Can Iguanas Eat Cucumber (Is it a Good Idea)?
If you are thinking about the best food for your current or future Iguana. It lets me know you want to know everything about your lizard (Click here for my best Iguana Guide, on Amazon) to treat him right. But what about cucumber? Is that even an option?
Can Iguanas eat cucumber? Yes, they can eat cucumber. Iguanas are herbivores so vegetables and fruits are pretty much the staples of the diet. In addition to cucumbers, an example of other fruits and vegetables they consume are collard greens, asparagus, etc.
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Now that you know that they can eat cucumber. Let me explain more about cucumbers. In particular, if they are actually good for his nutritional needs. Also, other foods that you need to avoid to keep him healthy, necessary supplements and much more. Keep reading…
What about fruits for your Iguana?
Yes, Iguana’s can eat fruits. However, fruits need to be eaten in moderation. Why? Well, fruits have limited nutritional value for Iguanas. Therefore, they should only represent approximately 5% of their food consumption.
This doesn’t mean that you should not give them fruit. You just need to understand that the majority of their food intake will be vegetables. Are you with me?
What is a cucumber?
I am sure you have seen or heard of a cucumber before, but do you really know the detail about this? Such where they come from, the plant that produces them, etc? Let me explain…
According to Wikipedia, there are three different variations of cucumbers:
- and Seedless.
They come from the vines of the Cucurbitaceae plant, which is part of the gourd family.
Is a cucumber a vegetable or a fruit?
Strictly speaking, a cucumber is a fruit. But, before you jump at me in disbelief, let me explain why. You may have consumed cucumbers for most of your life or at least familiar with them.
It may be confusing to hear that they are actually fruits. Because typically they are served with other vegetables and are typically referred to as vegetables. Even in shops and superstores.
However, according to to the guidelines of botany they are actually regarded as a fruit.
This is why they are fruit
The reason for this is a fruit is formed from a flowering plant, so it can reproduce. The fruit has the ability (seeds inside of it), to reproduce and create new plants.
This is exactly what a cucumber is. Vegetables are other parts of the plant, such as the leaves roots, etc. So based on this, definition the cucumber would be regarded as a fruit.
However, I doubt you would get many objections if you continue to refer to it as a vegetable. Because most people still class them as vegetables.
What is an iguana?
Iguanas (Click here to see 7 of the best small pet Iguana species (With Pictures)) are native to Mexico, the Caribean, and Central America, according to Wikipedia. Their name is actually derived from the species “iwana”, which was a Taino name.
Do Iguanas need supplementation?
Yes, Iguanas do need supplementation. They have a need for more calcium than phosphorus and competent iguana owners are recommended to provide a calcium supplementation. This is usually provided in the way of calcium powder.
This calcium powder is typically sprinkled lightly on to to the food that the Iguana. Usually provided two to three times a week, but the actual calcium powder product will give further details.
Vitamin mineral mix.
In addition to Calcium powder, a vitamin-mineral mix is often recommended as well. This is usually consumed on a weekly basis, depending on the guidelines of the product that you choose.
It is even more important to not go too crazy with this stuff if it contains Vitamin D3. Reason being, you need to be careful not to feed too much to your lizard.
Can you overfeed an iguana?
You may be thinking or wondering if it’s possible to overfeed an iguana. This may be because you are concerned not to overfeed it and you want to understand the limit/boundaries upfront.
If we are talking about vegetables and fruits according to this site it is not really possible to overfeed them. Provided you are feeding them the correct recommended vegetables and fruits. And, with that being said, the majority of their food will have to be vegetables, not fruit.
When it comes to omnivorous Iguanas there needs to be an extra level of caution. For example the spiny-tailed iguana or the chuckwalla. These lizards can consume vegetables as well as non-veg products.
With regards to the vegetarian side of their diet, there is no real limits. But, you need to monitor them for any non-veg consumption to make sure that they are not over-fed.
What do Iguanas eat in the wild?
You may be wondering, before domestication, what did they actually eat in the wild? Good question. In the wild, they pretty much live off green leaves and plants and flowers.
They also consume some fruits as well and other plants which are not readily available in the normal domestic environment.
The good thing is with Iguanas you are able to get a good source of vegetables that they will happily consume even if they are not in their natural habitat.
You may or may not have heard of this term “hindgut fermenters” before. According to this site, essentially it refers to the bacteria used to break down the high fiber diet that if you want as consume.
This is important because they eat so many vegetables and greenery that they need these bacteria to help them break it down.
This helps the food pass through the intestines and consumed through the body.
Often Iguanas are referred to as herbivores, but the majority of their diet is leaves and plants, which some would argue that they should be more specifically referred to as “folivores”.
What do baby Iguanas eat?
Baby Iguanas are very similar to their adult version. 95% of the food they consume will be vegetables, in particular, leafy plants. The remaining 5% will typically be fruits that they can consume.
They can consume dehydrated foods. However, you may find some will find it difficult to consume them. In these situations, you need to mix them up with hydrated vegetation or apply water to make them easier to consume.
Foods to use sparingly.
Iguanas love to consume lots of different vegetables & fruits. However, there are some that you need to use very sparingly. Such as bananas, carrots, and grapes.
The reason for this is, these particular foods have low calcium and phosphorus levels. Therefore, they are not adding much nutritional benefit to your iguana.
Other foods you should avoid.
I’m going to share with you some other food items that are not advisable for Iguanas.
As we discussed earlier Iguanas are typically herbivores. Therefore you should avoid meat products such as rodents, insects or any live insect.
Soya beans are high in protein and also contain phytoestrogens. For this reason it is not advisable to give it to your iguana. The issues with this is it can cause problems with their growth & development.
Pesticides contained in Plants and Flowers.
This may be obvious but like humans, Iguanas do not consume pesticides very well. This can be very damaging to them. So if you have any vegetables or flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides you need to be very careful.
As a general guideline, it is advisable to wash and clean any veg item before giving it to your Iguana.
In addition to this, as an extra precaution, it is a good idea to wash and leave them for a couple of days before providing them unless you have been sold them specifically for Iguanas and have faith that they have not got any pesticides on them.
Vegetables that are high in Oxalic Acid.
Foods such as celery and spinach have high oxalic acid. For this reason they need to be avoided. The down problem with his is, it binds to the calcium and can make it impossible or hard for your iguana to absorb the calcium that it needs to maintain the correct levels.