause the iguana’s internal organs to develop dangerous calcium deposits (called mineralization) that compromise function and can result in death.

Dog and cat foods usually contain animal proteins and fat, as well as high levels of nutrients, including some vitamins that iguanas shouldn’t consume. Over time, the nutrients found in dog and cat food can also damage internal organs. While an iguana may find these items yummy, they’re best avoided in the diet.

Water Intake

The majority of iguanas acquire most of their required water through their food, so make sure that you provide fresh, juicy produce regularly. Iguanas may not drink from a bowl of water, but one should nevertheless be provided. Iguanas should be placed in a large receptacle of warm water several times weekly to allow swimming, drinking and exercise time (it’s normal for iguanas to defecate during exercise sessions). Don’t allow your iguana to swim in a bathtub used by humans, if possible. If you must, disinfect it thoroughly after your iguana has his swim.

Proper Temperature

To digest nutrients properly, the iguana must be maintained within a certain temperature range. During the day, the cage temperature should have a range of 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a hot spot for basking that’s maintained between 95 and 100 F. At night, the cage temperature shouldn’t drop below 70 F. It’s best to place several digital thermometers throughout the cage in order to monitor temperatures.

The tank should also be kept humid. One way to do this is to spray it with a fine mist of water two or three times a day.

It may take perseverance and a watchful eye to ensure that your iguana consumes a healthy diet. They can be picky and strong-willed, but with your guidance, it’s possible to see that the diet being offered is actually being eaten. Since young iguanas grow rapidly, proper nutrition is vital for them to remain healthy.

How to Get Rid of Iguanas Without Hurting Them

Living in Florida has many perks—sunshine, favorable weather, access to lots of beaches.

Yet, there is one downside that many Floridian homeowners agree on. That is the growing iguana population that continues to plague South Florida. Some homeowners have as many as 30 iguanas invading their property at once.

While considered one of the cooler lizard species, iguanas can wreak havoc on your outdoor living spaces. They make it much harder to maintain landscaping, swimming pools, and patios.

Yet, all hope is not lost. Nor do you have to use violence to get rid of these pesky creatures. Certain preventative measures make your home a less appealing place for iguana invaders.

Here’s how to get rid of iguanas without causing them any harm.

Rethink Your Landscaping

Thickets and overgrown plants around your home are inviting to iguanas.

These spots offer hiding places for them to seek shelter.

Trimming and cleaning up your landscaping is a technique for keeping iguanas away. This tip will also help keep snakes away from your home.

Iguanas also like wood and rock piles, or other debris in your yard. They will even hide inside kayaks and canoes that are laid on the ground.

Certain plants and flowers can attract iguanas, like hibiscus and vegetable gardens. You may want to consider building a greenhouse for your garden to keep them out. This cuts off their source of food and leaves them to search elsewhere.

Wire netting can also help stop iguanas from getting into your plants. Be sure your wire goes underground as well. This will stop iguanas from digging to get underneath the fence.

Placing guards around the base of your trees can be helpful. This will help prevent them from climbing up into trees. Do this by wrapping metal sheets around your tress, about 18 inches from the ground.

You also want to remove or cut down any hollow trees. These are another preferred hiding spot for iguanas.

Using motion-sensitive sprinklers is another idea. This helps to scare them off should they get too close to your yard. If you happen to spot an iguana while outside, spray them with your garden hose.

Don’t Appeal to Their Appetite

Fruits are a favorite food of iguanas.

Picking up any fallen fruit from trees will help get rid of iguanas. You’ll also want to remove fruit that hangs too low to the ground.

Iguanas love avocados, mangos, berries, and leafy greens. Yet, citrus trees are not their favorite. You may want to consider this when planning which plants to put in your yard.

Leaving out any food will also attract iguanas. So, be sure to always put away any leftovers when dining outside. This will also help protect your home from ants.

Keeping pet food bowls inside the home is another tip. You’ll also want to keep your trash well covered and in a secure spot, as not to lure iguanas. Placing something heavy on top of your trashcan lid is also smart.

It’s never a good idea to try and feed an iguana—unless you want to start keeping it as a pet.

Spray a Repellent Around Your Yard

Try using an iguana repellent around the yard and near your plants.

These are safe to use with natural ingredients, so they won’t cause any harm to iguanas.

Some people also have success with garlic spray and neem oil. Repellent granules are another option to cover the border of your property. Then spray iguana repellent on top of granules for best results. Follow the label instructions for any DIY products.

These granules are good to use near your foundation to avoid any digging. They may also be able to stop iguanas from damaging seawalls. Repellents are not 100% effective but may help reduce your iguana problem.

