Iguanas are amazing and friendly pets to own if given proper care but you may ask how do I do that ? Let's start with feeding you Iggy, many people have a massive amount of trubble finding a good diet guide or find several conflicting opinions on diet but though time , experience and a pile of research here is the best way to go about it in my opinion .
First and most importantly NO MEAT EVER I'm aware some people say it's ok or good for them but it is not ether and here is why , iguanas are a herbivore a strict herbivore and not only is meat not necessary for the lizards entire life it's potentially very harmful and thare stomach is not even equipped to digest it and excessive consumption of animal protein results in severe kidney problems and possibly death witch to a pet owner who has grown to love thare Iggy is very sad so look at it this way if your iguana dose not need it and it can hurt it why give it to him ? That being said let's move on to what your Iggy can eat :)
Also no animal protein ether , this means no eggs , milk , meat, cheese or any other thing that came from and animal it's bad for Iguanas.
What an iguana can safely eat is actually a very BIG list but some things can be given every day and some can be given only sometimes while others it's better to just avoid all of witch have Good reason for this .
Lettice is something you should never feed them , it's not toxic or anything but it has no nutritional value and the ones that do don't have enough for an iguana and beond that iggs become lettice junkies very easy and if that happens your igg may actually starve despite eating as it will refuse other foods , I've seen it and it's a hard habit to break once it happens.
So I'll start with the short version , dark leafy greens make up most of the iggys diet while fruit , veggies and other greens make up the rest also iganas DO NOT get all of thare water from food and MUST have at least one water dish and preferably one other that that can soak in ( half as deep as your igg is tall , your iggs elbow is generally a good depth) and poop in ..... Ya thay poop in that water dishes it's gross but you get over it
Here is the long version ;)
Most iguanas will eat anything that smells and looks good and that can be positive and negative , for example : iguana beggs for your banana you then give in to those beady Amber eyes and give your igg some banana . This is 100% ok but say your igg begged more and more and stopped eating his daily greens and only wanted banana ? This would be bad and your iguana would start to lose weight or gain other health issues as iganas need a wide variety of foods to stay healthy and some are harmful if eaten to excess but don't beat yourself up too much iguanas are like children with thare food most times and I don't know any that won't stuff face with bananas all day and like children you gotta make Shure that thay eat thare greens .
Now before you have a list you should know how to prepare sed foods .... Simpley chop all foods so it easy fits on the iganas mouth ( 1/4 size of mouth works well for me ) , iguanas like biteing big mouthfuls of food thay enjoy so small peaces are a good idea for ease of feeding not to mention an igg can actually choke on a peace that's too big .
second detail, all of these foods need to be mixed .
For example : place in dish a mixture of chopped mustard greens, chopped mango , chopped water cress , and some grated butternut squash .
And the next day change it up ....
Mustard greens XD , chopped kale , chopped banana ..... And some strawberries ( also chopped) cuz you love your igg and he wants treats :)
I try to pick 3-4 from the list and I'll make most of the dish a staple/every day food ( about 60-80%) and the other 2 I'll mix a bit in say 15-20% each item
Or a leaf of one thing and a leaf of another ( kale and mustard have large leafs) plus a treat or fruit it depends on the day my iggs are redicululy spoiled .
Third detail : what are oxalates , goitrogens , phosphorus and why are they bad for my iganas ?
goitrogens: can bind iodine and cause hypothyroidism( yes iguanas get it too)
Oxalates: too much of this binds the calcium in the iguanas body making it so it will not absorb and this can be very serious , it can cause one of the dirty words of the reptile world .... Metabolic Bone Disease ... Very hard to cure and a horrible way to die .
Phosphorus: now this one is tricky , it's needed for and iguanas calcium metabolism but it needs perfect balance or MBD can happen so not too much not too little as such it's best to avoid foods high in phosphorus .
FOODS LIST :
Can feed every day :
Mustard greens , mango , acorn squash , butternut squash , alfalfa , collard greens , Cactus leaves (prickly pear) , Chicory greens (Escarole), dandelion greens , Kabocha squash, green beans , okra , snap peas , water cress , Parsnip , Turnip greens.
