Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Here is an informative article with valuable information.
An excerpt from the Federation of British Herpetologists 1st Annual Conference
25th October 2003.

Zoonotic Diseases - Are Reptiles the Real Threat to Human Health?.
Dr. Mike Allen. ?003 Claire May-MillerThe speaker was Dr Mike Allen. Mike informed the meeting that for the past 25 years he has been actively involved in clinical research in the fields of critical care and infectious diseases. His comprehensive talk included a review of the scientific literature regarding zoonotic diseases, with particular reference to the risks to human health posed by salmonella carriage in reptiles. Zoonotic diseases are defined as "those infections which are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and humans" and as Mike was able to illustrate during his talk, reptiles are probably the least of our worries as far as zoonotic diseases are concerned.

What follows is only an outline of his talk, as it was not possible for the present author to take notes of all the facts and figures presented by Dr. Allen in the form of diagrams and graphs, although he has kindly assisted with this manuscript to ensure its accuracy and has made available some interesting tables and figures from his talk, which are included here.

Antibiotic Resistance - the major threat today
Mike's research interests include the in-depth study of antibiotic resistance, and in particular the rise of the so-called "super bugs". For the past 3 years Mike has been a member of a national working party of infectious disease specialists responsible for bacteraemia (infections caused by bacteria in the blood) antibiotic resistance surveillance. This working party publishes its results on a regular basis (peer-reviewed medical journals and at international and national medical congresses) and reports to Government agencies.

There are an estimated 100,000 cases of "Hospital-Acquired Infection" (HAI) per annum in the UK; HAI causes 5,000 deaths a year, and costs the NHS an estimated ? billion. The most problematic bacteria are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), glycopeptide resistant Enterococci (GRE) and Clostridium difficile. The Department of Health, the Health Protection Agency and the National Audit Office are some of the bodies collecting data about the incidence of these infections in the UK.

Probably the most clinically significant and life threatening infections are bacteraemias. However, Mike presented the bacteraemia data from SCIEH (Scotland) for Quarter 3, 2002. Only 9 of the 2525 (0.36%) bacteraemias were caused by Salmonella (from any source). These figures mirror those reported by other national agencies. These data clearly illustrate that the threat to human health posed by Salmonella is not supportive of argument peddled by those opposed to the keeping of reptiles. Furthermore, salmonellosis is only one of many zoonotic diseases that threaten human health. Of the commonly kept pets, mammalian species harbour many more diseases harmful to humans than do reptiles. To illustrate this point, Mike presented data taken directly from the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) website. It can be seen clearly from Table 1, that Salmonella is the only disease the CDC attributes to reptiles. However, a multitude of serious diseases (including Salmonella) can be contracted by humans from cats, dogs and rodents.
TABLE 1: Diseases Acquired From Pet Species (Ref: )



Campylobacter Brucella canis Infection BSE (mad cow disease) Salmonella Infection
Cat Scatch Disease Campylobacter Infection Brucellosis
Cryptosporidium Cryptosporidium Infection Campylobacter Infection
Hookworm Giardia Infection Cryptosporidium Infection
Leptospira Infection Hookworm E. coli 0157
Plague Leptospirosis Rabies
Q Fever Lyme Disease Ringworm
Rabies Q Fever Salmonellosis
Ringworm Rabies Yersinia enterocolitica
Roundworm Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Salmonellosis Roundworm
Tapeworm Salmonellosis
Toxocara Infection Tapeworm
Toxoplasmosis Toxocara Infection
Chris Newman with Mike Allen. ?003 Steve Woodward Unlike Salmonella, infections caused by GRE and MRSA are major causes of serious infection and significant mortalities in humans. Mike explained that GRE are an international health problem. These bacteria are readily recovered from farm and domestic animals (e.g. cats and dogs), sewag

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sexing Iguanas.

Sexing Iguanas.

A great information site on sexing iguanas
Reliable sexing of Iguanas especially when young can be difficult, and in most cases sexing young Iguanas can only be done in certainty by an experienced reptile veterinarian who can tell by an examination called "probing the cloacal vent"
However as they get older and nearer maturity...maybe between 1 and 2 yrs of age, then there are some signs that you can look for to help in sexing


In the pictures above one Iguana is male and one is female.
A male Iguana usually has a bigger head, sub tympanic shield (the large scales on the cheeks), spines, dewlap and generally a larger head and appearance altogether, it also has what some people term as brain bumps, these are the large fleshy bumps on the top of the head and behind the eyes, these are far more pronounced in a male, and also the jowls, which is the area around the subtympanic shield, are far more pronounced and puffy sort of inflated in a male but flat in a female.
So from the pictures above it would be obvious that the male is on the left hand side.

Femoral pores are also a good indicator in an adult Iguana (see pictures below)

This is the same picture duplicated, but the picture on the right has been digitally altered to give a clearer view of a female Iguanas femoral pores.
In a male Iguana the femoral pores exude a waxy substance clearly seen in this photo, and the Iguana uses this to mark its territory or to lay down scent, and he does this by dragging and almost chalking the waxy substance across the floor or branches.
A female Iguana on the other hand, has no substance growing from the femoral pores, so they look very much smaller and sometimes just like a row of dots or small warts in a female Iguana.
So the femoral pores are found along the inside of the Iguana's thighs and are much more pronounced in a male.

Two final definite differences.

Of course there are two certain indicators that can leave no doubt at all in the owners mind.

One, In the picture above a male Iguana is exposing the hemipenes (A male Iguanas reproductive organs)

Two, If the Iguana is gravid or has laid eggs then that too leaves absolutely no doubt as to the gender.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

More on Green Iguanas

The ownership of a Green Iguana is not to be taken lightly and certainly not to be just purchased on a whim, they are not too difficult to look after but do need some care and attention and can run to some expense with special lights for UVB, basking and heating A large habitat is also required for all but the very young Iguana....So to summarize I would say The Green Iguana is not a beginners or young Childs pet, but for someone with the time care and funds available, it can be the making of a good few years of enjoyment.


Two excellent books on the market today for reference are "Green Iguana The ultimate owners manual" by James W Hatfield 111, Dunthorpe press ISBN ref 1-883463-48-3,
and "Iguanas for Dummies" by Melissa Kaplan, IDG books ISBN ref 0-7645-5260-0,
Also Melissa Kaplan has what is probably the most extensive site on the web, with probably every Iguana subject covered
Our own UK forums at The Ark Reptile Group, are monitored daily..feel free to post and we will endeavour to get an answer to you as quickly as poss..if looking for a quick answer please mark your post urgent!

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Here is important info on snake mites.

The Life Cycle of the Snake Mite,
Identification and Methods of Treatment

The main part of this article was written by Chris Jordan, © 2001 (reproduced with permission) as part of an assignment for a Foundation Course in Herpetology.

The Life Cycle of the Snake Mite
At the egg stage in the life of a common snake mite, Ophionyssus natricis, it is impossible to tell whether the mite is male or female, although unfertilised eggs will become male and fertilised ones will turn out female. It is easy to tell whether a mite is an egg or not as eggs obviously have no legs and can not move. The eggs are off-white to tan in colour and oval. They are 300 - 400 microns in length and 200 - 300 microns in width. Newly laid eggs, which are often found in clusters on a surface in the tank, are sticky and as the egg develops, one end of it gets darker.

The next stage from an egg for a snake mite is as a larva. Larvae only have six legs, as opposed to eight seen on all other stages so can easily be distinguished from other stages. The developing fourth set of legs can be seen to be crescent-shaped structures behind the third (back) pair of legs. The larvae are small - measuring approximately 400 microns by 250 microns - white and fragile and last only 18 - 24 hours. Sex cannot be determined at this stage by looking at them.

Next comes the stage of protonymph. They are a similar size to the larvae (around 400 microns by 250 microns), but they have developed a fourth set of legs and the other legs can be seen to be longer, especially the first pair. Unfed protonymphs are pale ivory or yellowish in colour, they are almost invisible to the naked eye, but when engorged after a blood meal, protonymphs are dark red in colour, but not black and smaller than adult females. They also appear to be more segmented. The chelicerae (fanglike appendages near the mouth of the mite) are well developed for piercing the reptile’s skin so they can feed on the blood. The second, third and fourth pairs of legs are spaced evenly around the body for balance and fast movement. The first pair come out at the front, facing forwards, and contain sensory receptors so are used as ‘antennae’. They appear to have ‘claws’ at the end of the legs used to hang on to their host while feeding. There is no sign of sexual dimorphism at this stage of the mite’s life.

The fourth stage is of deutonymph. The chelicerae are less well developed and do not look as if they can pierce skin - from this I can conclude that the mite do not feed during this stage of development. The density of setae (stiff hairs) on the body appears to be less than on the protonymphs or adults. The deutonymphs are larger in size than the protonymphs - the body is around twice the size although the legs are similar in length - and are dark in colour (dark red to black) and soft-bodied. When examined microscopically, the body shape is like a thumbprint. Sex at this stage can only be determined from the mite’s lifestyle and habits (but not from the physical appearance): deutonymphs destined to become adult males often hang on to the back of those which will develop into adult females.

The final stage of development for a snake mite is to become an adult. Adults are larger than any other stage and are ‘hairy’ in appearance (covered in setae). Both sexes have a tapered, scleritized body and are tan in colour, although fully engorged males are yellow to dark red or black and fully engorged females are dark red to black. Fully engorged males are only slightly wider than unfed males, whereas fully engorged females are rounded and can exceed 1300 microns in length. This difference in engorged colour and body shape can be used to tell males apart (i.e. if an adult mite is dark red - engorged - but still quite thin, it is male, but a female would be tanned when she was thin, so if she was dark red, she would be round). The adult male mite appears to have long antennae-like structures protruding from the head from between its chelicerae (the mouth part of mature males may be modified to be used in mating), which also seem to be longer. Like all stages after the larvae, the adult mites have eight legs.

