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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



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.


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!

Esmerelda is now 40 inches long! It is hard to believe, looking back at picture from just a few months ago, that she was ever that small. 

I am now using a sewing measuring tape to measure Esmerelda. I was late in measuring her this month and got it done on the 18th, rather than the 9th.

She is now 38 inches!

Esmerelda is now about twice the size that she was when I last let her and Bryn (my male water dragon) out together. The last time Esmerelda didn’t like him very much and even attempted to tail whip him. 

This time… Well, I’ll let you see the pictures:

They were so calm and sweet with each other!

It’s a wonder you can’t actually SEE her grow. She’s almost outgrown the yard stick…

I give you, Esmerelda. Now measuring a whopping 32 1/2 inches!

Measured Esmerelda again August 9th and she is now 28 1/2 inches from nose to tail tip!

She is eating well and shedding regularly and is pretty calm with other people, Her claws can be very sharp though, so those need to be clipped at least monthly for comfortable handling. I have just been using regular people nail clippers with no problem. She can be a little fussy, so I just wrap her in a towel, only exposing the foot I want to work with. 

She really seems to like this Juvenile Iguana Food I got her at an exotics pet store near us. The brand is Rep Cal and it has a very ripe fruity smell. All I do is pour some out into her bowl and moisten it a little with one of my spray bottles. 

If you’re having trouble getting your iguana to eat pellet foods I’d recommend this. She took to it very quickly.

^Rep Cal food shown with Mustard Greens

On the other hand, she didn’t seem to care particularly for the Zilla brand: … er-164932/

She would eat it, but not as readily as the Rep Cal: … -oz-151969

Esmerelda grew just slightly over two inches this month. She is now just a little over 26 inches!

The cage I had a lead on previously fell through, but just when I had drawn out my own plans for an iguana cage, I found another one on craigslist -a better one. It was almost exactly how I had designed my own, but bigger. The people also gave me a great deal on a pile of other tanks and supplies too!

The cage breaks into three parts for easier moving. 

It’s 6 ft tall, 4ft wide, and 2ft deep.

It also has a storage space at the bottom which could easily be converted into another reptile cage!

Plus, it has display and heat lights built in. It even came with a timer so that the lights will go on automatically at a specific time in the morning and a specific time at night.

It came with all the basking branches, bowls, ledges, and the fake banana plant. 

The viewing space could be bigger, but this is something I could probably fix.

Now guess how much I got it for. Only $50!!! If you’re looking for an iguana cage, go to I have gotten amazing deals there and this one is probably the best yet! You can even find iguanas in need of homes.

Esmerelda seemed a little awkward in it at first, but she warmed up to it a few days later. She likes to spread out on the top basking branch, her legs hanging off the sides.