How to Take Care of a Pregnant Iguana: The Complete Guide

How to Take Care of a Pregnant Iguana: The Complete Guide

 

Pregnant (Gravid)  Iguana Care Guide

Species Summary:

Pregnant Iguana care Guide includes there are eight genera of Iguana, and roughly 30 species of the Iguanidae family members are discovered until today. The name iguana only refers to the species of the subfamily Iguaninae.

The most popular species is the common or green Iguana, usually found south of Mexico, and ranges up to Brazil. Males of the Iguana species reach a maximum length of 2 meters (6.7 feet) and 5-6 kilograms (13.3 pounds). It is generally seen basking in the sun on the branches of trees/shrubs overhanging the water, into which it will jump if disturbed.

iguana world habitats
Iguana World Habitats

Extant Species:

  • Lesser Antillean iguana
  • Green Iguana
  • Southern Antillean horned Iguana
  • Saban black iguana
  • Central American iguana

Appearance and Colors:

They show multiple colors. The common Iguana is green in color with dark bands that form rings on the tail. Females are grayish-green and about half the males’ weight. The adults show more uniformity in color with age, whereas the young may appear more blotchy or banded between green and brown.

Their appearance depends upon the species, environment, age, stress, mood, temperature, health, or social status. For example, green iguanas’ predominant color is green but can range from shining green to a pale gray-blue. There are multiple genetic variations in the color of iguanas. Some can appear red, while others are almost navy blue.

Recently, albino iguanas have been discovered too. One strain of green Iguana from South America has a reddish shine to the head.

Age Differences Affect the Color:

Immature iguanas are usually brighter green or blue with some light brown striping on the body and tail. The striping pattern of some appears as a reticulated pattern.

This coloring helps Iguana to camouflage them from predators as they live among the intense dark leaves in their natural habitat. As they age, the green color becomes less intense.

The dark striping, patterns, or banding on their bodies and tails become more intense as the Iguana reaches approximately 17 months of age. The heads of older iguanas likely to be paler, appearing almost white or gray.

Thermoregulation and Breeding Season Can Affect Pregnant Iguana’s Color:

Such color alteration may aid these animals in thermoregulation. When the body temperature is low in the morning hours, skin color will be darker, helping the lizard absorb heat from sunlight. However, in the hot mid-day sun radiates upon them, so these Iguanas become paler or lighter to reflect the sun rays and minimize the level of heat absorbed.

Active and dominant iguanas usually have a darker color than lower-ranked iguanas living in the same environment. The most color variation seen in this species is exhibited by males and may be attributed to sex hormones or steroids.

Six to eight weeks before and during intercourse, males may acquire a gold hue or bright orange color. Mature females usually retain their green coloring even in the breeding season.

Lifespan:

Tip – Depending on the species, iguanas can live anywhere from six to over 50 years.

The Grand Cayman rock iguana has the longest lifespan of 25 to 40 years in the wild and over 50 years in captivity if kept well maintained. In the wild, green iguanas have an estimated lifespan of eight years, though they can survive for 20 years or more in captivity. By comparison, the Marine Iguana has a short lifespan of just over six years.

Average Size:

In general, Iguanas can grow up to 5-6 feet in total length. Length varies and mostly dependent upon genetic variation and species.

Length: 

  • Green Iguana: 32 – 42 cm
  • Marine Iguana: 62 – 100 cm
  • Blue Iguana: 52 – 76 cm

Mass: 

  • Green Iguana: 4.5 kg
  • Marine iguana: 0.7 – 1.5 kg
  • Blue Iguana: 15 kg

A young, 11-13 gram hatchling iguana can become a 1 kg adult. Upon hatching, the total length of green iguanas ranges from 18 to 24 cm. Most mature iguanas weigh between 5 and 6 kg, but some Iguanas in South America can reach up to 8 kg with a proper diet. These large lizards or iguanas can reach up to 2 m in length from head to tail.

Physical Description

One of the unique features of this species is that they possess a pendulous dewlap under the throat. The dewlap is more developed in adult Iguana males than females. The dewlap is the extension of the hyoid bones that stiffen and support the Iguanas in territorial defense or help them when the animal is terrified. This fleshy dewlap also serves in heat dissipation and absorption when it is in an extended position.

