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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…


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.

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

“I’m ready to get out now!”