The Problems caused by Snake Mites.
Snake mites, Ophionyssus natricis, are an arachnid ectoparasite of snakes and other reptiles. They cause problems by sucking the blood of their host, they cause skin problems, aggravate and disturb the reptile and transmit serious diseases from the mite to the reptile. In addition to this mites can be very difficult to eliminate once they are introduced to a captive snake collection and can travel freely and a long way for their size so can spread quickly to the rest of the collection.

The mites feeding on the blood of a reptile can cause many problems for the reptile. Heavily infested snakes may become dehydrated, lethargic, anaemic and suffer from chronic debility from blood loss.

An infestation of mites may lead to dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) in the affected reptile, which may become aggravated, disturbed and restless, seeking relief by lying in water to try and reduce the ‘itchiness’. The reptile’s skin at mite feeding sites often becomes swollen from a build up of blood or serous fluid. A skin hypersensitivity reaction to mites’ saliva has been reported in boids.
In pit vipers, inflammation and impaction of the loreal pits, the thermal sensitive pits, has been noted as a consequence of mite infestations.

The lifestyle of the snake mite - feeding once as a protonymph and then several times as an adult - means it can transmit infectious agents both mechanically and biologically (as it can pick up a disease between feeds and transmit diseases from snake to snake etc). Thus the snake mite is thought to be responsible for the transmission of several blood-borne viral, bacterial (Aeromonas hydrophila septicaemia) and filariid (round worms) pathogens of snakes.

According to the website, at 86F, gravid engorged female mites looking for a place to lay eggs can travel at a speed of up to 20 cm per minute, up to 12 metres in an hour, and they may travel several hours looking for a good place to deposit eggs. Unfed females can crawl up to a rate of 28 cm per minute - almost 17 metres per hour. Just travelling for a couple of hours, mites can go considerable distances from their host snakes. They easily can pass through the ventilated surface of a cage and travel to another area of a snake collection in that room or even another area of the house. This means that the mites can spread throughout the collection and their rapid lifecycle means the population increases rapidly, so a small infestation can soon turn into a large, potentially fatal one.

As well as affecting the reptiles they are living on, cases of severe dermatitis on humans from snake mite protonymphs have been recorded. This is an obvious problem for reptile keepers whose reptiles have mites.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Many reptiles are carriers of Salmonella, it is a part of "who" they are and it is not possible to thoroughly rid them of it without compromising their health. Only in rare cases, does Salmonella make the reptile itself sick.

The same as we take precautions with our furry friends (cats, dogs, etc) we must also take precautions with our scaly friends. It is a simple matter to prevent the spread of these microbes from animal to human. In fact, it is possible that your 'Fido' or 'Mittens' is a carrier of Salmonella as well.

The answer is Common Sense, & prevention with any animal we invite into our homes.

What IS Salmonella?

Salmonella is one kind of bacteria. It can cause one of the Most Common forms of food-poisoning.
It is considered a "self-limiting" disease. That means that it will usually resolve itself with no medical treatment. Many people do not even realise that they have been infected, it is usually that mild and short-lived.
Symptoms of infection are abdominal cramps, diaorrhoea, + fever. It lasts from 2- 7 days and is done.
US records state that 80% of all reported cases of Salmonella are FOOD-RELATED, only 2- 7% are reptile related. You are far more likely to get Salmonella from food than you are from any animal, including reptiles.
As with any form of infection, there is the possibility of becoming quite ill. This is a possibility, not a probable occurrence. Complications arise when the infected person has a weakened immune system to begin with and / or seeking medical attention is delayed. Dehydration is the most common complication of Salmonella.


In any environment where there are very young children, This includes classrooms, child-care centres, as well as homes. Besides having an immature immune system, young children cannot be totally relied upon to remember to practice good hygiene on a consistent basis.
In any environment where there are elderly people. As we age, our immune system tends to weaken.
In any environment where there is a chronically ill person because they are more susceptible to begin with.

Children under 12 years of age should not handle any reptile without proper adult supervision.

People with immature or weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to any infection, not merely Salmonella. Reptiles do not belong in just anyone's home, the same as dogs/cats do not belong in just anyone's home.

Common Sense + Good Hygiene = Prevention

Always assume that ALL reptiles carry salmonella and Always practice good hygiene and prevention. WASH YOUR HANDS after handling either the reptile itself, or ANY of it's equipment such as food/water bowls.
Reptile's food/water dishes or other equipment should NEVER be placed on any surface where human food preparation occurs WITHOUT PROPERLY DISINFECTING THOSE SURFACES AFTERWARDS.
Reptiles should never be allowed in any food preparation areas.
Extra care should be taken where reptiles are allowed to free-roam.. The Salmonella bacteria can survive for weeks on inorganic materials such as the carpet, the sofa, your shirt!, etc.


Washing your hands is the single most important thing you can do to prevent infection ~ of ANY kind!

To be effective, it is vital to wash your hands for a MINIMUM of 30 seconds, working up a good lather, making sure you rub and scrub every surface of your hands, fingers, wrists. Don't forget under your nails! (It helps to think of a surgeon preparing to enter the operating room while doing this ~ get every millimetre of skin clean!)

The use of antibacterial soap is optional. It is the physical action of rubbing that removes germs and a plain old bar of soap IS effective IF you are thoroughly scrubbing your hands. (There is no proof, as yet, that antibacterial products / soaps are contributing to resistant strains of bacteria. It is the over-use of Anti-biotic drugs that IS a concern.)

Thoroughly clean and disinfect every surface that a reptile or it's equipment has touched. This includes the sink, the worktop, etc. where you prepared it's food if it means its had it's plate on your worktop! Don't forget the bathtub if your reptile uses it, or if you use the bathtub to clean the reptile's equipment.


While there are many, many commercial products available, keep in mind that they are toxic to humans and animals, as well as toxic to germs.

An effective, safe and inexpensive method uses vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide. All you need are 2 new spray bottles, one for the peroxide and one for the vinegar (plain or cider). Do not dilute either. Spray the surface with one, then the other. It doesn't matter which you spray first, just as long as you use one right after the other. It is not as effective to mix the 2 in one bottle, they need to remain separate.

Studies show this method to be MORE EFFECTIVE at killing bacteria than any commercially available cleanser, on all surfaces, including wooden cutting boards. It is also a safe + effective way to clean any fruits or vegetables that are generally eaten raw. Spray the food with each bottle, rinse with running water. There shouldn't be any lingering vinegar or peroxide taste and neither substance is toxic to you if small amounts do remain on the surface.

OR ...

Another extremely effective method uses a chlorine bleach solution. Mix 1 part bleach to 15 parts water. (A weaker solution should be used if using this directly on the animal's enclosure and this is NOT recommended for untreated

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Morticia and Gomez Iguana pictures

This is a picture of me with my best friend Gomez. He lets me scratch my belly on his spines

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Picking Out A Reptile That's Right For You

Picking Out A Reptile That's Right For You
When picking out a pet lizard, the two most important things are: (1) getting a lizard that is right for you, and (2) picking out a happy, healthy animal. Here are some guideline to help you.
How to pick out a reptile pet that is right for you:

Do research ahead of time to get some ideas of reptile pets that would suit your lifestyle. For example, consider such things as: how much space you have for an enclosure and which animals would thrive in an enclosure that size; whether you want a pet you can handle often, or one that is mostly interesting to observe in the terrarium; whether you would most enjoy the company of a diurnal (most active in the daytime) or nocturnal (mostly nighttime) reptile; what feeding habits you are comfortable with - insects, worms, mice, vegetables, pellets - and which animals eat your desired choice.

It is also advisable to educate yourself about the care needs of your animal before you purchase it. Whenever possible, have its enclosure all set up ahead of time so the the animal can go right into its new home. Your new reptile pet will need some time to adjust to its new surroundings, so you will want to avoid handling the reptile unnecessarily for at least 48 hours.

When looking at a prospective reptile:

Look for an alert, responsive reptile; lethargic, passive animals are often ill. Eyes should be bright, round and clear. If you have the opportunity to handle the reptile, it should have a firm grip and good body weight.

Examine mouth and nostrils for liquid discharge or bubbles - note: a white crust or powder around the nostrils is usually just normal salt expellation.

Listen to the reptile's breathing for any rattling sound or other indicator of chest congestion. Respiratory infections can be deadly and often occur in animals travelling in cold weather and other stressful conditions.

Examine limbs for strange bumps (tumors/infection) or "bent" bones (an indicator of metabolic bone disease), check toes and tail - it is not uncommon for reptiles to be missing toes or the tip of their tails, just be sure any wounds are well-healed. "Nose rub" often occurs in travelling or shipped animals, but watch out for infected-looking nose or snout wounds.

Avoid reptiles with sunken eyes, protruding hipbones, prominent spine or tailbones; these are indicators of malnourishment and/or dehydration.

Make sure you get an reptile who is eating properly. Always ask when the reptile last ate, and what the meal was. If possible, request to see the reptile eat for yourself - be aware that this may require you to return at the reptile's regular feeding time.

Examine areas near "ears," under armpits and any skin folds for mites or ticks.

"Captive bred" reptiles are usually more desireable than "wild caught" reptiles. With captive breeding, the history of the animal has been monitored; with wild-caught reptiles you do not know what diseases, parasites, and conditions the animal has been exposed to, and it can be difficult and stressful for a wild-caught reptile to adjust to captivity. Additionally, captive breeding does not diminish the natural populations of wild animals or support the reptile-gathering trade - a topic of much contoversy. Some species of reptiles are not yet available through captive-breeding programs, so wild-caught would be the only option in that case.