The laterally located eyes are protected mainly by an immovable eyelid and a freely moveable lower eyelid. Behind the eyes, on the dorsal midline of the skull, is a parietal eye. Although not a true “eye,” this sense organ serves as an indicator for solar energy and aids in maturing the thyroid gland, sex organs, and endocrine glands. This “eye” ‘s visual effect is mostly restricted to the detection of predatory shadows from above.

The plates or scales on the Iguana’s head are larger and usually irregular than the scales present on the rest of the body.

Iguana’s Diet:

A well-balanced and best iguana diet consists of:

  • 65% dark leafy greens such as spinach and collard greens; 22% bulk vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, and broccoli; 13% fruit such as bananas, strawberries, and mangoes.
  • Iguanas perform well if fed a commercial iguana diet.

Iguana Diet

Greens / 35%Fruits / 15%Fiber / 20%AvoidSupplements
leavesApplesGrain BreadMeatCalcium
FlowersPeachesBran CerialInsectsphosphorus
lettuceGuavaBugsD3 / Light / Supplement
Alpha HayKiwiRodentsMultivitamins
Bok ChoyMelonsDog Food
CloverFigsCat Chow
SavoryApricotsSoyBeans
DandelionsDates Pesticides
Green CabbageStrawberriesSpinache
Green BeansRaspberriesRhubarb
SproutsMangoesCelry
OkraBeetroot
CucunbersChard
CarrotsFried Chips
AsparagusLeeks
PeasPoisonous Mushrooms
Corn
Collard
Squash
Edible Mushrooms
Iguana Diet
Greens
Fruits
Avoid
Supplements

Pregnant Iguana’s Feeding:

Things to remember when offering feed to your Iguana:

  • Feed once a day.
  • Clean, fresh, chlorinated water should be available at all times.
  • Sprinkle food with calcium and other vitamin supplements daily.
  • Remember, iguanas never chew their food. They swallow food. So, food should be shredded, chopped, or grated into small edible pieces.
  • If your Iguana does not like to eat a pelleted commercial diet, moisten the food with water or mix it with vegetable or fruit-flavored baby food.
  • Fruits and vegetables not eaten within a day should be discarded.

Iguana’s Housing:

  • Substrate: Use a mulch type substrate such as coconut fiber.
  • Habitat: Provide an optimal hiding area and branches for basking. Maintain 75 to 92% humidity by misting as needed every day.
  • Size: Appropriately sized and shaped habitat with secure cover; as the Iguana grows, a larger habitat will be required. The Iguana should be able to move around and turn in the habitat freely.
  • Temperature: Temperature gradient (98°F for the warm end and 80°F for the cool end). Use a ceramic heater or an incandescent light as a primary heat source.
  • Lighting: UVB rays with full-spectrum lighting for 12 to 13 hours a day is required. An incandescent day bulb/light can be used for the basking area during daylight hours only, or a ceramic heater may be used at night.
  • House adult male Iguanas separately from females and even from other reptiles and never house different reptiles together.

Habitat Maintenance:

Thoroughly clean and disinfect the Iguana’s closure at least once a week. Keep Iguana in a safe place. Clean the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly with water, remove all traces of bleach smell. Thoroughly dry the tank and furnishings and add a clean substrate

Grooming & Hygiene:

Tip – Iguanas frequently shed their skin. So, double-check the humidity every time. Humidity levels must be appropriate to allow proper shedding of Iguanas.

To facilitate the process of shedding, bathe in a large container that allows the Iguana to immerse its full body or provide a shed box, a hide box with some fancy sphagnum moss, that will help in the shedding process.

Trim an iguana’s nails as required.

Normal Physiological Behavior:

  • Males are mostly territorial.
  • Iguanas may become tame with often handling.
  • They bob their head as a means of communication.
  • Healthy iguanas sneeze to get rid of excess salt present in their bodies.

How to Judge If a Pregnant Iguana Is Carrying Eggs or Not?

If you have an adult female and male Iguana living in the same enclosure, you may be distressing whether your female may be pregnant or not. Iguanas go through physical changes when they are getting ready to lay eggs, so it is essential to learn the signs.

As we know, female Iguanas lay eggs. One of the very first things to carefully verify is lumpy skin on both sides of female iguanas. It is the basic sign of pregnancy in iguanas. Other possible signs for pregnancy are to look for a loss of appetite, weight gain, and personality changes.