Sound repellers are another alternative for how to scare iguanas away. These create noise and vibration to frighten iguanas.

Check for Holes

Iguanas love digging holes, often to nest inside them.

This can be a huge annoyance. Yet, it is problematic if they dig too close to your home’s foundation.

Filling their holes with rocks will make it harder for them to dig. Rocks or gravel are a better alternative than dirt.

Check to see if any eggs have been laid first before you place rocks in the hole. A female iguana can lay 76 eggs each year. So, you may want to remove these before filling the hole.

Call the Pros

Setting your own traps can lead to iguanas (or you) getting hurt. They try and escape when caught and sometimes end up getting cut up by the cage.

There is also the potential of accidentally trapping a neighbor’s cat.

Iguanas may even bite or scratch you when you try to move them from a trap to a cage. This creates a health risk as they can spread diseases.

So, if the problem gets out of control, your best bet is a professional pest removal service.

How to Get Rid of Iguanas, Once and for All

These techniques may be able to help you figure out how to get rid of iguanas.

Try making changes to your landscaping to make your yard less hospitable to iguanas. Use non-toxic repellents and take away any source of food.

The iguana invasion is becoming quite a problem in South Florida. So, it’s best to call a professional if the problem gets out of control.

Reach out to Reynolds Pest Management to help rid your yard of iguanas and other pests.

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Methods of getting rid of iguanas


When a trapper comes to your home to help you in getting rid of one iguana, you will find that in a few days, new ones can come to take its place. You have to ensure that the place is not inviting to iguanas. You can find different steps which you may take so that you can ensure that the area has been iguana proofed.
Exclusion methods
You may try to do the exclusion through installing a caged screen enclosure so that you may protect the pool and the yard. You may also install electric fencing around the seawall, docks or yard. You have to use a metal sheet in order to guard a dock pilling and trees that iguanas can climb. You can put plastic bottles in a line in order to keep iguanas away, and you may also protect the pool deck if you use childproof fencing. You can use wire mesh screening if you want to protect plants in the garden.
Habitat modification
If you want to do habitat modification, then remove trees with fruits except for citrus trees because the iguanas don’t eat them. You may remove any dense thickets with piles of timber or rocks. You can trim trees and bushes away from the house and fill any burrow you find with cement and sand. You may also try out using neem and garlic oil spray to repel the iguanas, spraying it near the border of the property and the plants. Iguanas may not like the taste or the smell of biopesticides.
Trapping iguanas
Special permits may be unnecessary when it comes to trapping iguanas on private property, but keep in mind that wildlife should be trapped using humane methods. You have to use live traps or noose poles with nets. Traps have to be checked two times every 24 hours because if you leave wild animals longer than this in a trap, it is classified as animal abuse.
What to do with an iguana when you catch it
It is not easy to catch iguanas; however, if it is cold outside, they will slow down. If you catch iguanas, you should not take them to a nearby park since you may be jailed or have to pay a fine. You need to find a person who can euthanize it.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Iguanas page or email us if you have any other questions about Methods of getting rid of iguanas

Iguana in House or Yard

Reptile Invasion: Managing Iguanas

Iguanas are the largest reptile living in the United States. Originally introduced as exotic pets, escaped or released iguanas quickly resulted in feral populations. These pets turned pests are currently thriving in warmer regions of the country. People who live in southern states, such as Florida, may find iguanas in the house or yard. While young and small, these pests may seem like a minor annoyance. However, iguanas grow larger and heavier as they age. Adults in the wild can reach an intimidating six feet in length and weigh upwards of 20 pounds.

Iguana Habitats

Preferring to live in trees, iguanas spend much of their time sunning themselves. The reptiles are also excellent swimmers and commonly found near water. In fact, iguanas are known to evade predators by diving head first from tree branches into nearby bodies of water. They may also descend from trees to dig burrows for eggs and forage for food. Since iguanas are adaptable and adjust well to open spaces, residential lawns are not off limits. The pests are quite agile and quick while on the ground, making their presence in yards unnerving to many homeowners.

Damage & Prevention

When an iguana is in the home or yard, it will use its razor-sharp teeth to chew through items. The pests often damage expensive landscaping and may be found swimming in private pools or ponds. Their presence can also attract other unwanted wildlife, such as raccoons, feral pigs, and snakes, who feed on the eggs and young of iguanas. Many states have trapping and release laws regarding exotic, non-native animals like iguanas. It’s recommended to call the professionals at Trutech for the safe, legal, and humane prevention or removal of iguanas from private property.

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