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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Spiny Tail Iguana

Spiny Tail Iguana


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Traits & behavior

This means they eat both plant matter and live insects.

They are active during the day and sleep at night.

Spiny tail iguanas are healthiest and happiest living alone.

These energetic iguanas can be tamed with frequent, gentle handling.

Things to remember

Always supervise children when they're interacting with your spiny tail iguana.

Give your pet 3-4 days to adjust to his new home, then try holding him for short amounts of time. Take care to never handle him by the tail - it could break off.

Food safety

  • Insects - Remove uneaten insects from the habitat at the end of the day; do not allow to remain in habitat overnight
  • Fruits & vegetables - Fresh foods require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after four hours to prevent spoilage

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.


Crickets & worms
They eat live insects, like "gut loaded" (feed the insects a special supplement so they have extra nutrients) crickets, mealworms, superworms or waxworms.

Feeding frequency & amount (insects)
Feed juveniles twice a day; adults 3-4 times a week. Offer an amount that can be consumed by the end of the day.

Fruits & vegetables
Offer 1-2 teaspoons of fresh kale, collard greens, carrots, squash, berries, bananas and melons every other day

Calcium dust
"Dust" the insects with a calcium supplement twice a week - ask a PetSmart associate for details.

Provide drinking water in a large, shallow dish and change it daily.


Signs of a healthy spiny tail iguana:

  • Curious, active behavior
  • Clear, alert eyes
  • Muscular tail
  • Sheds regularly during growth
  • Eats and drinks normally
  • Breathes easily
  • Well-formed droppings every 2-3 days

Things to watch for:

  • Runny droppings or red streaks in droppings for more than two days
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Swollen joints
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

If you notice any of the signs above, please consult an experienced Reptile Veterinarian as soon as possible.


Use a 40-gallon or larger, glass terrarium with a screen lid for proper ventilation.

Hiding place
Provide a natural or artificial wood or rock hiding area.

Add a live tree and/or plant (a ficus or pothos works well), plus plenty of artificial reptile branches to create climbing areas.

Keep the humidity level between 65-75%. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track.


  • Day - Maintain a daytime temperature between 75-85° F
  • Basking - Provide a basking spot lamp to create a localized basking area of 95-100° F
  • Night - Maintain a nighttime temperature between 65-75° F
  • Place a thermometer at each end of the home to monitor temperatures

Use a daytime UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb for approximately 12 hours of light per day to help your pet process calcium.

Line the terrarium floor with 2"-3" of mixed bark and coconut fiber bedding. Clean out waste weekly and change bedding at least once a month.

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