Physical Changes In a Gravid Iguana

  • In the first weeks (about one to three weeks), the pregnant Iguana’s appetite remains the same, but she becomes more restless.
  • At week four or five, Gravid female Iguana’s appetite will decrease gradually, and her water intake will increase slowly. 
  • Appetite decreases as the eggs increased in size and number. It is because the eggs put pressure on nearby organs, such as the stomach and intestines. Pregnant iguanas also undergo personal changes, such as an unaffectionate iguana may now seek attention, while cuddly iguanas may start avoiding physical contact.
  • As the egg grows, the pregnant Iguana will continue to reduce its food intake while increasing its water intake. She will not lose her weight because the growing eggs are taking up the formerly fat-filled space. Her urine will be yellow and thick. And most probably, it will not produce any feces at that time.
  • After another two weeks, in about seven or eight weeks, you can feel her eggs. To find out if Iguana is carrying eggs, a gentle stroke is applied to both sides of her thick abdomen, from her ribs to the front, where her hind legs join her body. The eggs will feel small, soft, and swollen.
  • In the next few weeks, its tail will thin out, and you will begin to see the eggs appearing/bulging on the sides. If you look at these bulges, then your Iguana is almost ready to lay its eggs and will do so in about six to seven days.
  • You can check your Iguana is gravid or not by feeling her sides. It is necessary not to agitate her or make her feel uncomfortable, so carefully lift her from the enclosure and ran on your hands along each side. You could feel some small swellings that felt like eggs.

Caring for Pregnant Iguana:

The female Iguana needs extra calcium when she is gravid/pregnant. If Iguana does not get extra calcium, his body will pull out calcium from its bones. This will weaken the bones and cause metabolic bone disease, which can be dangerous if left untreated. Give it calcium by adding a supplement to its diet or by providing it separately during the day.

Tip – Excess calcium supply is especially important after the first few weeks when she begins to lose her appetite.

Gravid Iguana females also need to exercise as much as possible to save their eggs easily. This includes giving her plenty of space to climb. You can add more climbing structures to its premises or take her out and let her roam around the house. Just make sure she doesn’t go anywhere unsafe.

Another thing was to make sure that she had enough heat resources. Gravid Iguana performs best when she is in the high range of its temperature preferences. This usually means that it needs about 94 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit in her enclosure.

You now understand that the gravid Iguana needs some extra care and attention during the gestation period.

Pregnant in Natural Habitat

Iguanas hatch from soft-shelled eggs. The Pregnant Iguana, when she is ready to lay her eggs, will find a sunny spot (to keep Eggs warm). She will then dig a burrow to gently place her eggs. Depending on her species she might lay a few eggs or she might lay dozens. Incubation time is different between species.

When the babies hatch they will crawl out of their nest. Trying to fend, survive, on their own.

Iguana Comprehensive Guide

Type of IguanaEgg GestationClutch / Number of EggsIncubationLifespanMature SizeWeightCost 
Green Iguana65 Days6590-120 Days10 Yrs12-17"8.8 Lbs$ 39 - $ 54
Mexican Spiny Tailed iguana65 Days5090 Days15 Yrs4'$ 174
Galápagos marine iguana28 Days2-395 Days60 Yrs2-3'1 - 3 Lbs?
Galápagos pink land iguana4-785-110 Days15 Yrs45"Endangered
Common Desert Iguana2-1090-120 Days14-17 Yrs24"2.5 oz$ 49.99
Black spiny-tailed iguana65 Days5090 Days15 Yrs5'Check
Blue Iguana84 Days1-2160-90 Days25-40 Yrs1-3'31 LbsEndangered
Rhinerous Iguana40 Days5-2020 Yrs54"3-20 Lbs$ 529- $579
Fiji Crested Iguana4 - 69 Months10-15 Yrs30".5 Lbs$ 1500 - $ 6000

Build a Nest:

The females want to dig underground and keep their eggs in the caverns they create. It will help if you have created a place to dig for your pregnant Iguana. To do this, first, you need to find a waterproof container, such as a trash can that can be tapped with a lid and a cut a hole in it. Add dirt to the container and place it in an area where Iguana can find it. With this help, a cave can be created as if it is in a forest.

Make sure your Iguana had the right type of soil to dig without easily filling the hole. A good option is to collect 14 quarts of sterile soil, a quarter of sterile sand, and nine cups of warm water. Please put them in a container and keep it in a warm area. Cover the opening with cloth because of Iguanas like privacy.

To do this, hold Iguana over the opening so he can look into it and smell it. If she feels comfortable, put her in a container. Soon she will start digging her place.

