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What are the Predators of an Iguana?

As an Iguana fan, I have been researching these lizards. Understanding their predators as well as other interesting facts that may help you before taking on one of these as a pet. But let's answer your question first.

What are the Predators of an Iguana? The natural predators of iguanas are predatory birds. In particular, eagles, owls, herons, egrets, and hawks. As well as foxes and snakes of all kinds. In more urban and domesticated areas, iguanas also have to worry about rats, cats, and dogs. Marine iguanas also have large fish to fear. Like many animals, iguanas are most vulnerable to predators when they are young or newly hatched.

There are certain detrimental affects these predators have. And in some cases these affects can be quite a big. Next I will explain these affects and how to care for one of the most popular lizards in case you want to make one your pet.

Predator Affects

Over the years, certain species of iguanas have been displaced by humans and preyed upon by predators so much that they have become endangered animals.

In fact, Caribbean rock iguanas are now the most endangered group of lizards in the world because humans destroyed their habitat, run them over with their cars, and introduced exotic species of cats that prey upon the iguanas.

Many zoos now have breeding programs to help preserve iguanas of all kinds.

Iguana Facts

Interested to know which iguana is the most popular? Green iguanas are not only one of the most popular iguanas, they are actually one of America’s most popular pets.

Iguanas are ranked as the ninth most popular pet in the United States. The article goes on to explain some of the reasons why iguanas make such great pets.

They are great for lazy people.

Iguanas don’t have to be taken out for walks every day or brushed to keep mats out of their fur. Nope. As long as they are in a proper habitat, kept warm, and fed well, iguanas are pretty laid back animals.

They are also popular pets because they live for several years. If you're like me, one of the only things that you hate about having pets is that one day they are going to die.

It breaks my heart to lose a pet, and I often avoid adopting a new pet for fear of losing it. Iguanas, though, are very long-lived animals, which makes them less of a heartbreak risk.

Green iguanas are popular in other areas of our culture as well. People wear green iguanas on their t-shirts and swimming trunks; they drink green iguana margaritas; and they even decorate their bars or restaurants with pictures of them, sometimes wearing floppy hats.

Even though they are not native to North America, the green iguana has become a pretty common sight in the United States.

What is the Green Iguana’s Scientific Name?

The green iguana’s scientific name is easy to remember and also quite fun to say! Green iguanas are known as Iguana iguana to the scientific community. No, that is not a double word typo on my part. Its scientific name is actually Iguana iguana. Pretty simple, huh?

What Other Names Do They Have?

Because they are one of the most popular pets in the United States, green iguanas are now also known by the names ‘common green iguana’ and ‘American iguana.’

People in the reptile community use these names interchangeably, so when you start looking for more information about green iguanas, don’t discount sites that use the terms American iguana or common green iguana. They are all talking about the same adorable iguana.

Where is Their Natural Habitat?

Green iguanas are native to both South America and Central America. They can also be found on many islands, including Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, St. Lucia, and others.

Green iguanas can also be found in Florida, Hawaii, and Texas, but they were brought to those places by humans and never naturally inhabited those areas. 

Iguanas thrive on sunlight and love basking in the sun, so in their natural habitats, they tend to live high up in the canopy of trees. Juveniles, too, live in the canopy, though they are generally found a bit lower than mature iguanas. They move higher as they age.

They prefer forested habitats, but they can survive in the more open areas as well. They can often be found near large bodies of water, as they are excellent swimmers and enjoy taking a dip to cool off just as humans do.

How Big is a Green Iguana?

When they first hatch, baby green iguanas are usually between six to nine inches long (17 to 25 centimeters) and weigh less than an ounce (approximately 12 grams).

However, within three years, that same iguana can grow to weigh over two pounds (1 kilogram). Upon reaching full height, green iguanas are the largest (in length) of all iguanas, growing between five and seven feet long (1.5 to 2 meters) and can reach weights of nearly twenty pounds (9 kilograms)!

In captivity, it is more likely, however, that your iguana will grow between four and six feet long and weigh closer to eight to thirteen pounds. As with most species, males will usually grow to be larger than females.

What is the Lifespan of a Green Iguana?

In the wild, iguanas tend to live for about eight years; however, in captivity, a green iguana who is well taken care of can potentially live much longer.

With a carefully maintained habitat and the right diet, captive iguanas can live up to twenty years! On average, however, captive iguanas tend to live between ten and twelve years, with the females generally living longer than the males.

Caring For A Green Iguana

Other than feeding your iguana a balanced and healthy diet, the most important thing you can do for your pet is to make sure he or she is living in a clean, healthy, and well-maintained habitat.

Creating the perfect habitat for your new iguana is probably the most daunting part of green iguana ownership, but do not let that scare you away! You can do it!

