Terrible Pets

2019-02-17
Terrible Pets

Fio is a beautiful creature, but I feel it is my responsibility to say ...

Iguanas Make Terrible Pets!!!

They don't belong in our houses. They belong outdoors. Their huge claws are great for climbing trees. Not so great on skin.

They enjoy 90 degree temperatures and 90 percent humidity. They love to bask in the sun. Lamps and humidifiers don't' cut it in an Ohio winter. The saddest thing is to see Fio sitting on a heating pad looking out a window at snow.

Their teeth are razors. Their long tails are scimitars. When the males go into season (about a third of the year) the world becomes their enemy, now matter how good natured they are the rest of the time. They either want to fight or mate with everything, including you and your clothing. Be prepared with tooth marks where you would rather not have them.

They don't want to live in cages. They need a lot of room since they get really big- up to 6 feet long and 20 pounds.

Buying a cute little baby iguana is like buying a cute little baby dragon. Before you know it, its as big as your house and breathing fire. Even the reptile rescue where FIo originated has a no-iguana policy unless they are delivered by another organization. We think Fio was abandoned in an apartment and delivered to a humane society. One of the lucky ones.

So why would there be a trade in iguanas? Please, reptile breeders and reptile lovers everywhere, let's stop trying to make iguanas into pets!

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A Real Iguana Emerges

2018-11-13
A Real Iguana Emerges

When Fio arrived he was tiny. Just like most of the 'pet' iguanas in my experience, when they were once common pet shop 'merchandise'. Few of them ever made it past the baby stage.

Fio is turning into a fantastic beast.
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Iguana Glare

2018-09-27
Iguana Glare

Fio does not like the camera, which is why we haven't taken many pictures lately. He is very demonstrative and lets us know right away when he isn't pleased.

He likes: hibiscus flowers, mustard greens, and arugula.

He hates; cell phone cameras and the orange cat. But mostly, he hates Max. Max is a bearded dragon. He's scrawny and not much to look at.

But, as soon as Fio spotted him across the room, Max became THE ENEMY! Fio reared up, puffed out his dewlap and swished his tail around. We are assuming he thinks Max is another male iguana - a cause for extreme iguana consternation.

Since we are doing our best to help Fio relax, we moved Max to another room. As soon as Max was out of sign, Fio calmed down.

He still scowls at the cat, but the cat is just a dangerous predator who could eat him in a hearbeat, not THE ENEMY!

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Love or Hate...?

2017-11-23
Love or Hate...?

Fio has been 'in season' for the last month and not very interested in food. He may be looking for some other iguanas to fight or mate with, but there is only an orange cat.

One day he saw his reflection in a hand mirror. and got all puffy and indignant. But what bothered him the most was that when he looked behind the mirror he couldn't find the other iguana. I was impressed that he made the connection. Not sure the cat could have figured that out.
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Crazy Difficult

2017-03-18
Crazy Difficult

Keeping a pet iguana is crazy difficult.

The trick is to recreate a large tropical rainforest environment in your home. Not easy in Ohio in the winter.

Iguanamom has struggled all winter trying to maintain humidity in Fio’s wire ferret cage. She set up two humidifiers that steamed day and night but mostly just created a cloud around the cage. Even covering the sides with plastic sheeting didn’t help.

Her next plan was to use a small covered greenhouse with a door that zipped up. Much work was required to iguanify the greenhouse. She wire-tied plastic chicken wire mesh to the sides, hung lights from the roof with mesh wrapping for safety, and filled the interior with driftwood and rope ladders. The hardest part was figuring out how to make the move without traumatizing the lizard. Should we move him at night so that he wakes up in his new cage? Or try and get him to walk in by himself?

The simplest solution was to pop him in his travel box, transfer the last of his furniture, and open the travel box in his new home. I waited while Iguanamom made the transfer – too many eyes make Fio nervous. When I peeked inside the greenhouse, Fio was clambering around the top branches, exploring. He seemed more curious than afraid.

I realized how big he was. Our simulated rain forest is still not the real thing, but is a lot closer to where an iguana should be living. Fio is still very much a skittish wild creature, but at least he has room to move around and he’s not breathing dry winter air.

At some point he will outgrow this cage, too. By then, he should be large enough to hold his own with the “deathcats” and perhaps he can roam free like they do. There is still an issue with humidity and warmth, however.

We recently visited a reptile show and were disturbed to see an aquarium full of baby iguanas for sale. They were $25 each. Were they “throw-away” pets? Even if they were loved, would their new owners have any idea what they were getting into, or the means to care for them properly?

There seems to be a disconnect between the cuteness of an animal, and the reality of providing for it in a human house. Dogs and cats have made the transition with flying colors, and there are lots of other creatures that get along with us reasonably well. But an iguana? A terrarium in a bedroom is not going to work when that 8 inch lizard grows up.
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