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Can Iguanas Swim in Chlorine Pools? (Dangerous?)

Can Iguanas swim in chlorine pools?

Yes, Iguanas can swim in pools. Ideally, a saltwater pool, but many owners have used these pools in captivity, without issues. However, you need to be careful if you have just added Chlorine to the pool. And, understand it’s not recommended, but it’s possible.

Maybe you have a chlorine pool, or just curious about Iguanas swimming capabilities. Either way, I am going to cure your curiosity and explain if the back garden pool is a viable option for your Iguana.

Now that you know that they can swim in the pool. Let me also explain, exactly what chlorine is, and how it was used negatively in the past. Precautions you should take before even thinking about letting them in the pool. How Iguanas swim so well, and much more. Keep reading.

Precautions for swimming in chlorine pools

iguana Precautions for swimming in chlorine

As discussed, many keepers have had success with their Iguanas in their swimming pools. For example, according to a member of this forum, he has been allowing his Iguana to swim in these pools for 13 years, without issues.

As a precaution, it is recommended to make sure that the chlorine has not been recently added. This will help to reduce the exposure to your lizard. Instead, let the chlorine settle. Are you with me?

What is Chlorine?

With all this talk about this chemical in pools, forgive me, let me clarify exactly what Chlorine actually is.

According to Wikipedia, it is a chemical element. It has a chemical symbol of CI and an atomic number of 17. Also, it has a yellowish/green color at room temperature.

You may not know this, but it is actually used as an ingredient in manufacturing many different products. I say this because most of us assume that it is only used in swimming pools, right?

Interesting Fact.

One interesting fact about chlorine, it was actually used in world war I for chemical warfare. This is because used at high concentrations it is known to be very dangerous. And this is especially true around animals and other living things.

Are Marine iguanas good swimmers?

If you are curious about Iguanas swimming. You may have heard, or wondered about the Marine Iguana. This makes sense because it is an excellent swimmer.

What is a Marine Iguana?

The Marine Iguana is a resident of the Galapagos Islands. They are so good in the water they are regarded as marine animals. At a glimpse, they look roughly the same size as a Green Iguana (What Can I Use for Iguana Bedding? Click here) but they are slightly smaller. To be precise, they typically grow up to about four feet.

Swimming Ability

As discussed, they are excellent swimmers (could they drown? click here). It’s quite deceiving because at a quick glance they do not look like natural swimmers. Why? Because they look like they have the incorrect build for it, know what I mean? Never the less, they are great swimmers and divers.

When I say good divers, its a bit of an understatement, to be honest. Why? Because these “bad boys” can stay underwater for up to one hour. But, this is not their average though, it’s more of an extreme. They typically spend 5-10 minute stints under the water.

How do these Iguana’s actually Swim (Physically)?

Earlier I mentioned that at first glance, they do not look like natural swimmers, right? Remember? Well, I am guessing you may be wondering how they physically swim based on this remark. Good question, let me explain…

Big Boy Tails!

Firstly, they have strong tails that are great for propelling them through the water. Ideal for swimming. Their feet are also impressive, for swimming I mean. They are big and have webs that use to push and glide through the water.

They love Algae, so they are known to dive down to up to 32 feet deep. However, on a day-to-day basis, they are not consistently swimming, this would be tiring. Some of this time is spent floating, to give their limbs a break.

Also, worth noting they also very comfortable walking on land as well. Meaning they have the best of both worlds, which is an ideal quality to have.

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Iguanas and swimming. If you feel that you have some extra questions, that have not been answered, then feel free to drop me a comment below.

Q: How often should you bathe your iguana?

According to this site, you should be doing this once a week, at least. However, you may be thinking “Why do I even need to do this?”. Good question, let me explain…

Firstly, this is no reflection on their general hygiene or smell for that matter. Iguanas are not actually smelly. The main issue is with lizard keepers that neglect to keep them clean.

The reason for this bathing is for a few reasons:

  • Keeping them clean and maintained.
  • Help to shed.
  • Clean off obvious debris or feces.
  • Exercise.

Keeping them clean and maintained is obvious, but maybe shedding isn’t. The reason for this is, the water will help to make the shedding process easier and fewer chances of problems for your lizard, are you with me?

Also, exercise is another unexpected benefit maybe. Well, this water can help to keep them exercised as they play or swim in the water.

Water “Accidents”

One word of warning though. there is a chance that your Iguana might defecate in the water. Why? Well, to be honest, its relaxing for them. If they have been holding one in for a while, the water will naturally ease it out f them.

Do not be alarmed, this is natural and you can easily clean this up and replace the water. Just a warning.

Q: Do iguanas breathe underwater?

No. Because there are Iguanas like the Marine, you may have assumed that they could breathe underwater, and I get it, to be honest. This is a reasonable assumption to make. But, it’s incorrect.

But, why can’t they? Simple, they are not like fish. They do not have gills. Meaning they can not breathe without inhaling oxygen, like us. However, they can do thins underwater that we cannot. Like holding their breath underwater for 30 minutes. And, some impressive stuff, like diving up to 30 meters.

Q: Why do iguanas poop in the water?

The short answer is, they feel relaxed. Earlier, I spoke briefly about Iguanas pooping in the water. The reason for this is quite straight forward, and arguably quite logical.

The water makes them feel relaxed. So, their body will instinctively ease out the feces, because of this relaxed state.

Q: How many marine iguanas are left?

According to this site, there is 200-300 thousand Marine Iguanas on the Galapagos Islands (at the time of their writing. With these numbers, it doesn’t look like we need to be worried about them going extinct any time soon.

Q: Can iguanas hear you?

If you are a humble Iguana owner, you may be wondering if he can actually hear you. To cut a long story short yes, he can. But, the interesting thing is how he does it.

The thing is, at a glance, there are no obvious ears on the lizard, right? Well, not like you and I. However, it does have an eardrum that is vaguely visible. They hear differently to us, you see. This eardrum is called the “tympanic membrane”. And, it almost could be overlooked as part of their skin.

Q: Do iguanas like to be petted?

Yes. If you are wondering about an Iguanas temperament, they are typically quite slow and docile. They are likely to climb on you, for petting. But I do need to warn you, they have some sharp claws, so you need to take some precaution if you really want to handle him, without getting scratched.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.