Just make sure you do your research before deciding what will work best for your new pet. The following are some of the most important things to remember when setting up your iguana’s new habitat:

  • SIZE MATTERS! Iguanas are not limited in size by their enclosure. In other words, no matter what you’ve heard, buying a small enclosure for your iguana will not keep him small.

    An iguana is going to grow no matter what size enclosure he is placed in, and since iguanas can grow up to seven feet in length, it is important that the enclosure you choose for your iguana is large, as well.

    The enclosure should be twice the length of your iguana and at least six feet high. You can start off with a smaller enclosure for your hatchling, but be sure that you are ready to move a big habitat into your home in a couple of years.

  • Iguanas love the sun and must stay warm. Their habitats need a basking spot in them that is constantly between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and the rest of the habitat should never reach below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

    This can be achieved, even in colder climates, by the use of UV lamps and heating pads. However, it is important to remember that green iguanas, like most other animals, do require a day/night cycle, so at night, you must have a way to regulate the temperature within your iguana’s habitat without constantly shining lights onto him.

  • High humidity is a must. One of the biggest problems seen in captive iguanas is dehydration. They do not drink a lot of water, so to keep them hydrated, you must be willing to find ways to keep their habitat humidified.

    Spritzing the habitat and the iguana with a spray bottle will work, but for those of us who work, spritzing our pets every few hours is not practical. Instead, try placing a humidifier in the room and placing several different large pools of water inside the habitat. Bathing or showering your iguana daily can also help with this issue.

I know!

Maintaining a healthy habitat for your new pet sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t nearly as stressful as you think.

The Green Iguana Society has a great guide specifically to help new owners with setting up their habitats.

Will They Benefit from a Hide Box?

Hatchlings and young iguanas will most definitely benefit from a hide box or two in their enclosures. Young iguanas need to feel safe and that there is a space for them to go and be undisturbed. Hide-a-logs are great for small iguanas, but there are many different types of hiding boxes you can choose to use.

As iguanas grow larger and older, they have less need of hide boxes, but they still occasionally need some place where they can get away and feel like they are alone and hidden, especially if their enclosure is in a busy spot in your home.

However, finding hide boxes that fit a fully grown iguana can be problematic. You may have to make something of your own, or you can use certain types of foliage to create hidden spaces for your iguana to enjoy.

Just be sure to double check that the plant you are using is not toxic to reptiles, specifically iguanas.

What is the Ideal Substrate for Them?

Again, refer to the habitat guide from the Green Iguana Society if you have any questions or doubts about what type of substrate to use with your iguana. Some things that you never want to use are wood chips, dirt, or sand. These items can be easily picked up by a flicking iguana tongue, and if they are swallowed, they can be very damaging to your iguana’s digestive tract.

Some recommendations for good substrates are old newspapers with non-toxic ink, plain butcher paper, paper towels, or pieces of indoor/outdoor carpet. However, if you do use carpet, please take all precautions against it unraveling, as this can lead to problems with your new iguana. Change your iguana enclosure’s substrate regularly, as well.

What Lighting and Heating do They Need?

I touched on lighting and heating already in the section about creating the perfect habitat, but it is important, so I wanted to mention it once more.

As I mentioned before, basking areas should be between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and ambient temperatures in the air of the habitat should be no lower than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Daytime heat can be achieved with incandescent light bulbs. Nighttime heat can be provided with CHE’s (Ceramic Heat Emitters) which provide only heat with no light.

Hot rocks are not recommended for use with iguanas because they can become too hot and burn your pet.

Iguanas also need a steady source of UV light to thrive. There are two types of UV light – UVA and UVB. UVA light can easily be achieved by giving your iguana exposure to natural light coming through windows or even your regular ceiling lights.

UVB light, though, is a little more difficult; however, it can be achieved by the use of UV bulbs shining into your iguana’s enclosure. Natural, unfiltered sunlight is a great source of UVB light, as well. Feel free to take your iguana out into the sun every now and then! Also consider building an outdoor sunning cage for your pet if your budget allows it.

What are Their Water Requirements?

Iguanas do not drink a lot of water; however, this does not mean that they do not need access to fresh water. On the contrary, you should provide several pools or bowls of fresh water for your iguana.

Even though he will get most of his water needs fulfilled through his food, he may need a little drink every now and then. Even more importantly, having many sources of fresh water located inside your iguana’s enclosure will help keep it at the right humidity for your iguana.

Be sure to change the water out daily and wash the bowls thoroughly before replacing them in the habitat.

How Often Should You Clean Out Their Housing?

Various items in your iguana’s habitat will need to be cleaned daily, such as their food and water bowls. In addition, you need to remove any food or other types of waste that you see in the enclosure each day or even more often.

The substrate used for your iguana’s habitat should be changed out weekly, and any broken branches or anything else that could harm your iguana should be removed immediately upon seeing them.

Are There Any Known Health Conditions Iguanas May Suffer From?