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, choose an animal you feel a "connection" with. This may sound silly, but just like a cat or dog, each reptile has its own distinct little personality. You'll want to find one that right for you.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Green Iguana,


The Green Iguana,

An arboreal lizard, mainly from the South & Central American rain forests, sometimes seen in captivity in the reptile houses of zoo's and wildlife parks, the Iguana is a large colourful lizard, mostly mottled shades of green in colour with varying black banding on the body and tail. Most Iguanas can learn to become tame with regular handling and petting. Males when adult can be territorial, and usually do better kept separate from other males. Iguanas have been known to show some aggression and for this reason they are not recommended as an ideal reptile purchase for beginners or children.


Use full spectrum 5% "UVB" lighting around 12 hours per day, which mimics natural sunlight, this is a special reptile tube light, (Reptisun, Zoomed, T-Rex etc) and not the cheaper horticultural Gro-Lux type which are of no use for UVB output. (for maximum effect change every 6 months).
Provide a spot-lit basking area with access to a cooler area, (Gradient).
Supply branches and logs for climbing and exploring, making sure there is nothing the Iguana could trap or snag its claws on.
Heating pads can help maintain the required temperature from below, and are a useful supplement especially during cold weather.
Note: experiments are continuing throughout 2005/06 into UVB and which is the best tube/lamp to use, until these investigations are written then the normal 5% UVB tube is recommended.


Both sexes can benefit from frequent handling to help with taming, they will sometimes initially struggle to get free, but are also known to actually enjoy being stroked or rubbed on the body and will sometimes sit still for a while and accept this petting, care should be taken during breeding season when behaviour (in particular of males) can be erratic, and so common sense would be to avoid the facial area, avoid leaving Iguanas with unsupervised children and generally keep your eyes on them at all times especially around fingers arms legs or feet.


Green Iguanas are arboreal lizards (tree dwelling) they inhabit the Tropical rain forests of South and Central America at reasonably low altitudes of up to 1,000 metres, (High altitudes being too cold).
In captivity adult Iguana's require a habitat, compound, den, vivarium, call it what you will, of at least 6' x 5' x 4'.
more space is always better whenever possible.


Daytime temperatures should be:
Basking area around 85-95 degrees F.
Cool area 75-85 degrees F.
Night temperatures can fall to around 70 degrees, even perhaps lower, as long as they are able to warm up in the morning.
Extra care should be taken during times of power cuts / failure, try to give this some thought so you are prepared if need be.
Basking area temp may be a little higher, as long as the Iguana is able to move to a cooler spot to thermoregulate.


Iguana's require moderate to high levels of humidity.
You can help achieve this by misting the vivarium every other day, spray misting the Iguana himself and frequent bathing.
A large dish of water in his habitat will also help with this process through evaporation.
Humidity also helps considerably with the shedding process of Iguanas.


Supply a large fairly deep water dish for drinking, with fresh water provided daily.
Note: If the Iguana also uses this for bathing, then be aware that they have a strong tendency to defecate in water, it seems to have a laxative effect on them, therefore it will need replacing on a more regular basis. .


Two very important anatomical features.
First, Thermoregulation.
An Iguana (as with all cold blooded species) cannot generate its own body heat, and so must thermoregulate, by moving in and out of hot and cooler spots (gradients) to maintain the correct body temperature.
Hence the different temperature zones indicated in TEMPERATURE above.
Secondly, Metabolism.
Iguanas need UVB light (in the absence of natural sunlight) to convert Vitamin D into its active form, in this active form it can then assist in the absorption of calcium into the body.
So sunlight or in the absence of it, at least 12 hours of full spectrum light (UVB) is required daily to ensure your Iguana remains healthy.
This together with a good calcium intake and the required warmth will prevent the occurrence of MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease).
A good varied diet should ensure the required calcium levels are taken up, but if in any doubt then a commercial calcium / vitamin supplement (sprinkled on food) may be given occasionally as a top up, or at times such as, when females are gravid, if you have a picky eater, or if the Iguana has a loss of appetite due to breeding condition, change of surroundings etc.
Further more detailed anatomy information is available on the Ignatomy page.


Most Iguanas can become tame to some degree, with regular handling and petting.
Males can be territorial, and usually do better kept separate from other males.
Behaviour is sometimes erratic during breeding season when extra care should be taken in handling, due to some having the tendency to become more aggressive at this time.
Iguanas are normally lethargic creatures, and can become even more so by a number of happenings, such as, a change of habitat or owner, being handled by a different person, breeding season, a change in diet, or indeed anything out of the norm.
They are creatures of habit and tend to sulk if this is disturbed in anyway, but usually the appetite and normality returns after a short break.


This section is intended to help with initial identification of these problems, if problems persist or if they appear serious then veterinarian advice should be sought. The only person able to diagnose disease and prescribe medication is a veterinarian. (see vet's page for help in locating one)

Sadly the one most commonly associated with Iguanas MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease) need not exist, if owners took all the necessary steps in the care, diet, and housing of their iguanas.
Calcium, warmth and UVB lighting prevent MBD from occurring, but sometimes when an Iguana has been rescued or received from an unwanted situation, where care has not been a priority, then the signs of this disease can be apparent.
The good news is it can mostly be reversible depending on severity, especially in early cases, with the Iguana going on to lead a near normal life.
Signs are....swollen limbs, receding jaws that look out of line from the side, dragging of legs, spongy areas around the mouth and in severe cases, deformed bones and a twisted lumpy spine.
Consider prevention of this disease your duty (makes it easy to remember)...
Diet, UVB, Temperature, You to ensure they receive it, Therefore resulting in no problems with MBD.

Mites...Little creatures usually no bigger than a full stop "....."
they can hide under your Iguanas scales, in the neck creases, dewlap folds and around the eyes and feed on their blood.
Mites can be hard to get rid of due to the number of hiding places available in the habitat.
There are many mite eradication preparations now available, but they must be used in combination with cleanliness to be effective.
Get a veterinarians diagnosis if you suspect mites but are unsure.
Mite information page.

Worms...Intestinal parasites, Can sometimes be seen like a tiny light coloured thread "~~~~" moving in the faeces.
A faecal examination from a vet can confirm the infection.
Fairly easy to treat, a first dose to kill off the parasites present, with a follow up dose around 2 weeks later to catch any hatched eggs should do the trick, again while being treated cleanliness is a must to prevent re-infection.
Veterinarians diagnosis should be required to confirm.

Tail (loss of)...Although not an illness as such, it does happen and can be a worrying sight for an Iguana's owner, so for a brief explanation.
The Iguanas tail is designed to come away easily, but unfortunately cannot be re-attached.
It is generally thought to be an escape mechanism in the wild, where a predator can be left with the tail while the Iguana makes its escape.
Because of this, never try to catch or hold your Iguana by its tail.
Loss of tail is mostly something that happens to juvenile Iguanas and is normally re-grown, but to a lesser size and colour than before, it usually heals ok but monitor for signs of infection and keep clean while healing.
Stomatitis (Mouthrot)...An illness which can if left untreated eventually be fatal! It usually presents by bleeding gums, a greeny/grey cheesy substance noticeable when yawning or eating, and a lack of appetite. Treatment consists of Antibiotics (sometimes 2 types combined) and removal of the caseous plaque from the injured mouth, needless to say a Veterinarian is needed to oversee this treatment. Causes can be an injury to the mouth allowing the bacteria to enter the wound, soft gums due to lack of UVB or a generally run down unhealthy Iguana.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Iguana RAIN.

Just go to google and do a search for Iguana Rain, great site,thanks.

Iguana RAIN.

The Iguana Rescue Adoption & Information Network.

raintitle.gif - 47644 Bytes

Iguana RAIN was formed around 1998 By Des & Sue, to assist people with re-homing Iguanas or just to offer advice to people with Iguana related queries.

It has recently gone through a re vamp and we are now once again able to assist people with Iguana problems or who are looking for Iguana related information.

The Main Iguana RAIN site is available here
Iguana RAIN

There is a RAIN Web Ring that joins together sites giving out correct and proper Iguana care information or details on re-homing, see how to join here
RAIN Web Ring

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Caring For Your Green Iguana Iguana Growth Chart

Caring For Your Green Iguana
Iguana Growth Chart
Age (years)

snout-vent length (inches)

snout-tail length (inches)

Weight (Lbs.)



Under 1 lb.





















*growth decreases to a very slow rate after iguanas reach about 72 inches

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Iguana Answers

Iguana Answers

Do they make good pets..?...
First of all an Iguana is not the type of lizard to make an ideal pet, they can grow to 5 or 6 feet long can get aggressive during breeding season and need very exacting requirements...for more information read on!

Do they get bigger..?...
Iguanas can grow very quickly. In just a couple of years they can go from a few inches to two or three feet !!, and can ultimately reach 5 or even 6 feet long!! this means you need to plan ahead as to space required now and space required soon!

How long do they live..?...
Iguanas can if treated correctly and fed the correct diet, reach an age of 15 or even older! look on it as a long term pet.

What do they eat..?...
Iguanas are vegetarians (Herbivores). No matter what you hear or read elsewhere, and should be fed a diet of mixed greens. An occasional treat of fruit or flowers, but definitely no meat!! (See care sheet page for full listing of foods)

Can they eat Mice Crickets and Cat Food..?...
As an opportunist feeder an Iguana might try some of these if offered by the owner, but feeding animal protein of any sort can lead to an early death through kidney/Liver failure. This means NO crickets, mealworms, dog or cat food, or baby mice EVER !! A lot of Iguanas have been dying at around 6 - 8 yrs old due to owners feeding animal protein.....any vet worth his salt will nowadays tell you this is outdated information for these herbivores.

