A few months ago Esmerelda had her first vet visit and I had a huge scare! There were a lot of factors. I had been really busy for a few weeks and hadn’t taken as much time to care for Esmerelda as usual. In that time all I fed her was kale and some of Schnucks frozen mixed vegetables. Normally, I get a different type of green every week or whenever she finishes one. If she has kale one week then I will get her mustard greens the next and collard greens after that, etc.. But for various reasons (in a rush, the other greens at the store looked moldy one time) I bought kale at least three times in a row. So #1 her food had very little variety and I afterwards read that kale should only be fed sparingly because of bad calcium to phosporus ratio. I did not know that.

#2 Esmerelda spent very little time in her cage during this time. I was giving her free roam and she was really enjoying it. It didn’t occur to me that that also meant she wasn’t spending time under a UV light!

So one night I went into the room to see her sleeping on the table and I saw that all of her toes were twitching and tremors were going through her legs and chest. I was so scared! I knew this was a definite sign of calcium deficency in many reptiles so I immediately mixed calcium and water and fed her some with a syringe. That’s when I noticed the lump on her jaw – another sign of MBD! I felt so terrible.

I called the vet first thing the next morning. When I woke up her toes were still twitching, but not as badly. I fed her more of the calcium mixture at that time. By the time I got to the vet, a few hours later, the twitching was almost nonexistent and the vet told me that what I had done was definitely the way to go.

The vet approved of her diet and was mostly concerned that she wasn’t getting enough UV light because (and I had strangely never heard this before) even if there is calcium in the food or dusted on the food, most reptiles require the UV rays to actually use the calcium in their body. He also took a blood sample (which she did NOT appreciate) and I got the results the next day. She did have slightly low blood calcium, but otherwise a clean bill of health. The Dr. said to continue with the calcium mixture until the twitching stopped and also prescribed some sunshine. Twitching never occurred again and the bump on the jaw went down dramatically.

As far as how she handled the vet visit, Esmerelda was not a happy camper and did a great job of scratching up my arms and the vet assistant’s. Halfway through it occurred to the vet to put a towel over her head and she calmed down. Why didn’t I think of that?

So in conclusion, feed kale sparingly and make sure you have a UVB bulb!

I also took the vet’s sunshine prescription to heart and have been taking Esmerelda out to a local park. People LOVE her. But since I can’t find a leash that she can’t get out of, I have just been herding her on the beach and carrying her. I have been going on the weekdays when I am off work so that I don’t have to worry too much about a lot of people or their pets. She really loves it and she’s great at striking up conversations. 😉

People are always coming up wanting to pet her or take pictures.

fun in the sun

"Godzilla!"

Just like people, lizards get dry skin during the winter. And then to fight the cold, in order to keep the reptiles warm, I use a small heater. It runs 24/7 to keep the temperature up and causes it to be very dry. I’ve had a lot of shedding issues as a result this year. If you live in a cold climate, you’re probably also fighting off the winter to keep your reptile(s) happy, so just be careful and watch those spikes on your iguana especially. If they get too dry and don’t  come off when they are supposed to the old skin can will actually cut off the circulation to the tip (or entire) spike and kill it off.

To fight shedding issues you can do a few things.

#1 Daily misting. Once or even twice a day, give your iguana a mist. If there are spots with dead skin, give those some extra attention. You can help pull it off, just to be sensitive to what your iguana is feeling and don’t pull off anything that isn’t ready to come off!

#2 Keep a water bowl in the enclosure. You should have one in the enclosure already for drinking. Make sure it is always full and if there’s room, add something large enough for the iguana to soak in.

#3 Baths! Give your iguana a nice bath. If you can (mine used to hate the sound of the tub filling up), bring your iguana into the room as your are filling the bath. You could even leave the shower head on while your lizard is soaking. The extra humidity will be good for their skin.

Ha ha. The following picture of Esmerelda as a baby makes me laugh. Look at those silly little bug eyes and baby face.

NOW look at her! She’s a heavy, razor clawed dinosaur! I wonder if I could get her to stay still on a scale. She’s got to be at least twenty pounds…

es

I’ve got a little warning for anyone considering an iguana, they get BIG, they get STRONG, they need SPACE, and they have little razor blade CLAWS. Some may even bite you if you make them angry and I’m glad to say Esmerelda doesn’t have much of a temper, because that would HURT.

I’ve also got a little tip for anyone who currently has a young iguana. Don’t let them spend a lot of time on top of your head! Because when they get big and really heavy, they still think that your head is there hangout and not only does it hurt when they try to use their claws to climb up your face, but it also hurts your neck once they’re up for a while. Ha ha. I speak from experience!

Yesterday evening I decided to give Esmerelda another bath since she’s having her shed, but in the process of bringing her into the bathroom, she decided she wanted to climb up my head and one of her claws actually got snagged in my face, right beneath my eye, and she yanked it out before I had the chance to do it. OUCH! I also got a nice little scratch down my forehead. Note to self: Clip her nails BEFORE taking her out.

Then of course, I couldn’t get her OFF my head, so I ended up having to step into the tub, get on my knees, and put my head down onto the surface of the tub so that she could walk off. It must have looked ridiculous, but there was no other easy way.

So think about this if you’re considering an iguana, are you willing to look like a crazy person lying in an empty tub with an enormous lizard on your head? Because it might just come to that or something like it.

I can’t believe this is the first time I really got Esmerelda out for a real photo shoot with my “new” Canon Rebel camera. She is so grown up.

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veggiemix

I saw this product on sale at the PetCo a few days ago. Hardly a large enough serving for a full iguana meal, but I thought Esmerelda might like it and I like to give her different things. 

It sounds like a neat idea. You just add water, let it sit for about 8 minutes, and then serve it to your pet. All that worked fine, the veggies softened and it looked pretty good. I put it in Esmerelda’s food bowl, but she wouldn’t touch it. 

About 12 hours later, maybe less, I went back and it had gotten all moldy and gross. Esmerelda hadn’t even touched her other food on the plate which she usually inhales. I cleaned it out immediately and it had the foulest smell – like rodent urine (if you’ve had hamsters or mice, you know what I mean).

How can that be healthy?

Ew! Don’t buy this product.

A visitor of my Iguana Blog just recently started her own blog for her pet, Iggy. The blog is called Growing Up Iguana and has lots of pictures, stories, and information already.

Hop over there and check it out!

Welcome to the new version of The Iguana Blog. All of the old posts and pictures are still here though, it’s just a new url: https://theiguanablog.wordpress.com/

Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.

Today Esmerelda had her first bath in the tub. Here are some shots from the experience. 


“I’m ready to get out now!”

March 16th marked the day I brought Esmerelda home. I’ve had her a whole year now and she has literally doubled in size in just 12 months. When I brought her home she was just 20 inches long and now she is 40 inches! 😀 

Maybe she is finally slowing down though, as she is still 40 inches like in January. Then again, the warm weather will likely give her a boost. 😀

I didn’t realize how big she was until I took a picture of myself holding her. She’s not just a big lizard anymore – she’s an iguana!

After getting cut to pieces last night trying to measure Esmerelda, it turns out she didn’t even grow an inch! All that pain for nothing. Still 40 inches.

I don’t know what got into her, but she was really grumpy last night and didn’t want anything to do with me.

Maybe I should have been keeping track of girth too. I can tell that her throat and dewlap have gotten wider and more prominent. She is really starting to looking like an adult Iguana. I can’t believe that in March, I will have had her a whole year.

She has literally doubled in size since the first day I got her. From 20 inches to 40 in 12 months. Wow.