When it’s Time to Lay Eggs:

People are curious about what to expect when their eggs are laid. Generally, it takes 10-12 hours for gravid Iguana to lay all the eggs. An iguana can usually lay anywhere from one to 70 eggs, but it depends on the species.

For example, a green Iguana usually lays between 22-70 eggs, while a blue Iguana lays between one and 20 eggs. Larger Iguanas can lay more eggs than smaller ones, but this is not always the case.

Once pregnant Iguana has finished laying her eggs, she will emerge from her burrow and return to her basking region to rest. Make sure it is close, so she didn’t have to travel much. This will also help if you have some water and food available, such as leafy vegetables.

She will look very thin and delicate, so make sure she eats high calcium foods and continues with the supplement until she returns to her normal physiological condition.

Tip – Once she recovers, bring her to the veterinarian for a check-up. An iguana may have unlaid eggs still inside, and if left alone, they could cause health problems.

A veterinarian can safely remove the eggs if they are left inside.

What to Do with Eggs?

Unlike humans and other animals, Iguana does not have a strong maternal instinct. In the wild, Iguanas do not concern for their eggs, and once they hatch, they do not care for young Iguanas. It’s okay to take eggs and nest boxes out of the enclosure. Mother iguana will not miss them.

Should you Incubate Eggs?

Iguana’s rescue societies and other organizations that care for iguanas, rearing of hatchlings is discouraged. It is a challenge for the average person to provide the necessary care for dozens of Iguanas.

But maybe you’re your Iguana only lay one or two eggs, or you have space and time to get multiple Iguanas. If you decide to try, ensure that you wear surgical gloves when handling eggs. This will reduce the risk of infection in your eggs.

An easy way to make a homemade incubator is to get a plastic container with a lid and fill it with equal amounts of water and vermiculite. Put a hole in the lid. Take this incubator and put it in a watertight container filled with several inches of water (the aquarium works well here).

You can add blocks to the aquarium so that your incubator is not completely submerged. Keep the temperature about 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the aquarium lid slightly open. Ensure that you open your incubator for a few minutes each day.

Iguana Laying Eggs

Care of Hatchlings:

After about 95 to 120 days, the eggs will hatch. They may hatch earlier in some cases, so you may want to check back every few days. If you can maintain the proper conditions, you will have to hatch the baby in advance. Be sure to set up and prepare an enclosure for them and feed them yogurt milk during the first week to develop gut bacteria and prevent infections.

Young iguanas must be cared for like adults, but they will need a warm environment. You will need an enclosure with enough space for Iguana to climb and bask in the light. They need access to water sources and food, such as leafy vegetables. Young Iguana also needs more humid conditions, so set up a humidifier or spray your habitat with water a few times a day.

Young Iguana also needs socialization to become accustomed to humans. It’s okay to handle young Iguana but be careful when picking them up. You don’t want to hurt them or take them away from you and get lost in your home.

Iguana Hatclings

Health Problems Associated with Your Pregnant Iguana:

In most cases, if your pregnant Iguana is healthy and well cared for, you should have no problem laying eggs. However, concerned that she may become ill when the time comes or have difficulty laying eggs.

  1. The most common problem in gravid Iguanas is dystocia, also known as egg binding when the eggs bind inside and cannot survive. This can happen if Iguana doesn’t spend much time climbing and exercising, so it’s important to give her plenty of things to climb. You will notice that your Igona is becoming slower and less responsive to its surroundings. If the Iguana is suffering from dystocia, she will need a C-section and a hysterectomy. Some vets even recommend spaying of female Iguanas to avoid the possibility of binding eggs.
  2. As we discussed earlier, another common problem is Metabolic bone disease. Sometimes it isn’t easy to detect it because the doctor’s calcium test will show normal calcium levels on the gravid Iguana. However, her bones are getting weaker, and she will start showing symptoms. You will notice that she had a problem with the gums due to loosening her jaw or that he might break a bone while climbing.
  3. Other problems that can arise are infections that are common in Iguanas. These can include blood clots, bladder stones, and bacterial abscesses. If you are worried about your Iguana, be sure to contact your vet for advice.

Make sure your Pet Lizard is in the Best Condition.

Conclusion / Here are some signs of a Healthy Iguana:

  • Active and alert
  • Body and tail are filled out
  • Clear eyes
  • Clear vent
  • Healthy skin
  • The nose is free of discharge, aside from their salt excretion
  • Eats regularly

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