Do they need special lights..?...
If you have taken an Iguana into your care then you have a responsibility to ensure it gets the correct care.
Assuming you do not live in a very sunny climate where your Iguana has access to outdoor sunshine daily, you will need a proper 5% UVB tube light for reptiles (not the plant grow light type) which will require changing every 6 months, and a basking light to maintain a correct basking temperature.

Do they need water..?...
Iguanas must have a fresh supply of drinking water daily, you might not see them drinking regular but it needs to be there for when they do....and most also like to bathe in tepid water frequently. Dehydration can be a killer!

Do they need special temperatures..?...
They need a basking spot temperature of around 90 degrees (top maximum 98) with a drop to around 75 degrees for the other area (can be a little cooler at night) this is called a temperature gradient and is important in case the Iguana is too hot and needs to move to a cooler spot (this action is called thermoregulation).

What about a branch to climb on..?...
Iguanas are indeed arboreal (tree dwelling) in natural habitat and enjoy a branch or two to climb on in captivity, this can also enhance a bare habitat to a more pleasing effect, help relieve boredom and assist to maintain good muscle structure through exercise.

Can they get aggressive..?...
Iguanas are normally well behaved even timid creatures mostly, but can become aggressive if suddenly startled and also during their breeding season (always be very careful near fingers or face just in case)

Do they have teeth..?...
Yes Iguanas do have teeth, they are small but razor sharp and are used to perforate the leaves they eat, which they can then just tear off like a postage stamp. See page titled Teeth

Do they vary in colour..?...
Colour is variable shades of green with black banding to a greater or lesser degree, even the same Iguana can vary at different times of day, depending on his mood, or if in the sun. They can also get shades of orangey brown during the breeding season and a greyish colour when about to start a shed (shedding their skin).

Where do they originate from..?...
In the wild Iguanas are mainly from the South American rainforests, with some populations in Central America and there are also now wild feral populations in Puerto Rico & Florida!

What happens in breeding season..?...
When mature, Iguanas go through a breeding season usually around the winter months. This can last about 6 weeks. They can act a little strange during this time and go off food, bite, get agitated, act skittish and have even been known to chase their owners.

What does shedding mean..?...
Iguanas as with most Reptiles do not have the elasticity in their skin cells that for instance mammals have, and so every so often during their growth they have to go through the process of shedding (Mammals and particularly humans shed almost unnoticeably in minute flakes as a continuous process). This is a normal activity and is just a way for the Iguana to grow new skin, which in turn probably means that it is eating and growing normally, This usually starts with the skin taking on a milky or grey appearance, and then starts to crack & peel away, but unlike snakes, Iguanas only shed in areas instead of all at once, so it may be the head and legs followed by the back and tail then the underside etc until finished.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Iguana Answers.

Ideal Pet ?

Iguanas gained a great deal of popularity 7 or 8 yrs ago through dinosaur program revivals and "Godzilla / Jurassic park" type films, which coupled with mass importation by pet stores, making them easy purchases for kids, or for parents to give to their kids.

What was not taken into consideration at the time, was that these cute little miniature dinosaur figures, ultimately grew into 5 or 6 foot long creatures, very quickly outgrowing fish tank aquarium containers and therefore giving their owners a huge problem!

Add to this the aggressive nature often exhibited at breeding season, which would not show up for the first couple of years and lasts about 6 weeks! and the result is some panicking and worried keepers.

Hence what we are often finding now is Iguanas in re-homing and rescue centres, donated from people who can no longer cope, either with the Iguana itself or its demands, The RSPCA may sometimes try to find homes for unwanted or abandoned Iguanas but when they fail to re-home then they are usually euthanased.

As a result of the numbers currently in rescue / re-homing centres, efforts have been made to try and form a National rescue organisation to cope with these and other types of rescued reptiles to help relieve the burden on individuals devoted to looking after the ones abandoned or no longer wanted, likewise anyone who does have the skills to look after one of these creatures if they could make efforts to adopt one from a rescue / re-homing centre, then that would be very much appreciated by all concerned.

Given correct care and conditions and as long as the owners eyes are opened to potential problems, Iguanas can however be kept successfully, but are not a whim purchase or even an ideal pet for the young or inexperienced.

Above is a picture of Spike, a mature male Iguana and the sort of behaviour that can be expected around 6 weeks of every year when in breeding season. The result if not careful may be a nasty nip and in some cases stitches.

2003 has seen the start of the UK National Re-homing Register, a project hosted by the Ark Reptile group, of which I am proud to say I have helped set up and run, and also a project which is having huge success in finding unwanted reptiles new homes successfully week in week out!
Details here: National UK Re-Homing Database
Testimonials here: Successful re-homes

Monday, December 12, 2005

Books On Iguana Care

Books On
Iguana Care

Green Iguana: The Ultimate Owner's Manual / James W. Hatfield III / 1996 / approx. $35.00
The Iguana: An Owner's Guide to a Happy and Healthy Pet / Karen Rosenthal & Henry Lizardlover / 1996 / approx. $10.00
Caring for Green Iguanas: A Complete Authoritative Guide / Micky Murgon / 1998 / approx. $10.00
Iguanas In Your Home: A Complete and Up-To-Date Guide / R.M. Smith / 1997 / approx. $20.00
Iguanas: Everything About Selection, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, Breeding, and Behavior / Richard & Patricia P. Barlett / 1996 / approx. $5.00
Your Pet Iguana / Elaine Landau / 1998 / approx. $7.00
Iguana Iguana: Guide for Successful Captive Care / Fredric L. Frye / 1996 / approx. $40.00
Iguanas / W.P. Mara / 1998 / approx. $18.00
These are just some of the many books available on iguana care. It is always good to have a resource available for quick reference. I find it most helpful to get information from many sources so that you're more likely to find the most accurate and-up-to-date advice about caring for your iguana. Beware of old books with information that is not accurate (anything with a copyright earlier than around 1996 I would not buy), stick to the books I have listed.

Sunday, December 11, 2005



Any information or advice on iguanas that you follow (including mine) that is not obtained by a licensed professional, you are using at your own risk. The care guide that I have written is the guide that I have been following for the last seven or so years. I am only a reptile hobbyist, not a veterinarian, zoologist, etc. so please keep that in mind. I cannot guarantee that your iguana will live to be 20 years old and 7 ft. long if you follow my guide because I am not a trained professional and that would be unlawful. I can guarantee that I have two beautiful 5 ft. long, very healthy, happy iguanas that live comfortably under the conditions I will share with you in my other information sections. My care guide comes from a combination of information I receive from my veterinarian and numerous books and articles I have read on iguana care. Q. What should I feed my iguana?

A. See Food/Water/Vitamins

Q. Are their any foods I should not be feeding to my iguana?

A. Steer clear of vegetables that contain high concentrations of mildly toxic chemicals including: oxalic acid/phytic acid/goitrogens/saponins. As these foods are fine for humans, they are harmful when fed to iguanas. These foods include: tofu, soy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, spinach, rhubarb, beets, swiss chard, turnips (root), cabbage, bok choy). No lettuce of any kind should ever be fed to an iguana. They have very little nutritional value and cause diarrhea. High protein foods such as Dog/Cat food, monkey biscut/chow, eggs, meat, and cheese should never be fed to an iguana.

Q. Should I be giving my iguana any vitamins? How often should I give them to my iguana?

A. Be sure to add to your iguana's food both a vitamin supplement and calcium supplement for iguanas/reptiles, available at most pet stores, approximately two times a week. Usually there is a chart on the bottle showing how much to use according to your iguana's weight. If it confuses you, my advice is "a sprinkle" of each. Don't use it every day-too much can be toxic. Try to get a calcium supplement with Vitamin D3 added.

Q. I have never seen my iguana drink. Do I need to give it water everyday? What about a place to bathe/swim in?

A. Yes. Even though you may not ever see it, your iguana does drink water. Always make sure your iguana has clean, fresh, water available to him/her. As for a place to bathe, if you have one make sure you always keep it clean. I don't feel it is necessary to keep a bathing container available for your iguanas if they never use it. Some iguanas hate baths, so you can spray them with a gentle mist from a clean spray bottle daily.

Q. What kind of cage should I keep my iguana in? What kind of substrate should I use?

A. Iguanas outgrow their cages VERY fast. Don't waste your time buying glass tanks bigger and bigger as your iguana grows, you'll just waste money. Iguanas need a lot of room, so you are better off building your own enclosure or having one built for you. Iguanas like to climb and be up high, so you will want to include a shelf or perch with easy access to it. Choose a suitable substrate which is safe for your iguana. ANY kind of wood chips, gravel, sand, corn cob, reptile bark, lizard litter, etc. are NOT SAFE for your iguana. He/she will eventually end up ingesting some of it which will cause harm to the digestive system. Safe alternatives: artificial turf or linoleum-that can be washed or wiped up with a mild soap and water and rinsed thoroughly.

