Terrarium for iguana It should imitate the conditions of a humid tropical forest, while remaining clean, ventilated and convenient for maintenance and disinfection.
Between young and adult iguanas, there is a big difference not only in size, but also in temperament, so you should not try to create a terrarium "for growth" in which the animal will live its whole life.
Usually a terrarium is required for a young iguana, and then, after 2-3 years, a large terrarium or a separate room for an adult lizard.
Newborns are kept in glass terrariums or typical jigs 100x50x50 cm in size, for the first 12-18 months, depending on the growth rate.
Plastic and plywood terrariums with sliding glass retain heat and moisture better and are therefore preferable. All joints in such a terrarium should be carefully sealed with silicone glue.
Young iguanas can be kept in large groups, but lizards, in which sexual behavior begins to manifest, usually at a size of 70-90 cm, should be kept only separately or in a group of 1 male and 1-2 females. In this case, the terrarium should be very spacious, with good landscaping and have several shelters and places for heating.
For an adult iguana or couple, you need a terrarium of 200x200x125 cm. In this case, the possibility of aggressive contacts will still be preserved.
The soil in the terrarium should be as hygroscopic, chemically inert, not loose, not soaking, not dusty and therefore hygienic.
There are several common types of soil. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages and can be adapted to the individual characteristics of the animal and the tasks of keeping.
Newspapers, wrapping or filter paper they absorb moisture well, and if they are often changed, they are perfectly clean. It is recommended that young iguanas be kept on paper litter during quarantine or during the adaptation period. This primer is optimal during treatment or when urine or feces must be collected for analysis.
Artificial peat It is sold in the form of rugs, which until they have been rubbed (and this happens rather quickly) are easy to change, disinfect and reuse. It is necessary to have 2-3 rugs corresponding to the area of the terrarium. While one is washing and drying, the other is used.
Processed Granular Bark. the most expensive material. It absorbs moisture well, looks beautiful in a terrarium and is now produced by different companies (Hagen, Zoo Med, etc.) in several versions, depending on the quality and size of the granules. Unfortunately, it gradually gets wet and becomes a substrate for saprophytic fungi and bacteria. Therefore, it must be changed often enough, but it is not cheap. Iguanas are able to swallow pieces of bark, so it’s better to choose larger granules.
Alfalfa feed for rabbits (alfalfa pellets), widely distributed outside of our country. It is quite cheap and absorbs water well. Its main advantage is that iguanas can swallow it without any harm to themselves. This type of soil is the least durable, because at high humidity it quickly soaks, and in dry conditions it begins to dust.
ATTENTION. Soil, gravel, sand, shavings, cat litter, expanded clay and synthetic carpets are not recommended for iguanas for various reasons.
Loose types of soil often swallowed by lizards and cause obstructive intestinal obstruction. I have repeatedly observed the death of iguanas, who usually ate chips or gravel in the very first days after a change of soil. Small iguanas can be kept on large enough and soft shavings of deciduous trees, but it is necessary to constantly monitor lizards during feeding.
Gravel radiographically detected in the stomach in almost 100% of iguanas, which are kept on this substrate. It depends on its quantity whether this causes intestinal obstruction or not.
Sand as soil, it is generally not suitable for reptiles, with the exception of desert species living on loose sand.
Synthetic Rug Fibers are scattered around the edges and are often wound on iguanas’ fingers, causing their inflammation or ischemic necrosis. Some types of rugs with a soft pile and a dense base are quite suitable if you strengthen them along the edges with something like removable skirting boards.
Interior arrangement and decoration
Iguanas lead a predominantly arboreal lifestyle, and accordingly in the terrarium it is necessary to strengthen the climbing branches and several heating platforms that can support the weight of the animal.
Coniferous branches should not be used. The branches of oak or fruit trees with forks are optimal. Places where a branch slice attaches to the wall or floor of the terrarium are ideal “traps” for the tail and fingers of lizards. Entering a tail or finger in the gap is the most common cause of injury or separation. Therefore, all such places should be carefully ground, if the branches are removable, or sealed with silicone glue, if they are installed permanently.
It is desirable to cover the back or side walls with cork panels or put several large pieces of cork oak bark. This, in addition to design, solves the problem of moisture conservation and makes it possible for young lizards to climb vertical surfaces, which is important during the adaptation period.
For adult lizards, plywood terrariums, covered with plastic inside, with carefully sealed seams are preferred.
Lizards can be kept in greenhouses, conservatories, insulated loggias or even in separate converted rooms, but better in a terrarium.
Decorated ceramic or wooden boxes are suitable as shelters.
In the upper tier, pots with climbing plants such as scindapsus, tradescantia can be strengthened. You can use other plants, the main thing is that they are not toxic. This will improve aeration and increase humidity. Iguanas, of course, will eat these plants. So that the terrarium does not turn into squalor, you need to alternate living plants with artificial ones that are not painted and have a solid structure. There are many modifications of plastic plants, sometimes made very naturally. They create additional shelters for lizards, make their vertical movements the most secure, and in addition they represent surfaces for drinking. It is important that they are easily disinfected without being removed from the terrarium.