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How to Hold an Iguana? The Proper Way to Handle Your Pet Iguana

Iguanas are by nature wild animals, and as pet owners we should understand we are forcing them into domestication by possessing them. We should therefore also be more understanding of how they react to us in captivity. An iguana’s instinct is to run and hide when approached. Proper iguana handling is a process that will take time and commitment on your part.

It is best to start early getting your iguana used to you and the possibility of being handled. Many iguana owners discover that as their pet gets older, he may restrict who he allows to handle him. If your child or spouse is not involved in the early handling process of the animal, he most likely will not allow them to handle him. Much of this depends on the iguana’s personality.

Your iguana also has to know who is in charge. If you do not have the confidence needed to handle your iguana, he will most likely sense this and use it to his advantage.

Preparations Before Holding an Iguana

First things first: You need to be prepared. The success in handling your pet iguana significantly hinges on your readiness to respect their instinctive reactions and provide a safe environment.

1. Safety Precautions for You and Your Iguana

Respect your iguana’s space. Surprises are not appreciated by these creatures. Approach them calmly and let them know you are there. I have found that speaking to them softly can help. They may not understand what you’re saying, but they can recognize the tone and presence.

Remember that iguanas are armed with sharp teeth, powerful tails, and long claws. If they feel threatened or stressed, they can and will use these tools to defend themselves. So, when attempting to hold them, never rush or force the situation. Patience is the cornerstone of successful iguana handling.

2. Optimal Environmental Conditions

Contrary to popular belief, the timing and location of handling your iguana play a crucial role. Ensure your iguana is in a warm and comfortable environment. This is because iguanas, like all reptiles, are ectothermic animals, which means their body temperature is determined by their surroundings. A cold iguana is a stressed iguana, and a stressed iguana can lead to a difficult handling experience.

A perfect scenario? Try handling your iguana after it’s basked under a heat lamp for a while. It will be more relaxed and amenable to being handled.

3. Importance of Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is crucial for both you and your pet. Always wash your hands before and after handling your iguana. It helps keep both you and your iguana safe from potential infections. Iguanas can carry Salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness in humans.

Conversely, humans can pass on harmful bacteria to iguanas. By ensuring your hands are clean, you’re protecting both parties involved.

Step-by-Step Guide to Holding an Iguana</