Q. What kind of lights do I need? How many hours of light do iguanas need?

A. Iguanas need special lighting that will provide the benefits of natural sunlight. You will need to set up a full spectrum florescent light to produce UVB rays. It should be placed about 8-14 inches from your iguana for it to get any benefit from it. This light and all others used in or near your iguana's enclosure should be on about 12-14 hours a day; they need about 10-12 hours of darkness also, or their health will suffer. A timer makes life so much easier. Make sure the bulb is not covered or it will not have any benefit. Special fixtures are sold where the bulb is exposed. I use "Zoo Med's Iguana Light" in a fixture you could find in any hardware or lighting store (minus the cover). "Vitalite" is also popular. FLORESCENT LIGHT ALONE WILL NOT HEAT YOUR IGUANA. You will need to also include in your set up a warm basking area. You can do this by using other lights or ceramic heaters (make sure you use a porcelain light fixture because ceramic heaters can get VERY hot). Beware of round lights that say "full spectrum" and "neodymium". They are fine to use WITH your florescent light, NOT instead of; or you could use regular white light bulbs. I use mine inside a silver dome fixture sold in most hardware stores. Basking spot lights (they have a silver backing to reflect) are also sold in most pet stores with a good reptile section. Your iguana's enclosure should sustain a temperature gradient ranging from about 75F-84F (cool spot) and about 90F-94F (basking spot). An ideal iguana enclosure should have one end at around 75F and get warmer as your iguana goes to the other side where it can bask somewhere up higher on a branch or ledge at around 92F. Your iguana should be able to place him/herself at a temperature it feels comfortable with at any time-not be forced to be hot or cold.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sexing Green Iguanas

Sexing Green Iguanas
You will not be able to accurately determine the sex of your iguana until it is at least 2 years old, or possibly older. As they get older, however, you will begin to see differences that can help you distinguish between a male and a female.
Femoral Pores
Along the underside of the hind legs, iguanas have a series of pores called femoral pores. Best developed in the males, these pores secrete a waxy gray substance. The exudate from the femoral pores contains scenting molecules called pheromones, which are used to mark territory. The femoral pores of the male iguana are proportionately larger than those of the female.

The Crest
Both males and females have vertebral crests, a row of enlarged, pointed scales along the spine, beginning at the head and decreasing in size down to the tail. The crest is larger and more pronounced in the males, and makes then look larger to their opponents.
The Dewlap
All iguanas bear a dewlap, a fold of skin under the throat that is displayed in courtship and territorial behaviors. Genereally speaking, the males do most of the territorial displays, but the females also display. In adulthood, the males are larger, have heavier jowls, swollen temporal areas, and are brighter in overall coloration than females.
Males do not begin to develop the jowls until they are 3+ years of age. It is possible for older females to develop some jowls, and smaller, submissive males may have very small or no jowls.
Both males and females bob their heads. Females bob in a more side to side manner. Males bob more smoothly up and down. This can also be hard to distinguish if you have a male who has never been exposed to other iguanas or a mirror; they can bob like females.
Males bob in greeting as well to show their dominance from a relaxed reclining position. When they feel competition they will show a specific territorial bob - they will raise their bellies off the ground, laterally compress themselves a bit, then bob.
Just remember, whether male or female, your iguana needs specific care. If there is anything that you are not sure of in regard to caring for your iguana read Love My Iguana's Care Guide.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rescuing Wayward Reptiles

The iguanas peer down from atop the cage in the living room, from the stairs, from the back of the chair. “Here, have a seat,” says Jonathan Scupin, 25, as he scoops a 5-foot iguana off the sofa to make room for a visitor to sit.

In all, there are more than 40 iguanas sharing living space with Scupin and his fiance, Ann-Elizabeth Nash, the founder and director of Colorado Reptile Rescue. Many have the run of the house, though some are confined to the Iggy Room, a back room they keep very hot and very humid – much more to the lizards’ liking than the arid climate of Longmont, Colo.

They also have, at last count, four box turtles, nine leopard frogs, three snakes, a tiger salamander, and Hunted, a 4-foot-long-and-growing Nile monitor lizard with a taste for fresh eggs, dead mice and turkey strips. He mostly stays in their bedroom.

200 Reptiles Rescued

In the 2 1/2 years since founding the rescue organization, Nash has taken in almost 200 reptiles, mostly iguanas. She’s found new homes for 140 of them. The rest live with her and Scupin, or in one of the 13 foster homes associated with the group. (Scupin used to be one of her best iguana foster caregivers. That’s how they met. Their mutual love for iguanas nurtured their own love affair.)

"The snakes are not a problem to adopt,” says Nash, 36. “Snakes are easy to take care of. But an iguana will languish forever. There’s not the interest in them.” Many of the iguanas in Nash’s care have similar stories: They were adopted as cute, little lime-green babies only a few inches long. But then they started growing. Their cages got too small. Maybe their owners got bored or – worse – frightened by them. Left alone, they weren’t properly socialized and started hissing at or tail-whipping or even biting people who approached too closely.

When they eventually land in an animal shelter, shelter workers more comfortable with furry clients than scaly ones call Nash. In addition, Nash says she gets five to six calls a week from people wanting to surrender their iguanas to her directly. She’s had to put a temporary freeze on incoming lizards. “We are beyond overflow,” she says.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

House Crowded During Breeding Season

House Crowded During Breeding Season

Things can get a little dicey around the house in late summer to early fall. That’s breeding season, and male iguanas can become positively unruly during that time and must be separated. “Males in full bloom will fight until they kill each other,” Nash says. “The females don’t fight as much. They express their irritation, get into shoving matches, but it’s not as bloody as with males.”

Even when not worrying about iguana in-fighting at the house, Nash and Scupin have their hands full. It takes more than an hour every morning to get everybody fed. They spend most of their evening hours feeding and socializing the animals. On her days off, Nash frequently loads some of her tamer critters into the car and does classroom presentations. She’s also brought in veterinary students from nearby Colorado State University so they can learn to handle iguanas and become comfortable around them.

The non-profit organization is run on a shoestring. Last year, it brought in $14,000 in donations – including $3,000 from Nash and Scupin. Nash expects operating expenses to be just slightly more this year.

Nash – who met her first iguana just 3 years ago and was immediately smitten – believes reptiles are gaining ground as mainstream pets, particularly among women. “I’d say an equal number of men and women won’t have anything to do with reptiles,” she says. “But right now, there are more women than men in reptile rehabilitation.”

It’s a challenge not everyone is up to, she says. Having a pet reptile is a different experience from having a dog or cat. “My dog,” she says of her cocker spaniel, Sandy, “I am the center of his universe. There’s no trick to getting a dog to love you. But reptiles don’t interact with you that way. They are wild animals who may choose to be with you. If you watch them awhile, you’ll see their personalities emerge. And they do have distinct personalities.”

For information on Colorado Reptile Rescue, check out the organization’s Web site:

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Welcome to the APLB Chatroom for Animal Care Professionals

Welcome to the
APLB Chatroom
for Animal Care Professionals
The APLB has developed this specialized chatroom to address compassion fatigue and grief of all animal care professionals. If you are in this line of work, and feel you might be suffering from any kind of related burnout, this new forum is specifically for you.
The schedule for these chatrooms is posted below.
Compassion fatigue is a natural consequence of stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized or suffering animals over a period of time. It can happen to anyone who works in the veterinary field or in animal shelters. It is a physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion that takes over people, causing them to lose the joy and feelings they once had in the work they are doing.
This malady is very real. Those suffering from it need an outlet to express their feelings. Without one, the feelings may increase, eventually leading to complete disinterest in the compassion and care of the animals they so love.
If you have lost a beloved pet and are seeking support, and have come to this page by mistake, please visit our regular chatroom. To see our schedule for those chats, please click Chatroom: Pet Loss.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Rare Blue Iguanas go on display at Shedd

Rare Blue Iguanas go on display at Shedd
Marley made his debut at the Shedd Aquarium's new exhibit for blue iguanas. Marley is one of the few Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas left in the world and that means his job is a simple one -- to make more little iguanas before it's too late. It's all about creating the right romantic atmosphere.
The new exhibit has been two years in the making and was designed especially for Marley, a blue iguana and for his mate Eleanor who will remain behind the scenes for a few more weeks. The blue iguana, which lives only on Grand Cayman Island, is extremely endangered. There are only about 25 left in the wild. They can grow to more than five feet long and weigh more than 20 pounds.
"What we're trying to do is maximize the genetic diversity in this conservation breeding program as a hedge against extinction in case something happens to the populations on Grand Cayman. We do have a stable, healthy population here in North America," said Chuck Knapp, Shedd conservation biologist.
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For Marley and Eleanor this will be a year round Valentine's Day romantic dinner. It will be almost like home -- same rock formations, real and natural sunlight.
"It will give them a more realistic day and night cycle as well as a seasonal change. Very similar to what they would have down in the Grand Cayman," said George Parsons, director Shedd aquarium collections.
This exhibit is designed specifically for the blue iguanas. Face it if they don't breed they will probably disappear from the face of the earth. It's a project the Shedd has been working on for several years.
Since 1999 the iguanas have been living off exhibit, getting to know each other. They turned out to be a perfect match but no little lizards arrived. Sometimes it just takes time and new surroundings.
"Next year when they're both on exhibit and they've had a year to cycle through with the natural sunlight, with the heated rain they'll get on a more natural cycle. We're going to have success next year. We're confident about that," said Chuck Knapp.
So come visit Marley. He's waiting just for you.
On the Net:

Monday, December 05, 2005

Iguana care

Iguanas are extremely interesting, sensitive animals. I never would have guessed that they would exhibit individual personalities. I cared for five iguanas for many years. They were similar to the seven dwarfs, (although I had five)each of them were very different in their own special way. Cranky, bossy, cuddly (it's true) timid and dopey. They require daily care that includes feeding, bathing and cleaning their habitat.
Iguanas have a wide variety of nutritional needs. I would always ensure that my iguanas were fed two parts greens, one part protein and fruit. Protein is essential to promote good health. Chicken, tuna and canned cat food are just a few sources of protein for the healthy iguana. They love leafy greens, especially kale, carrot tops and bok choy. These greens provide higher nutritional values than lettuce or cabbage. Calcium rich foods such as raspberries, tofu and broccoli should be included in their diet.
Powdered vitamins are available at most pets stores and can be sprinkled on their daily feast. A fresh supply of drinking water is important to our green friends as well as bathing. Be sure to keep the temperature luke warm and hope a fight doesn't break out or you will get soaked.(wetsuits are an asset)Depending on the temperament of the iguana, he/she may require bathing solo. Bathing them a few times a week aids in the shedding of their skin.
When housing one or two iguanas a large terrarium would be sufficient. Since I housed five iguanas they had their own room. It was setup with large tree branches and thick, heavy rope for climbing. It seems that they prefer to be higher up, it gives them a better sense of security. Electric heat rocks and special tube lighting are an extremely crucial part of healthy living for these lizards.
The lighting such as sunglo tubes and the heat rocks are essential to aid in proper digestion, shedding and maintaining body temperature. These are very important factors since the iguana is indigenous to hot climates.
I spent approximately two hours a day caring for my green friends. This type of pet is not for everyone and these are issues to consider before purchasing an iguana.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

National Iguana Awareness Day: NIAD

National Iguana Awareness Day: NIAD
Your starting point to great iguana care information

— If you have read my horror stories section (recommended) you know how terrible it feels when you see an iguana or other animal that has not been taken care of or abused. I know some people feel the need to buy that iguana because they think it is the only way they can help. I do not support such a notion - in fact I am completely against it.

