Nutrition

Submitted by Green Iguana on Wed, 2006-01-04 10:00.

Iguanas are herbivores or failovers, which means that they are plant eaters. They eat leafy greens, fruit, and fresh, uncooked vegetables that are grated and chopped to a size appropriate to the size and age of the iguana.

Watch the size of the food chunks you feed to your iguana. Think about the size of your pet's stomach and how much more food he can get in there if it's in small bits. Grated foods are best but if you chop, chop into tiny, bite-sized pieces. Leafy greens can be torn into the appropriate size.

One of the worst myths left over from the fifties is that turtles and iguanas can survive eating iceberg lettuce. There is no nutritional value in such a pale, watery vegetable. Likewise, commercial iguana foods. Commercial diets for iguanas are not recommended.

Give your iguana protein in the form of vegetable protein like peas, green beans, alfalfa, and very occasionally, tofu or scrambled egg. No matter what you have been told, the experts agree that iguanas should not get their protein from dog or cat food. Do NOT feed your iguana dog food. It is the wrong kind of protein and can cause metabolic changes in your iguanas’ organs that will eventually be life-threatening.

The most important thing, however, is to feed your iguana a VARIED diet using the following, well-rinsed foods:

  • Greens (40%-50% of the daily mixture):

  • Mustard Greens - Collard Greens - Dandelion Greens - Turnip Greens - Rapini - Mulberry Leaves - Grape Leaves -Hibiscus - Escarole (outer, dark green leaves only - do not feed pale, bleached leaves).

  • Vegetables (40%):
    • Green Beans - Peas - Turnip - Rutabaga - Parsnip - Butternut Squash - Acorn Squash - Sweet Potato - Zucchini - Carrot - Lima Beans - Cassava -
      Jicama - Chayote

  • Fruit and Flowers (10-20%):

    • Papaya - Pear - Strawberries - Raspberries - Mango - Grapes - Apricot - Peach - Cantaloupe - Casaba and Honeydew Melon - Kiwi - Figs - Nasturtium -Hibiscus - Rose Petals (no pesticides

  • Occasional Foods and Treats (10%):

    • Kale - Parsley - Beets/Beet Greens - Banana - Apple - Rose Petals - Spinach - Pasta - Bok Choy - Broccoli - Cauliflower

    Do not feed your iguana large quantities of broccoli floweret, corn, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bananas, grapes, carrot, or tomatoes because they contain higher amounts of phosphorous, oxalates, photoset and other components that can hamper your iguana's healthy growth processes.

    Tear, chop and grate food into very small pieces and mix together. Sprinkle a pinch of reptile vitamin and calcium on a small amount of chopped veggies and mix well. Put the supplemented food on top to ensure your pet eats the vitamins. Do not over-supplement (twice a week for young iguanas - hatchlings to 2 years old, once a week for juveniles and adults - 2+ years and older).

    Feed your iguana a balanced, varied diet EVERY day, not every other day as some books suggest. And try to avoid feeding defrosted, frozen vegetables as much as possible. Frozen, pre-packaged vegetables lose much of their vitamin content in the freezing/storage process. Feed only frozen(defrosted, room-temperature) peas and lima beans as a protein source but all other vegetables should be purchased fresh from the market or grown in the garden. Prepared iguana food and frozen vegetable mixes do not contain the necessary nutrients for a healthy iguana diet.

    Remember to wash all edibles thoroughly and never feed any plant material that has been previously sprayed with insecticide and always offer your iguana fresh water to drink.

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    iguana feeding
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