Can Iguanas Attack You / Why They Bite / 6 Important Reasons

Can Iguanas Attack You _ Why They Bite

Can Iguanas Attack You ?  Iguanas may attack you under the following circumstances

  • Mating Season
  • Guarding their Territory
  • Iguana is afraid
  • Iguana is Curious
  • Feeding Time
  • Stressed

They can attack by biting, also swiping you with their tails, which can hurt and slice.

One of the first and most important questions that many people have before they buy a pet is, are they dangerous? This is perhaps more so with iguanas than many other lizards, as they are bigger, and have been involved in a handful of injuries that have made the world’s press. Iguanas are not a very dangerous animal, but they should be treated with respect, knowledge, and caution. They do sometimes bite, and the power of their jaws and serrated teeth can cause quite deep cuts. However, if they are handled well, most iguana owners will never encounter a problem. It is therefore crucial to weigh up the pros and cons of having a pet iguana in your house before you buy one, particularly if they are going to be near young children.

Can Iguanas Attack You

Do Iguanas Bite and Why?

Almost any animals will bite under certain circumstances and those lovable iguanas are no exception. Although they look like these tiny dinosaurs, iguanas are not aggressive in general. But, when provoked or during mating season, they tend to lash out with those serrated teeth. Like crocodiles, iguanas have powerful jaws designed to tear instead of chewing, clamping, and holding down. Trying to remove the bite or pushing them away can only make them bite harder and turn the simple punctures to something more serious.

Types of Iguana Bites

Curious Bites

Iguanas typically examine when they see or smell something new. They stick their tongue out and make a small bite to see if that something responds.

Unintended Bites

This usually happens when hand feeding your iguanas. There are no serious injuries associated with this bite since it is not intended to attack you in a hostile environment.

Fright Bites

When trying to tame an iguana you just bought a home, it may wag is tail and try to bite you, all because it is scared. The strength of this kind of bite is not that harmful nor something for you to worry about.

Friendly Bites

Such bites are something that can last for a long time. This is not harmful; this bite usually eases over time & it will release its bite after some time. Though if you are trying to pull it away, it will become more aggressive and bite harder. One way to handle it is by placing an alcohol swabs under its nose. If it is biting and holding on your clothes, take it slowly and not to hurt its teeth.

Territorial Bites

Like any animal, territory domination is quite important for iguanas. And putting 2 or more male iguanas in one enclosure is a bad idea since territory-related attacks will occur. When the territorial aggression is shown, it is best that you leave it alone for a while until the behavior eases. Otherwise, it may see you as an outsider, attacking and biting you down when confronted.
Dog and Iguana

The Mating Season Bites

Male iguanas during the breeding season tend to be overly aggressive and impossible to control.

They may chase you around the house and even bite you hard just to remove you from their territory.

Also, iguanas also sense hormonal changes in human females that make them even loonier. So, when the mating season is approaching, make sure to never remove your iguanas out of its cage and refrain from petting it.

The Disease Risk of Iguana Bites

More than just painful, iguana bites may result in various health problems. Because these animals tend to leave their teeth embedded in your skin, infection or tetanus may happen even is the smallest injuries are treated incorrectly.

In addition, iguanas also carry several Gram-negative bacteria in their mouths and Salmonella in their intestines that can be transferred to humans when they bite. Most of these organisms are also resistant to various antibiotics. So, you will need to get professional medical treatment when bitten by an iguana to prevent further health problems.

Preventing Iguana Bites

It is obvious that scratches and bites are not a pleasant part of your socializing with your newfound reptile friend. To protect yourself, you need to wear gloves in order to prevent injuries, particularly if the reptile is not tamed yet. Also, you need to watch out for several signs when your iguana is about to bite, so you can immediately stay away from it.

Stressed iguanas tend to hiss, coil, and stiffen their bodies, extend the fold of their loose skin under the head, or twitching their tails from side to side.

When your iguana is exhibiting these signals, immediately move away and avoid it to prevent bites.

Why Does Iguana Change Color?