Stuff you give occasionally / every few days or weeks :
Bananas, asparagus, bell peppers , black berrys , cantaloupe , apples , carrots ( root) , cucumber, honeydew melon ( no seeds or rind ) , hibiscus , kiwi , parsley ,watermelon, pumpkin , raspberries, strawberries , sweet potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini.
Stuff that is only a treat or occasionally fed every few weeks or months cause it's high in unhealthy substance ( goitrogens, oxalates ,or phosphorus)
Foods are labeled with the initial of the substance.
Bread P , turnip greens G , tomatoes O , Swiss chard O , sweet potatoes O , spinach G , pears O , peaches G , mushrooms P , kale O&G , grapes O , cauliflower G , cabbage G , Brussels sprouts G , broccoli O , book choy G , beets & beet greens O .
Weard food you can give as a treat :
Cooked pasta , given plain and soft no crunching also make Shure it's not egg noodles , must be grain only otherwise it's a good treat .
Tofu , ya a said it and it seems odd as it gets but in tiny amounts it's an ok treat also it's actually a good food to mix in for an iguana who is skinny as it's VERY high in protein . I have used it with great success on two iguanas who were horribly skinny and both are now full fleshed and happy , remember however it's a treat even if you have a skinny one don't over do it as it will probably cause more harm than good .
Didn't think I'd forgotten did you ?
Ok see that smexy man thare .... He knows he is too ... That's Aztec my male green iguana he didn't get that handsome all on his own ( ok maybe a little) he took his vitamins and it literally helped save his life. Aztec is a rescue he was given to me by a friend who could not care for him and had hope I could save him , what was Rong is a long list of horrible care thanks to a horrible petstore ( I'll write a story about it later) but on point he had not had vitamins like D3 , calcium, probiotic ( not a vitamin but bear with me) , or any reptile multivitamin .... These are all very easy to find and get AND an iguana needs them to prevent MBD ( I know I sed it again but alot can cause it ..) , kidney failure, bad scales , poor color , scales not growing well, shedding problems , gut problems .... Well in truth I'll stop thare cus the list will get LONG fast so long story short vitamins good no vitamins badddd .
Calcium : needed for bone , scale, claw, horn/spike(some lizards have this) ECT to all grow properly or even regrow if your igg lost his tail ( the new one will never be as pretty).And it's parimount in avoiding MBD ( ya ya I know but it's inportant)
Sprinkle some on the iguanas meal once or twice a week
D3 : iganas need this for calcium metabolism , thay can't absorb calcium without it . Naturally iguanas get D3 from the sun but no matter how much we take them outside it's almost not possible to recreate this so we make do with edible suppliements and UVB/UVA bulbs
You can get this in calcium powders and reptile multivitamins and same as calcium it's once or twice a week at the same time as calcium
Reptile multivitamin: has all the good stuff vitamins A,B12,D3,beta carotene,thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and many more to keep your iguana healthy and happy . Many vitamins will also give your igg a brighter more vibrant color and a whole lot more energy in some cases. I've found this as a spray from zilla and you just spray it once or twice directly on the food and I use it around every other time I feed the iguanas .
Probiotics: iguanas need them too especially captive ones and the biggest reason is baby and juvenile iguanas are not born with probiotics in thare gut so in the wild thay solve this problem by eating the droppings of the adults but in captiveity that is not really possible , you can get a stool tested for parisites from an adult iguana at some exotics vets or you can find a probiotic for people called acidophilus it's the only one I know of that works on iguanas other probiotics do not work because Iguanas have a fermentation gut and the bacteria are only for plant matter other probiotics do not set and culture in thare gut and just die off .
Without probiotics a large number of baby iggs never make it to thare first year ( this is not the only reason but it is a big one) and a good number of other Iguanas would be much healthyer with a probiotic pick me up .
Acidophilus comes in capsules (I find them at Dollar tree 20-40 capsules) , open a capsule ( you can just pull it open) and sprinkle a bit on top of the iggs food once or twice a month for adults and every few days for baby's .
Well that should cover it , I hope I didn't miss anything and don't eat my soul if I did .
I really hope this helps anyone who was having trubble with Iguanas menu options and care