As I mentioned already, dehydration is a common ailment of iguanas, but it can easily be avoided by remembering to keep plenty of pools of fresh, clean water in your pet’s enclosure. Other diseases that your iguana may fall prey to are metabolic bone disease, liver disease, or blister disease.

Be sure to watch for color changes, signs of the hind limbs not working correctly, appetite changes, and changes in your pet’s pooping habits.

Yes, I know, it’s gross, but poop can be a good indicator of what is going on inside your reptilian friend. Make sure to familiarize yourself with exotic pet vet clinics near you in case you need to take your iguana to a vet.

Are They a Good Pet for Beginners?

Whether or not a green iguana will make a good pet for a beginning pet owner is entirely dependent on the new owner in question.

If you are thinking of adopting an iguana, the Green Iguana Society has an “Are You Ready?” page that I suggest you consult. It lists all the traits an iguana owner needs to have and tells you a few steps to take before deciding whether or not to adopt an iguana.

If you are loving, dedicated, and patient and don’t mind a little extra work setting up a habitat in the beginning, I think you will be fine.

Related Questions:

Why is my Green Iguana Turning Brown? Okay, so you have your iguana and things have been going well so far. All of sudden, you come home and notice your green iguana is turning brown!

What do you do?! First off, don’t panic! There could be any number of reasons that your green iguana is becoming a brown iguana. First of all, it is important to note that the name “green iguana” is a bit of a misnomer.

Green iguanas can actually be many different colors, including brown, blue, or even albino white.

However, if your iguana started off green and is now changing, there are several reasons for this as well.

When baby iguanas are hatchlings, they are often a vibrant, bright green. However, as your baby iguana ages, it starts to dim in color as its adult colors start to appear.

By its second year of life, you should be able to predict what your adult iguana is going to look like. By the time your iguana reaches sexual maturity at eighteen months old, its colors should be pretty much set.

However, there are still other reasons why your mature iguana is turning colors. Iguanas often change colors when they begin to shed their skins, which happens every four to six weeks.

Your iguana could dim in color to a brownish or yellow and might even get milky white patches on its skin.

This is normal. Changes in temperature can also cause your iguana to change colors, and finally, males and many of the females will change color during the breeding season as well. All of these things are perfectly reasonable explanations for your iguana changing his color.

However, stress and sickness can also be the cause of your iguana turning brown, and if your iguana begins to change color to a dark brown, this could be a definite cause for concern.

If your adult iguana begins changing colors, watch to see if he starts to shed. Look out for other signs of sickness as well, such as change in appetite or a difference in his poop.

If any of these things happen in correlation to the color changes, then it might be time to take your friend to the vet. Melissa Kaplan, author of Iguanas for Dummies, has an online guide to color variations and changes in iguanas.

Can Green Iguanas Swim? Yes! And they enjoy it! In the wild, green iguanas are often found near bodies of water. Though they mostly reside in the high canopies of trees, they use rivers and lakes as means of escape from predators.

If they are frightened by a predator, they will often leap out of the trees and into the water to swim away. As for your pet iguana, he might also like a shallow bath in your tub or sink every now and then as well, but this is different for different iguanas. Try it out and see if bath time is something your iguana enjoys.

Can Green Iguanas Live Outside? Again, the answer to this question is yes. Green iguanas are native to Central and South America, and in the wild, the only place they have to live is outside.

Unless you live in an area very much like their native habitats, however, you should not keep your pet iguana outside. Most regions are too cool for much of the year for your iguana to stay healthy.

However, building an outdoor sunning cage is something you can do that your iguana would enjoy very much.

Make sure that your enclosure is large and in a warm, sunny part of the yard, and only leave your iguana in the outdoor enclosure during the warm, dry parts of the day.

I also do not recommend leaving your iguana unattended, even inside the enclosure, in case of animals or strangers who may happen by your yard and be a little too curious about your pet iguana. This video on YouTube shows a really lovely outdoor sunning cage for your iguana:

Can Red and Green Iguanas Mate? Red and green iguanas can mate because red and green iguanas are the same type of iguanas. A red iguana is simply a green iguana that had an orange-red pigment to its skin. It is the same as breeding a black cat and a white cat.

They are the same animal with different colors on their skins. I know I have referred to the Green Iguana Society a lot in this post, but that is because they have some really excellent information about iguanas.

I’m going to refer to them once again here because if you are seriously considering breeding iguanas, they have some information you should read.


I hope that you have enjoyed this article about iguanas (Can Iguanas swim in pools? Click here to see) , and I hope that it has helped you with whatever it was that brought you here in the first place. If you are a new iguana owner, I hope that you got some great information to help you on your new journey.

If my article helped you or if you have any further questions I might be able to answer for you in the future or if you just want to say hi, please use the comment section down below! Thank you so much for stopping by today!


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.