Unlike chameleons, iguanas do not change their color intensively. But reliant on the health, time, environment, and mood iguanas may possibly change colors. A green iguana tends to become darker with its age, while yellow-green, red, and blue iguana morphs obtain their bright coloring more noticeable with age. Iguanas may be changing their colors when they are shedding, stressed, and sick, and when they feel hot or cold. On the other hand, changing skin colors will help them perform or dominate bodily functions more efficiently.

Why Iguana Mouth Open (Gaping)?

The reason why iguanas tend to open their mouth is that they want to show what they feel. As a matter of fact, an open mouth may be an indication that your iguana is too hot and he/she needs to be transferred to a cooler place. A somewhat open mouth, on the other hand, could be an indication of curiosity. In addition, it means that your iguana is disappointed.

Is It Good When Iguanas Close Their Eyes?

If your iguana closed their eyes you do not have to worry. Because iguanas converse with their eyes closed. However, when the eye that is close to you is closed but the other one is open it is a kind of compliment. Meaning to say, your iguana is comfortable being with you, but he/she is observing what is going on around. When both eyes are closed, it is their way to shut out everything and lessen the stimuli. Nevertheless, closed eyes can exhibit a sign of relaxation as well as happiness.

Why Iguanas Wag Their Heads?

When your iguana wags his/her head it does not mean that you are dealing with a weird pet. This means that your iguana is sending a message. Usually, head wagging could be a self-assured behavior. Basically, it is an expression of territoriality and dominance. Fully grown and physically mature male iguanas are partial to such wagging actions. But the female ones do their share of defensive head wagging as well. Furthermore, when an iguana wags his head, it means that he is not in the mood to engage with anybody else.

Does an Iguana Tail Whip Hurt?

In the fact, iguanas used their tails as a defense for defense. That is why if your iguana is scared, he/she usually whip his/her tail which can be painful. As a matter of fact, it can be very dangerous as well since their tails slices deeply.

Aggression in Iguanas

Your iguana may look and act like a lazy little dinosaur most of the time, but he can be quite formidable if he gets agitated. These beautiful lizards have several built-in weapons: sharp claws, heavy spiked tails, and strong teeth, all of which can be very dangerous. Iguana bites can be extremely painful and quite serious, so an aggressive iguana is nothing to take lightly.


Fear is often the cause of aggression in iguanas. Iguanas usually prefer flight over fight and will try to run from anything they perceive as threatening. A captive iguana doesn’t have the option of fleeing and may lash out instead. Iguanas that have not been properly socialized are more prone to aggression, so if your pet is new, it can take some time to properly socialize and tame him. Being held in a manner that is painful or uncomfortable can also cause iguanas to attack, so make sure to always handle your iguana appropriately. Unnatural light patterns, or too much or too little light, will sometimes trigger aggression in iguanas. Sexual frustration is another common cause of aggression in iguanas. Sometimes, even seeing certain colors can send lizards into a rage!


Always keep a close eye out for signs of agitation in your iguana. Head bobbing, tail lashing, and/or an extended dewlap are all red flags that indicate irritation or discomfort in iguanas and are often precursors to attacks. If you see signs of an oncoming temper tantrum in your lizard, try giving him a towel or toy, so he can take his aggression out on that instead of you. Making sure your iguana has plenty of room and is happy and comfortable in his home will also reduce the chances of aggressive behavior. You will also want to research sexual aggression in iguanas, so you’ll know when your pet is most likely to be on edge.

How to Deal with Iguana Aggression?

Dealing with aggressive iguana can be quite tricky. If your iguana is scratching or biting you, you will of course want to get away from him as soon as possible. The problem here is that if your iguana attacks because he doesn’t want to be held, and you put him down when he bites, then he just won the battle and may think aggression will get him what he wants. Therefore, using proper precautions is crucial. Get to know your pet’s body language, so you can recognize the signs of an upcoming attack and take steps to avoid it.
Daeling with an Aggressive Iguana


Always use extreme caution when approaching or handling iguanas! They have Sharp Teeth, Sharp Claws and a razor like tail.
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