Why you ask? If you purchase that iguana from the pet store what are you telling the owners of that pet store? I will tell you ... people will buy the iguana even if they do nothing to take care of them. Taking care of the animals means spending money. If they only sell that iguana for $15 they could spend that much feeding and housing them correctly.

On the right side of this page I have many links to alternate solutions. I have no problem with people buying a healthy iguana from a pet store (that is where I got Q) ... but I would prefer if people would adopt an iguana from a rescue/shelter. Many people think any iguana in such a place must be sick or mistreated ... but that is not the case at all. If you have these concerns please address them with the rescue.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Animal Cruelty Laws by State

State & Statute

Felony Provision?

Maximum Sentence for First Offense
Alabama, Code 13A-11-14


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Intentional torture: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 10 years.
Alaska, Statute 11.61.140


Fine up to $5000, up to 1 year imprisonment.
Arizona, Statute 13-2910 et. seq.


Cruel treatment: Fine up to $2500, imprisonment for 6 months.
Intentional Cruel Neglect, Mistreatment: Fine up to $150,000, imprisonment up to 1.5 years.
Arkansas, Code 5-62-101 et seq.


Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
California, Penal Code 596-597


Fine up to $20,000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Colorado, Revised Statute 18-9-202, et seq.


Cruelty: Minimum fine of $400, maximum fine $5000, plus up to $400 surcharge for Animal Cruelty Prevention Fund.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $100,000, imprisonment up to 18 months, 90 days mandatory.
Connecticut, Statute Section 53-247


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Intentional/Malicious Torture: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Delaware, Code Ann. Title 11, Part 1, Chapter 5, Subchapter VII, 1325 et seq.


Cruelty: $1000 fine, imprisonment up to 1 year, prohibits animal ownership for 5 years.
Intentional Cruelty: $5000 fine, imprisonment up to 5 years, prohibits animal ownership for 15 years.
District of Columbia (Washington DC), Ann. 22-1001 et seq.


Cruelty: Fine up to $250, imprisonment up to 180 days.
Cruelty resulting in serious injury or death: Fine up to $25,000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Florida, Statute 828.12 et seq.


Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Intentional Cruelty: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Intentional Cruelty with torture: Minimum fine of $2500 and psychological treatment.
Georgia, Code Ann. 16-12-4 et seq.

Yes (defined in Statute)

Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, Imprisonment up to 1 year.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $15,000, imprisonment from 1 to 5 years.
Hawaii, Rev. Stat. 711-1109 et seq.


Fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Idaho, Title 25, Chapter 35, 25-3501 et seq.


Fine of $100 to $5000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Illinois, 510 ILCS 70/3
**Model Law**


Neglect of Owner’s Duties: Fine up to $1500, imprisonment up to 6 months
Cruel Treatment: Fine up to $2500, imprisonment under 1 year.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $25,000, imprisonment from 1-3 years, 1 year probation.
Animal Torture: Fine up to $25,000, imprisonment from 2-5 years, 1 year probation.
Indiana, Code 35-46-3-13


Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Iowa, Code 717B.1 et seq.


Abuse: Fine of $500 to $5000, imprisonment up to 2 years.
Neglect: Fine of $50 to $500, imprisonment up to 30 days.
Torture: Fine of $500 to $5000, imprisonment up to 2 years and psychological treatment.
Kansas, Stat. Ann. 21-4310 et seq.


Fine up to $2500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Kentucky, REV. Stat. Ann 525.130 & 135


Cruelty: Fine up to $500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Torture: Fine up to $500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Louisiana, Rev. Stat. Ann. 14.102

Yes (defined in statute)

Simple Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine of $5000 to $25,000, imprisonment of 1-10 years.
Maine, Code Ann. Title 17 –1031

Yes (defined in statute

Cruelty: Fine of $500 to $2500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine of $1000 to $10,000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Maryland, Criminal Code, Title 10, Subtitle 6, 10-601 et seq.


Cruelty or Neglect: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 3 years.
Massachusetts, Gen Laws Ch. 272-77 & Gen Laws Ch. 266-112

Yes (defined in statute)

Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Malicious Killing: Imprisonment up to 5 years or fine up to $1000 and imprisonment up to 1 year.
Michigan, Penal Code 750.50


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 93 days, up to 200 hours community service.
Malicious Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 4 years, up to 500 hours community service.
Minnesota, Stat. 343.20 et seq.

Yes (defined in statute)

Cruelty: Fine up to 700, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Intentional Cruelty (substantial bodily harm): Fine up to $3000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Intentional Cruelty (death or great bodily harm): Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 2 years; If done to intimidate another person: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 4 years.
Mississippi, Code Ann 97-41-1 et seq.


Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Missouri, Rev. Stat. 578.005 et seq.


Neglect: Fine up to $500, imprisonment up to 15 days.
Abuse: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Abuse includes Torture/Mutilation: Fine up to $500, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Montana, Code Annotated 45-8-211


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $2500, imprisonment up to 2 years.
Nebraska, Rev Stat. 28-1008 et seq.


Cruelty, Abandonment or Neglect: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Cruelty Involving Torture, Repeated Beating or Mutilation: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Nevada, Rev. Stat. 574.050 et seq.


Fine of $200-$1000, imprisonment from 2 days to 6 months, community service from 48-120 hours.
New Hampshire, Rev. Stat. Ann. 644:8


Cruelty: Fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
“Beats, Cruelly Whips, Tortures or Mutilates: Fine up to $7000, imprisonment up to 7 years.
New Jersey, Rev. Stat. Ann. 4:22-17 & 4:22-26


Cruelty: Fine of $250-$1000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 18 months.
If the animal dies, or subsequent convictions: Fine up to $15,000 and/or imprisonment of 3-5 years.
New Mexico, Stat. Ann. 30-18-1


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Extreme Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 18 months.
New York, Article 26, Chapter 353 & 353-a


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
North Carolina, Gen Stat 14-360 et seq.


Discretion of the court.
North Dakota, Century Code 36-21-1-01 et seq.


Fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Ohio, Rev. Code Ann 959.01


Cruelty: Fine up to $750, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Cruelty to companion animals: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Oklahoma, State Title 21: 1685 et seq.


Abandonment: Fine from $100-$500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Cruelty: Fine up to o $5000, imprisonment in county jail up to 1 year or in state penitentiary up to 5 years.
Oregon, Rev. Stat. 167.310 et seq.
**Model Law**


Abuse: Fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Abuse in the First Degree: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Aggravated Abuse: Fine up to $100,000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
Pennsylvania, 18 PA Cons. Stat. 5511


Cruelty: Fine of $50-$75, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Kill, Maim or Disfigure Domestic Animal: Fine of not less than $500.
Kill, maim, mutilate, torture or disfigure any dog or cat: Fine not less than $1000, imprisonment up to 2 years.
Rhode Island, Gen Stat. 4-1-1 et. seq.

Yes (defined in statute)

Unnecessary Cruelty: Fine of $50-$500, imprisonment up to 11 months.
Malicious Injury To Or Killing: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 2 years, liable for triple damages in civil court, 10 hours community service.
South Carolina, Code Ann. 47-1-10 et seq.


Cruelty: Fine of $100-$500, imprisonment up to 60 days.
Torture, Mutilates or Cruelly Kills: Fine of $5000 AND imprisonment of 180 days to 5 years.
South Dakota, Codified Laws 40-1-1 et seq.


Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Tennessee, Code Ann 39-14-202; 39-14-212


Cruelty: Fine up to $2500, imprisonment from 11 months, 29 days to 30 years.
Second or subsequent conviction OR Aggravated Cruelty
: Fine up to $3000, imprisonment up to 6 years.
Texas, Penal Code, Title 9, Chapter 42, 42.09


Cruelty: Fine up to $4000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Torture, Kill, Fighting, etc.: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment from 180 days to 2 years.
Utah, Code Ann. 76-9-301


Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $2500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Vermont, St. Ann. Title 13, Chapter 8, 351 et seq.

Yes (defined in statute)

Cruelty: Fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 3 years.
Virginia, Code Ann. 3.1-796.122


Cruelty: Fine up to $2500, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Tortures, etc.: Fine up to $2500 (Felony).
Washington, Rev. Code 16.52.011 et. seq.


