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Old 12-14-17, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Desert Iguana question?

Hello. So I just got a desert Iguana. He’s in good health and everything is going good. His temps are good, he’s eating and is active, and he’s utilizing his hides.

I’m loving him, but he’s really not that tame.

He will freak out if I put my hand in his enclosure. When I get a hold of him, he starts squirming and trying to leap off me.

He’s still very young, he still has some streaks on him, which only the really young ones have.

Is there some way to “tame” him? I don’t need to man handle him 24/7 but it would be nice if he was just calm and tame for when I need to do maintainance on his enclosure and need to get him out.

Is this skittish attitude something that will he will grow out of once he’s older?

Any tips and information would be amazing, thanks everyone!
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Old 12-15-17, 09:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Desert Iguana question?

Hello KingKrush,

So awesome you got a desert iguana! These are truly a fascinating species, and most can certainly become tame over time. The first thing I am going to tell you is never to reach your hand into the enclosure, until he is familiar with his environment. It seems like you just got him, and as unbelievably tempting as it is, I urge you not to hold, pet, or touch your iguana for a period of 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks are over the taming process can begin. One thing that does not help this process is chasing him around the enclosure with your hand, he will not appreciate this, it will only make him scared of you. You're first mission is to try to get him to eat straight from a pair of tongs, this will help him understand you are not a threat. I also recommend keeping a worn shirt in his enclosure, this will help him familiarize your scent with a safe place, just make sure not to keep it anywhere where it could become too hot (the basking lamp). After you get him feeding from the tongs you can start leaving your hand in the enclosure for ten minutes at a time, keeping it perfectly still. Doing this will make your iguana curious, and he will come to investigate your hand soon. Keep in mind it may take awhile for him to do this, don't get discouraged! Once he is coming to your hand you can begin to handle him inside the enclosure, this will make sure he feels safe sense he is in a familiar place. Do this for 10 minutes. It is best not to ever pick up your iguana, it is much better when they come to you themselves. Once he is consistently coming to you to investigate, and is comfortable being handled, you can start to handle outside the enclosure. I recommend making sure you are close to the ground, and he has no place to escape, just in case he bolts off, put him back in his cage after 10 minutes. If you have gotten this far congratulations! Now the real fun can begin, you're iguana should start to like being handled! Keep in mind this could take months to do correctly, never move on to the next step, until you are completely done with the current one. As you're iguana ages, he will become increasingly comfortable with you as well. Mind if I ask a few questions? What size enclosure are you keeping him in? What are his temps day time, and night time? What light source are you using? (Desert iguana's need bright lights during the day to simulate a desert environment, it is also essential to have vitamin d3 in the enclosure by a UVB light). What diet do you have him on? Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully you can answer these questions.
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Last edited by DJC Reptiles; 12-15-17 at 09:43 AM..
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Old 12-15-17, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Desert Iguana question?

Hi there! Thank you so much for the response and detailed information! I will try your steps thoroughly

He’s in a 50 gallon tank. I will be upstanding to a bigger one once he’s older but he has plenty of space right now. He has 2 hides and a basking spot. It averages around 33 Celsius, and peaks at 36 Celsius during the day.

He’s got a light fixture with two 5.0 UVB lights

His diet Iv tried to vary it. He gets a salad mixture of mixed leafy greens (field greens, spinach, bok Choy) tomatoes, grapes, apples and oranges. All cut by hand into very tiny pieces so he can eat easily. He so far only will eat the greens and oranges and leaves everything else, but I’m going to introduce squash and seeds soon to see if he likes that.
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Old 12-15-17, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Desert Iguana question?

Awesome everything is looking okay! please make sure to keep me updated, desert iguanas are amazing, and don't get the credit they deserve. One more question that could impact your iguana is it's origin. Do you happen to know whether it is captive bred, or wild caught. A healthy desert iguana can be maintained regardless, especially if it is young. If the animal is wild caught, I do recommend a vet trip by getting a fecal sample test, this will make sure your animal is healthy. If you have any questions on how to do this, please don't hesitate to ask!
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Old 12-15-17, 10:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Desert Iguana question?

I bought him from a vendor at a reptile expo, I have no idea if he was wild caught or captive, is there a method to tell?
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Old 12-15-17, 11:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Desert Iguana question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKrush421 View Post
I bought him from a vendor at a reptile expo, I have no idea if he was wild caught or captive, is there a method to tell?
I recommend getting a fecal sample and taking it to get tested by a vet, this will make sure he doesn't suffer any health problems. (This may get a little gross), try to check on him daily until you find fresh fecal material in his cage, put it in a bag, and schedule an appointment with a herp veterinarian to take a look at any possible parasites. Until you schedule the appointment, leave the fecal material in a cool place like the fridge. Fecal tests can be expensive, so make sure you know what you're getting into. There could be ways of identifying whether or not it is wild caught, like looking for part of a missing tail, or checking for missing toes, (I don't recommend you do this, because you're pet is scared), however these methods are not always definitive so make sure you get the fecal material tested. For future reference don't be afraid to ask the origin of the animal, photos of the parents and what not. Wild caught animals are generally harder to maintain, and harder to gain trust. With proper time however, these guys will usually tame out quite nicely, and will make awesome partners, especially if started from a young age.
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