11 Effective Tips on How to Tame an Iguana

Nowadays, iguanas are sold in and can easily be bought from pet shops since they have become quite popular for being an interesting pet. However, it is quite challenging to keep and raise iguanas especially when it comes to taming them.

Unlike dogs or cats, iguanas are not your typical domesticated pets. It may take a while before they become accustomed to a domestic environment and to calm down. Even if they may have been kept and raised in captivity, iguanas still have the protective instinct they naturally developed while living in the wild.

Tips on How To Tame An Iguana

Taming an iguana is comparatively harder than many other reptile pets such as bearded dragons. But if you follow this guide, you will have a tamed and well-behaved pet iguana in no time.

1. Avoid Wild Caught Iguanas

One of the most important things to remember when choosing a pet iguana is to check where it comes from. Any reputable breeder should be able to tell you where it came from. Training and taming wild-caught iguanas are very difficult. Always find captive-bred iguanas or rescue one if possible.

2. Start Young

If possible, get a young iguana. Young iguanas are easy to train and tame. However, adopting an older iguana can actually save you some headaches in the long run. The more time they spend with humans as babies, the more likely they’ll tolerate people holding them later in life.

Be sure the iguana has spent a lot of time with humans if you are getting an old one.

3. Give Your Pet Time To Adjust

The best thing you can do when you first bring your iguana home is to get it in the enclosure and leave it alone.

Your pet will feel shaken up initially by the new transportation and accommodations, even if it comes from the best pet shop. Your lizard may need days or weeks to adjust to its new surroundings.

I know you want to play with them, grab them, squeeze them, and love them but doing all this can actually make the taming process more difficult.

Make sure you change the water, food, and mist, and spot-clean the enclosure every day, without grabbing the iguana. Just let them run away to the other side of the enclosure when you are doing chores.

4. Keep Your Iguana in a Crowded Area

Let your iguana get used to seeing you around the house. Don’t put the iguana enclosure somewhere where he’s never gonna see you. If you put your iguana in an isolated area where it only sees you when you walk in that will scare the crap out of it.

Put your iguana in an area of your house where there’s somewhat traffic like in the living room, dining room, and kitchen area so they can see movements.

5. Be Patient

Taming an iguana takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t want to reach in and grab them after like a week because they will keep running from you.

They are especially more shy during the first few days. In order to keep your iguana happy, you should avoid spooking them. Work up to holding and petting your animal. Get him used to your presence by giving him treats, letting him lick you, and hanging out with him.

The one thing that we have learned over many years is that you should let them come to you and they will but you need to be patient.

6. Follow a Schedule

Iguanas thrive on a schedule. Find a daily schedule that works well both for you and your pet. Make things consistent by setting an alarm for feeding times and putting his lighting on a timer.

You can start interacting with it once it appears calm, takes its meals without difficulty, and maintains a regular sleeping pattern.

7. Engage their Senses

Your iguana can see, hear and smell. It should be able to feel your presence. You want your iguana to become accustomed to you and his environment. You should talk to them but softly as iguanas are pretty good at hearing, so keep the noise down during transition weeks. Also, make sure your iguana can see you all the time.

Gentle and soft talking while moving closer to them may also create an atmosphere of calmness and trust. Approaching your iguanas this way on a daily basis will eventually build trust and the idea that you mean them no harm. Taking the time to practice this everyday will gradually tame them.

8. Understand their body language

Remember also to observe and understand their body language when trying to interact with them. Certain actions like bobbing the head and flicking the tail, and the time when they do those actions should give you an idea of how they feel or how they seem to perceive you.

9. Beware of Injuries 

When picking up their iguanas, many owners wear gloves. Those gloves will only protect you from their bites. In addition to biting, iguanas’ tails can be extremely dangerous. Those sharp spikes can be painful. When a lizard gets spooked, it can whip you and break your skin. But this should not stop you from taming your iguana.

Don’t hesitate to make the first move, but let him come to you.

10. Don’t Accidentally Encourage Bad Behavior

As soon as your iguana allows you to hold it, play with it regularly. You should try to handle him 15 minutes a day and not back down if he begins to panic. The last thing you want to do is unintentionally reinforce bad behavior. Calm him as best you can before you put him back in the enclosure.

11. Tamed Iguana

After a few months, you’ll have bonded with him, but don’t stop there. In order to prevent them from becoming skittish again, it is essential to spend time with them every day.

Remember, just because he likes you doesn’t mean he’ll like everyone else. Whenever you introduce your reptile to a new human, you should take it slow.


Taming an iguana needs a lot of patience. To make the taming process easier and quicker, you should avoid wild-caught iguanas and start young if possible. Don’t disturb them when you first bring them home. Place their enclosure in a crowded area where they can see and hear you.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com, a site that is devoted to reptiles and the people who love them. I have been keeping and breeding many pet reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, etc. for over 10 years now.

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