Cruelty in the Second Degree: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 90 days.
Cruelty in the First Degree: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 5 years.
West Virginia, Code 61-8-19


Cruelty: Fine of $300-$1000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Torture: Fine of $1000-$5000, imprisonment of 1-3 years.
Wisconsin, Stat. 951.02 et. seq.


Cruelty: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Mutilation or Death: Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 2 years.
Wyoming, Stat. 6-3-203


Cruelty: Fine up to $750, imprisonment up to 6 months.
Aggravated Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 1 year.
Felony Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 2 years

Welcome to

Welcome to
You’ve seen them everywhere. Patrolling our cities’ alleys, the neighborhood garbage cans, our backyards, our campgrounds, our farms. They are our pets that have escaped out a car window, broken through the screen, were let outside to “do their business” while in heat and went in search of a mate, or thrown away when they weren’t cute or convenient anymore. They are the offspring of the animals that never found their way home. They are the “pet overpopulation” problem.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, six to eight million companion animals are admitted to shelters each year. Three to four million of these are lucky enough to be adopted into new homes. The other three to four million are murdered each year (or “euthanized,” if you prefer) in order to make room for the new batch of animals. Here in the United States, stray and feral cats are more problematic than dogs as the dogs do not widely find the resources they need to survive on their own. No one knows how many feral cats there are in the U.S., but estimates range from 60 million to 100 million animals. In fact, estimates of the feral cat population range from 60 million to 100 million animals. It would appear that there are more cats without homes than with them. This should be unacceptable to all of us. The question is – what do we do about it?
Many cities and communities throughout the United States have implemented programs that are working. Free or low-cost spay/neuter programs reduce shelter admittance by 30-60% and have saved taxpayers over $3.00 for every dollar spent (see Sterilization section). “Trap-Neuter-Return” (TNR) (also called “Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return” or TNVR) programs have at worst stabilized what were rapidly growing feral cat colony populations (see Non-Lethal Methods of Animal Control section). These programs and methods work and save taxpayer dollars, but many people are opposed to these approaches. This is because they are misinformed about the behavior, supposed health threats, and predation characteristics of feral cats.

Education is the Key: Legislation is the Tool.
The first and foremost problem of “pet overpopulation” is our own education: it is the key to changing attitudes toward homeless companion animals. Legislation is the tool we have to ensure human accountability for the “overpopulation problem” we have created. We need legislation that supports the humane and cost-effective methods of homeless companion animal population control. We need legislation and enforcement that support serious repercussions for those that continue to contribute to the problem. We need a tax structure and properly structured licensing laws that incentivize us to spay and neuter our animals. We need to educate ourselves, our communities, and our community leaders in order to use our laws and policies to implement the changes needed to stop the cycle of homeless animal procreation. In addition, we must ensure that the homeless animals are not allowed to be victims of the violent people in society, that they are not “easy prey” because they are not owned.
It is the goal of this web site to consolidate sources of information that pertain to issues affecting homeless, stray and feral companion animals and to provide the research and advocacy materials you need to achieve the necessary changes.
Stray Pet Advocacy strives to provide resources for companion animal advocacy and educational resources on:

No-Kill Legislation
Low-cost Spay/Neuter Programs and Sterilization Issues & Research
Trap-Neuter-Return programs for feral cat management
Cat Predation
…and other issues concerning animal-friendly solutions to stray and feral companion animal control management. We additionally plan to provide downloadable advocacy materials and presentation(s) for your use in community education or local lobbying efforts to change existing legislation and/or stray companion animal control management.

We provide links to citable research, hard data, and the tools you will need to lobby your city councils for new methods of animal control. We provide educational materials to help others understand the issues and to help you combat the arguments you will face. But as anyone who has searched the Internet for information can attest, the task of providing a clearinghouse of information in one web site is daunting. There is so much out there! As such, this web site will be constantly changing with new links and articles added all the time. Please check back often.
If you know of an article, research or web site that we have missed in our searches, please submit it to Thank you! And if you have any questions or would like customized presentations for your local community, please feel free to contact us. We would like to help you help the homeless animals any way we can.

Friday, December 02, 2005

There Are Effective Alternatives to Trap and Kill!

There Are Effective Alternatives to Trap and Kill!

Animal Control. The most commonly employed method of animal control for feral cat population management is to capture and euthanize feral or unowned cats (often referred to as “trap and kill” versus an alternative, “trap-neuter-return” or “TNR”). Current estimates of the feral cat population in the United States range from 60 million to 100 million animals. Given that cities and towns throughout the United States have employed the method of trap and kill for decades, it is clear that this method of animal control is not effectively addressing the “pet overpopulation” problem.
Eradication Does Not Work. In her article, “Feral Cats – Extermination is not the Answer” (©1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, see link below), Sarah Hartwell cites the example of Marion Island, a small “inhospitable” island (12 miles x 8 miles) off the coast of South Africa. In 1949, a group of scientists left the island, leaving behind five unsterilized cats. By 1975 there were 2,500 cats on the island preying on ground-nesting seabirds. Deliberate infection with feline enteritis killed about 65% of the cats. The remaining 35% developed immunity and continued to breed. Jack Russell terrier dogs were used to flush out the remaining cats, and between 1986 and 1989 further cats were exterminated by hunting. At that time, it was determined that further poisoning was necessary. Poison that also killed the birds was used to eliminate the balance of the cat population. No cats were seen in 1991.
It took 16 years to eradicate 2,500 isolated cats from a small island with “rapid” methods of eradication that could not be used in populated areas. How can euthanization be successful as a method of animal control anywhere that new animals can move in and recolonize cleared areas?
There Is an Alternative. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is becoming recognized as an efficient and cost-effective tool for controlling and reducing feral cat populations. The concept is simple. Trap the cats, test them for lethal disease, euthanize those that test positive; for those that test negative, vaccinate, spay or neuter, then return those cats to the colony/area where they were found. As the cats can no longer reproduce, the colony diminishes in size over time. Additionally, by reducing or eliminating mating, the behavior of unsterilized animals that includes fighting and wandering (looking for mates) is eliminated. TNR not only controls the unchecked growth of unsterilized animals, it improves the health, behavior and quality of life of the affected animals.
TNR Works. According to the Feral Cat Coalition based in San Diego, since implementing a TNR program, the number of cats impounded and killed was 50% lower after five years. The reduction in the trap and kill rate was achieved with an adoption rate from shelters that remained constant and despite area (human) population growth. Prior to the implementation of TNR, the rate of cats impounded and killed was rising at a 15% annual rate. TNR works.
TNR Does Not Create the Cats – They Are Already There. Many communities throughout the U.S. have implemented TNR programs, however they cannot do it without state and local legislative support. For instance, it cannot be a crime to feed feral animals. Feeding feral animals must not make the caregiver solely responsible for them as an “owner.” Further, many communities throughout the U.S. have tried to implement TNR programs, but have faced stiff argument by those who fear the “establishing” or “encouraging” of feral cat colonies. These arguments are ridiculous for a very simple reason. The cats are already there. The concept of TNR is to manage the population of cats that is already in your neighborhood, on your block, or wandering your farm. TNR does not create the cats. In fact, a strong argument against trap and kill methods of animal control is simply the large number of feral and stray cats in shelters or that remain homeless across this country. The trap and kill programs have not worked and are not working. According to Karen Johnson in “A Report on Trap/Alter/Release Programs” © 1995 (see link below), “Cats are territorial. They don’t allow other cats into their territory to steal their food. Altered cats will stand their ground and guard their food source, will not have kittens, and will die in a few years. Remove the cat(s) from the habitat without changing the habitat and another cat will move in.”
In a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association (see link below), Karl I. Zaunbrecher, DVM wrote: “the presence of feral cats in a place indicates an ecologic niche for approximately that number of cats; the permanent removal of cats from a niche will create a vacuum that then will be filled through migration from outside or through reproduction within the colony, by an influx of a similar number of feral cats that are usually sexually intact; and removal of cats from an established feral colony increased the population turnover, but does not decrease the number of cats in the colony.
….Furthermore, the repeated influx of new cats into the colony increased territorial and hierarchic fighting, increased the probability that new diseases will be introduced into the colony, and generally exacerbated the very behavioral patterns for which feral cats are usually labeled a nuisance.(1) If population numbers could be stabilized and turnover could be reduced, territorial behavior within the colony would discourage migration into the colony from outside, resulting in a group of cats that should be healthier, quieter, and more acceptable to their human neighbors.” ((1) See article in link below for reference material).
There IS a Solution! Your city, your county - YOU - pay for the handling of the feral cats and their offspring through your taxes. The math is simple. Reducing the population growth of feral cats substantially reduces the number of animals handled by animal control each year, it impacts the rate of required euthanizations and cremations, and thus reduces the tax burden of your community.
Please use the links below to access studies, reports and articles written on trap-neuter-release programs. We include links to successful TNR programs implemented in cities, counties and on college campuses throughout this country. TNR has worked for those that have tried it. Your community can do it too!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Animal Cruelty Laws State By State

Animal Cruelty Laws State By State
Every state in the United States and the District of Columbia has a law prohibiting cruelty to animals. These laws do not give animals rights, but do afford some legal protection. The purposes of these laws is to deter violence by humans in any form as well as to protect animals from mistreatment and cruelty by imposing a penalty for those acts. Most of these laws fall under the purpose of morality, meaning the purpose is not to protect the animals, but to keep people on the straight and narrow. Whatever the reason, many more states are recognizing that animal cruelty, neglect and abuse are serious issues. There are now 41 states plus the District of Columbia with felony provisions for animal cruelty (32 plus DC with “Felony” specifically stated in the statute, 8 with felony punishments attached, but the status of the crime is not specifically defined).
The Animal Welfare Act is the Federal Law which provides regulations for research facilities, state and private run shelters and pounds, transportation of animals, and stolen animals. It was originally passed in 1966 and has been amended multiple times through 1996. One of the more interesting statutes, for our discussion, is that any state or private run shelter is required to hold an dog or cat for at least 5 days including a weekend day for recovery by the owner or adoption before selling it to a dealer (PUBLIC LAW 101-624, Sec. 28.a.1). For summaries and the full text of the Animal Welfare Act and Amendments, visit:

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Excellent source for nutrition information


If you could please take just one minute, we promise to make it worth your time.
Tell us about yourself and how you’ve been using the NATS site. You’re part of a large and healthy family of users who visit us as much as two million times each month, and we want to be able to help you get the very best free nutritional health and fitness guidance.
Some of you are new to this service, and others have been with us since the beginning in 1996. We’d like to introduce ourselves to you and learn more about what you’d like us to build into the NATS site. Circle Group is expanding the services you’ve come to NATS for. Please click below and tell us which components you’d like to see us add.
Click here to consult with us on NATS www.nat/incoming. http://wLet us know about features you'd like to see added to NATS by indicating below. We'd also like your e-mail address, with the understanding that it only will be used for communications from us and will never be made available to a third party. This will enable us to stay in touch with you as we work on improving NATS. Please also feel free to contact us directly with more complete feedback at www.nat/incoming. Thanks for your time and input.

