Why Does My Iguana have its Mouth Open?

Iguanas communicate how they are feeling through their body language. Keeping their mouth open is one of them.

Why does your iguana keep its mouth open can mean different things.

Reasons Why Iguanas Keep Their Mouth Open

1. The Temperature is Not Right

If your Green Iguana is basking in the sun, or in a hot enclosure it means that its overheating, and allowing the hot internal air to escape via its mouth. This is natural and not a sure sign of distress, but they need to be able to cool off either via a shady spot within reach or a large water bowl to soak in.

Make sure they have access to water if their open mouth continues for a while.

If they are doing this inside an indoor iguana cage, IMMEDIATELY ensure there is cool airflow, and that there is a healthy gradient of temperatures inside. You have a thermometer near their hot basking site, and one in the cooler spots of the cage, right?

Make sure its not hotter than 90 degrees, and that the cool spot is no colder than 60 degrees, no hotter than 75 degrees.

If the whole house is very hot, either let them out of the cage or put a fan (safely out of reach!) pointing at part of the cage.

This is a good time to mist them with cool water, and to offer a room temperature bath.

2. Your Iguana is Not Happy

Iguana will keep its mouth open when they are angry and upset.

If your iguana is standing erect, and with its tail curled away from you… WATCH OUT!

Your iguana is not happy and is clearly warning you to back off. It will whip you HARD, or will bite you if your hand gets near.

Walk away, stay still and let it see there is no threat. But if you absolutely must grab it, use a thick towel, or a shirt if need be and place it over its head and body. You can then grab it forcefully but gently, wrap it up so it can not bite or scratch you. Then prepare yourself for it to start wiggling like crazy and whipping its tail around.

Keep it close to your chest and bear hug, the tail won’t hurt (much) if its near you. If it does not submit after a minute of wrestling, you have a psychotic Iguana which is not well tamed.

You should put the Iguana in its cage, or temporarily inside a large pillowcase until you can put it somewhere where it can relax and feel no stress. Prolonged STRESS will KILL IGUANAS.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com. I have been a reptile enthusiast for over a decade, and during this time I have kept and bred a variety of different reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, and chameleons. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience with others to help them provide the best care possible for their pet reptiles.

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