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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.

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

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.

I have been looking at different cage ideas and found some neat ones I thought I would share. I am actually looking into one that is already built that I found on craigslist. It is 6′ tall x 2 1/2 wide. Only 50 dollars, so that is a good deal and cheaper than it would cost for the materials to build my own. Still, it is on the simple side and not precisely what I’m looking for, so I would probably fix it up nonetheless.

If you’re currently looking for an iguana cage, search craigslist first (unless you have something very very specific that you want). I see iguana cages up there all the time. You could even search for large aquariums and ferret cages that you might be able to convert into a suitable iguana cage.

Now for the neat iguana cages I’ve found. Maybe you can get some ideas from them:

Made of PVC pipes:

Iguana Mansion! … cf.jpg?v=0

Most like what I want. I would like doors like this for easy cleaning and handling and I also think the wheels would come in handy. … s-cage.jpg

The first one is really neat, especially if you had a tiki theme going. I like the idea of a corner cage.

I may have to get one of these. I think it would make a great summer house and I think the price is pretty reasonable. … catid=6062


When I first brought Esmerelda home, she didn’t want to eat more than one piece of each thing. One piece of lettuce, one piece of kale, one piece of mustard green. She was a very stubborn eater and I was worried about her not eating enough.

I remembered a time when I was at the Walgreen’s buying baby food for my crested geckos. One of the clerks there told me about how she used to feed her iguana banana baby food. I happened to have some because of my cresteds so I gave it a shot.

I fed it to her with a syringe and she lapped it up. She’s also eaten carrot and the mango and assorted fruit flavors. I mixed in some calcium too to make sure she was getting good vitamins.

Now Esmerleda is being better about eating, probably because she has settled in more, and will eat lots of pieces of the same thing. She’s even been daring enough to try some of her dry iguana food, but she only likes to eat out of her bowl when she thinks I’m not looking. 

The first time I caught her I had opened the door and she had a big piece of lettuce hanging out of her mouth as she stood over the food bowl. As soon as she saw me she dropped it back into the bowl!

So if your iguana is being a little stubborn about eating, try baby food! Try flavors like carrots, banana, assorted fruits, and other tropical flavors.|