Things you would like to see more of at NATS:
NATS newsletter with nutrition tips, diet information, health news, etc.
Online forum
Recipe archive
Special area for folks 50+
Marketplace with books and products on:
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Iguanas for DUMMIES

Iguanas for DUMMIES ®
by Melissa Kaplan
IDG Books Worldwide. August 2000
Wiley Publishing Inc.
354 pages; Photos and illustrations
ISBN 0-7645-5260-0
List: $21.99
General Description
Iguanas for Dummies is a book both for those who are thinking about getting an iguana and for those who have had iguanas through the years but not had much luck with taming them or keeping them healthy (or alive!). This book will also be useful for the iguana owner who isn't such a beginner, but who is looking for ways to improve their care practices, make their iguana's life more interesting and comfortable, and just be a better iguana parent.
"As a scientist, I am impressed by the depth of its research. As a pet owner, I am impressed by the practical knowledge this book displays. As a writer, I am impressed by this book's clarity. It is fun to read, loaded with clear information, and packed with extremely perceptive advice."
Kathryn W. Tosney, Ph.D. Professor of Biology, The University of Michigan

General Description
Iguanas for Dummies is a book both for those who are thinking about getting an iguana and for those who have had iguanas through the years but not had much luck with taming them or keeping them healthy (or alive!). This book will also be useful for the iguana owner who isn't such a beginner, but who is looking for ways to improve their care practices, make their iguana's life more interesting and comfortable, and just be a better iguana parent.
"Kaplan understands the complex biology and natural history of iguanas as well as anyone I know. Kaplan covers iguanas in captivity in a style that is concise, comprehensive, accurate, and focused on common issues seen by iguana owners. If you get only one book on iguanas as pets, this is the one to choose."
Stephen L. Barten, DVM; herpetological veterinarian, speaker, author

"With humor, intelligence and an astounding eye for detail, Melissa Kaplan urges her readers to 'do right by your iguana.' So much more than a simple 'care' book, Iguanas for Dummies is a blueprint for compassionate and responsible ownership."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Here are some simple pictures to help you understand how to properly set up your iguana's enclosure

(please be patient, pictures may take a little time to load)

**Here is a basic smaller tank setup (20-40 gallon) for juvenille iguanas (under two years old):

**This shows a larger cage version:

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic Bone Disease
in Green Iguanas

By Dr. Kelly Brodnik

One of the most common problems seen in Green Iguanas is Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD results from a combination of poor husbandry and improper nutrition. It is a deficiency in dietary calcium, an improper calcium to phosphorus ratio, an excess of dietary phosphorus, lack of vitamin D, or a combination thereof.

The are a variety of clinical signs of MBD but some of the most common signs are:

Weakness, limping, bone fractures, swollen limbs/face, anorexia, lethargy, seizures, tremors, softening of bones, etc. Some are more acute forms of the disease and some are seen in more chronic conditions. Left untreated, this is a life-threatening disease and requires immediate veterinary medical attention.

Diagnosis is made usually by a combination of blood work, xrays, and the results of the physical exam.

Your veterinarian will first provide treatment for the most life-threatening conditions which can include hospitalization, injections of vitamins and minerals, fixation of fractures, and possibly force-feeding to provide supportive care. On-going care is necessary because healing is delayed in animal's that are not on a good plane of nutrition. You will be asked to become involved in the treatment of your iguana by providing an appropriate diet, vitamin/mineral supplementation, and exposure to UV light. (UV light is necessary for vitamin D synthesis which is necessary for calcium to be absorbed from the intestinal tract. Without UV light, all of the calcium in the world in the diet will be passed unused!) Natural sunlight (UV light) is the best for your iguana and most commercially available bulbs do not possess enough of the proper UV spectrum to promote vitamin D synthesis. Most glass windows and plastic filter out UV light; therefore are ineffective in providing the proper light. Some bulbs may provide better spectrums of UV light, please ask your veterinarian for the most current recommendations for diet, vitamin/mineral supplementation, and resources for UV light.

As with any species, knowledge of husbandry and proper diet are key to enjoying a healthy, happy pet. Also, early detection for disease gives your animal the best chance at survival.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Iguanas Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic Bone Disease

(Scroll down for other health and disease links)

What is Metabolic Bone Disease?

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) is one of the most common problems seen in Green Iguanas today. The most common form occurs when there is a deficiency of calcium in the diet coupled with an excess of phosphorus. Your iguana's bones become weak and spongy, enlarge, have irregular bumps/swellings, and break easily. MBD will not correct itself, and if left untreated will result in slow, painful death.

What are the symptoms of MBD?

* weakness
* swelling/receding of the jaw
* limping/loss of movement in legs
* bone fractures
* inability to climb
* swollen limbs - "popeye" legs
* anorexia
* lethargy
* seizures
* tremors
* softening of the bones

How do I prevent MBD?

You can prevent MBD by providing your iguana with a diet that has a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1, vitamin supplements, and exposure to UVB light. A cage that is large enough for your iguana to get exercise and proper heating are also very important to its overall health and the prevention of MBD.

I think my iguana is showing signs of having MBD. What do I do now?

Take your iguana to an experienced veterinarian that specializes in reptile care. After that you will need to provide your iguana with the proper care it needs. You can find information on how to properly care for your iguana at my Care Guide Section. Be sure to read ALL sections, as there are many aspects of care that will need correcting, not just diet. An iguana has very specific needs. If even just one area of care is neglected, you could be endangering your iguana's health. *See Caring For Your Green Iguana

What will the vet do to correct the problem?

There are many treatments your veterinarian may perform. It will all depend on how severe the MBD is at the time of treatment. Some treatments include:

* injection of vitamins and minerals
* fixation of fractures
* force-feeding
* X-rays
* blood tests
* possible hospitalization may be needed

Remember: Iguanas are wild animals. They survive very well in their natural wild enviornment. They did not ask to be brought here and be put in cages. But now that they are, it is OUR responsibility to make sure they get the care they need and deserve. They can't tell us what they need, THEIR OWNERS need to go find the information. I hope your visit here is to find out how to prevent MBD, not how to cure it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Love My Iguanas Adoption Center

Love My Iguanas

Adoption Center

Post an iguana available for adoption or read other postings of available iguanas on our Adoption Center Message Board

Adoption and Rescue Sites - find people/organizations in your area who take in iguanas that must be placed immediately

Adoption and Rescue Sites

Here are some Reptile Rescue Groups that you can contact for adoption or placement.

Here is a list of people/organizations who have posted on "Love My Iguanas" Message Board and other message boards stating that they will take in iguanas that need homes:

* Colorado Reptile Rescue -it would be hard to leave this site without adopting one of their georgeous igs! Pictures/complete description and they will ship
* Pet Finder -type in your name and location and pet finder will list available pets for adoption
* Reptile Rescue -all types of reptiles, located in Texas, must pick up animal/will not ship
* National Alternative Pet Assoc. -this is an excellent site with an active message board that shows exotics available for adoption and people seeking to adopt
* Reptile Rapsody-this site also has a large classified ad section with many iguanas for adoption (click the banner)
* Reptile Rescue Groups -Melissa Kaplan's list of people and organizations throughout the USA and Canada that take in reptiles, email and phone numbers included
* North Carolina's NIAD Statepage/Triangle Iguana Rescue -Patti-NC NIAD Coordinator
* IguanaFIRST -Located in the Richmond, VA area, IguanaFIRST takes in unwanted, abused or neglected iguanas and places them with new or foster homes.
* Animal Ark -located in Minnesota, I had trouble navigating through the site the last time I visited so I am not sure what is available

* - Illinois
* - New Jersey
* - State Unknown
* - Texas
* - Tennessee
* - Florida
* - Washington
* - Arizona
* - Indiana
* - Texas
* - Tennessee
* - Florida
* - NY
* - Michigan
* - Texas

*For more recent listings of people looking to adopt, you can go to Love My Iguanas Adoption Center Message Board.

Love My Iguanas has not checked the credibility of any person/organization listed here and cannot guarantee the credibility of any party. We have provided only a list of posted email and internet addresses. Any actions taken through persons or organizations on this list is the sole responsibility of the parties involved and not the responsibility of Love My Iguanas. PLEASE BE SURE TO check credibility of the persons/organizations you will be dealing with.