Before we discuss the iguana's diet, let's take a look at the reptile first. Iguanas like to eat fruits, leaves and flowers. They are able to do this by ripping the items with their razor-sharp teeth. This reptile can become quite large, weighing in at about 20 pounds and growing to approximately 4.9 feet long.
Iguanas are herbivores, which simply means that they only eat plants. Novice owners often mistakenly give their iguanas bugs, which can not be tolerated by the digestive system of the iguana. This is because, unlike the gecko, the iguana's body can not process food that is rich in protein. Eating bugs can make an iguana very sick so they should not be offered to the iguana.
Many times a new owner will think that it is OK to feed their iguana food that is meant for their other pets in the household. It is vital that you never, ever feed your reptile food that was meant for a cat or dog as they can contain animal proteins. Eggs should also be avoided because of the extra proteins as well as cholesterol. Dairy products, such as milk and cheese should also be avoided as they can not be tolerated by the digestive system.
So what do iguanas eat that is best suited to their specific digestive needs? The largest part of its diet should be green vegetables. Feeding your pet okra, beans and peas are also excellent ideas. Although uncommon, it is a good idea to add mangos and cactus leaves to the diet when possible. For an occasional treat, feed your iguana food that is grain based and fruits.
There are also plants that can be poisonous and should be avoided, such as rhubarb and other plants that grow in the wild. If you do not know what the plant is, it could be poisonous due to the spraying of herbicides.
Some iguana owners plant their own supply of iguana food. This can be a good idea, both for safety and savings. While lettuce is green, it should be avoided as it has too few nutrients to add anything to the iguana's diet.
You should add new plants to your pet's diet gradually. You can expect that your pet may dislike fruits that have a lot of acidic properties such as tomatoes, pineapples and oranges. While a food such as tofu can be given, it should be done in servings that are small.
It is also important that calcium and phosphorus be given at a 2:1 ratio in order to give the reptile strong bones. If these two are imbalanced, your pet is likely to develop Metabolic Bone Disease. The good news is that you will be able to feed your pet a mixture of plants to obtain the correct ratio.
It is important that all pets are given fresh water as this will aid in digestion. Whether you choose to spray the water on their meal or given them a bowl of water, they will be healthier and happier for it.