Care sheet for the green iguana (Iguana iguana).
Updated February 3, 2023
Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
Green iguanas are found throughout tropical and subtropical North and South America. Green iguanas are common in Mexico and south throughout Central America and down through South America to Paraguay and Argentina. Green iguanas also occur throughout the Lesser Antilles and, in the past 20 years or so, the Greater Antilles and Southern Florida. In the Greater Antilles and southern Florida, green iguanas are an introduced species.
There is a definitive difference in the physical appearance of green iguanas depending on their locale. First, the South American green iguana population used to have the taxonomic name of Iguana iguana iguana. South American green iguanas are much less cold tolerant than the Central American green iguanas once referred to as Iguana iguana rhinolopha. All these subspecies are now synonymous, and there is only one recognized species: Iguana iguana. Green iguanas from some parts of Central America have horns on their noses ranging in size from small bumps to quite large flexible horns over a ½ inch long.
Green Iguana Availability
The green iguana is arguably the most common reptile in the pet trade today. Green iguanas are readily available and almost one million are imported into the United States annually as babies. It is true that these wonderful lizards make personable pets, but very few people who purchase them can meet the requirements of an adult green iguana.
If you are considering keeping a pet green iguana, I urge you to consider adopting one from a reptile rescue. Unless you can provide adequate facilities for an adult green iguana, you should not consider purchasing a green iguana as a pet.
Currently, there are several beautiful designer morph green iguanas available on the market. The hobbyist may now purchase erythrystic iguanas, blue iguanas (axanthic) and albino iguanas. Contrary to popular belief, albino green iguanas do well in full sun and with inside ultraviolet light. The sun has no adverse effect whatsoever on the albino iguanas. Many of these morphs, such as the albinos, are still quite expensive, but over time they will likely become more affordable.
Green Iguana Size
Green iguanas may reach lengths of 6 to 7 feet and weigh around 20 pounds. Male green iguanas reach a greater length than female green iguanas, which rarely exceed 5 feet in length. Additionally, mature male green iguanas have larger spikes going down their back and large femoral pores on the underside of their back legs.