Iguana Care of  "Basic Guide"

By Frank Logi  06/05/2013

From the era of the Mayan Empires, Iguanas have mesmerized and perplexed man with their exotic, eerie attractiveness and feral appearance. With our tendency to control nature in order, man's biggest challenge (in this narrow context) has been figuring out how to tame and take care of Iguanas

The sparkling green coat and curious character of this lizard has endeared it to many pet lovers. But many years after the domestication of the first Iguana, taming one is still a precarious undertaking.

Our relationship with Iguanas, to a certain extent, mirrors our relationship with nature.
Is it possible to reconfigure the mind of a 'wild' animal - to completely tame it?
Is it possible to manipulate nature for our ends?
Based on history and the wealth of information about Iguanas; Yes.

There are several things we need to understand in order to successfully tame or care for an Iguana. However, the underlining reasoning hinges on knowledge of the Iguana's way of life in its natural habitat. In this text, we'll discuss the basic rules and requirements for taming and taking care of an Iguana.  

Iguanas are known to be very aggressive animals, and it may be impossible to totally tame some of the more wild ones. But it is possible to establish certain ground rules that govern how you relate.

Being a territorial animal, Iguanas are disposed to display signs of aggression when strangers come close to them; these signs include opening their mouth to bite or spreading their dewlap. Remember to stand your ground when this happens, you need to communicate to the animal that you are the master -- this certainly requires courage and you may get tail whipped and/or bitten a couple of times. However, as you learn more about taking care of Iguanas and as the animal gets to know you, this would cease.

Iguana care of
If your Iguana is acting aggressive, it is advisable to wear protective clothing when you approach it (cover your face, feet and arms) or give it the towel treatment (i.e. wrap it in a towel before you carry it). If you ever get bitten or whipped by an iguana, try to act as though it is painless, this notifies the animal that its defense mechanisms have no effect on you; therefore it will cease to attack you.
Please note that if you ever get bitten by an iguana, don't pull away as this would leave a nasty cut. Stay still until it lets go and treat the bite immediately.

In training your Iguana to do as you instruct, adopt a system of punishment and reward -- i.e. if the animal acts according to your bidding, reward it with a fruit or a stroll in the sun. If, on the other hand, it is acting recalcitrant, punish it by locking it up or administering the 'towel treatment'.

Sound and images are important elements in communicating with Iguanas -- some trainers even believe their animals learn to understand some words. In taming and taking care of Iguanas, ensure the tone of your voice and your demeanour convey your emotions. Iguanas are known to be quite perceptive and with time would learn to detect when you're happy or angry at their actions.

Certain colors (i.e. blue, yellow and green) are known to trigger aggressive behavior in Iguanas.
Some Iguanas have also been known to react aggressively to humans (i.e. females) experiencing hormonal activity (i.e. menstruation). This usually happens when the Iguana (often a male) is in its breeding season.

The ultimate rule to taming and taking care of Iguanas is to base your techniques on a healthy level of empiricism, as opposed to the blind application of any theory -- remember every Iguana is unique, even if they look identical.



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