return to Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site
Recommended Diet for Captive Iguanas
(Taken from Maders Reptile Medicine)
All plant material is washed, chopped (a food processor is recommended), and thoroughly mixed. This will ensure a balanced diet in that all food items will be eaten, rather than just the favorite or tasty ones. Prepare enough for 4 to 7 days, store in the refrigerator between feedings, and served at room temperature or slightly warmer.
Hatchlings up to 14 inches in length:
Feed twice a day or provide continuous availability
Plant matter finely chopped or shreddedJuveniles up to 2.5 years or 3 feet in length:
Feed once a day
Plant matter fine to medium chopped or shreddedAdults over 2.5 years and 3 feet in length:
Feed Daily or every other day
Plant matter coarsely chopped
Ingredients: EACH MEAL contains ingredients from ALL FIVE of the following categories:
Minerals: Use powdered calcium carbonate ( cuttlebone shavings is one source) or calcium gluconate.
Mix 1 part vitamin and 2 parts mineral.
Hatchlings and juveniles: 1 small pinch per feeding
Adults: 1 full pinch per 2 lbs. body weight twice a week
Adult females: 1 full pinch per feeding from December until egg laying.
Groups: 1/8 tsp. Vitamin/mineral mix per 3 lbs. iguana per week
A comment about protein sources:This is a highly controversial area. Traditionally, animal protein sources have been recommended in the diets of iguanas. However, in the wild they are folivores, a type of vegetarian that eats primarily leaves. Some iguana books falsely claim that iguanas eat insects until they mature, then switch to a vegetarian diet as adults. This is not the case. They are vegetarians from birth even through they might occasionally accept unnatural foods, such as crickets or even mice in captivity. Even though animal protein sources traditionally have been recommended for iguanas, their necessity has not been scientifically documented. Protein should be supplied as a plant based source.
Protein sources to avoid:
Little nutritional value: crickets, mealworms, king mealworms
Too much protein and/or calcium: small pre-killed mice, primate diets, trout chow, dog and cat food
A comment about canned, frozen, and other commercial iguana diets:The advantage of these products is that they are easier to use than preparing a balanced salad several times a week. The disadvantage is that in spite of claims that the commercial diets are complete and balanced, they may not be so. The exact nutritional requirements for green iguanas have never been scientifically determined. Young, rapidly growing iguanas have dietary requirements that differ from those of mature adults, as in the case in puppies and mature dogs. Commercial iguana diets do not address this difference. The ingredients are items to which an iguana in the jungle would never have access. Likewise, symptoms from eating an unbalanced diet may take years to develop. Commercial iguana diets are unproven. They may have a role in iguana nutrition but should only be part of the diet until more is known.