Iguanas are considered omnivorous because they are known to occasionally eat insects. But iguanas prefer an herbivorous diet, feasting on plants, fruits, flowers, and leaves. To feed your iguana a properly balanced diet in captivity, it should closely resemble the diet that they’d eat in the wild.
Since fruit is included in their diet, you may be wondering if this includes apples. Can iguanas eat apples? Are apples safe for them?
The answer is yes. Iguanas can eat apples, but the amount that they consume should be monitored.
The Wild Diet of the Iguana
The diet of the wild iguana depends on the species and location of the reptile. These highly adaptive lizards live in various regions and can survive eating whatever is available to them. They mostly choose to eat plants, leaves, flowers, and fruits but have been known to consume small mammals, eggs, and insects when necessary. With over 35 different recognized species of iguanas, they are bound to have diets that differ slightly.
Iguanas can also graze garden vegetation, making themselves nuisances to homeowners. Growing plants that iguanas are known to dislike in an attempt to keep them out of gardens doesn’t always work. These reptiles are adaptive and can start eating plants that they previously wouldn’t touch if nothing else is available.
The Captive Diet of the Iguana
Health problems can occur if your iguana is not fed a proper diet, and inexperienced owners often purchase them from pet stores without knowing what their needs are. The captive diet of the iguana should closely mimic what they eat in the wild in order to help them be as healthy as possible. They should be herbivores in captivity because they don’t have to search for their own food.
Your iguana’s daily diet should be made up of 80–90% dark leafy greens and vegetables. The remaining 10–20% can be reserved for fruit, including apples.
Fresh, clean water should always be available for your iguana. Make sure it’s in a heavy dish that the iguana can’t spill. While some iguanas enjoy lapping water from a dish, if yours does not, they can get water through their diet in the food that they consume.
Misting your iguana with water is another way to help them stay hydrated because they can consume water through their skin. This is especially important in the winter, when the air is dry. Some iguanas enjoy bathing while others refuse it. If your iguana enjoys bathing, a dish filled with warm water can be offered to them a few times a week. This dish should be large enough for the lizard to fit inside of it comfortably.
Iguanas and Apples
While many iguanas enjoy eating apples, they should only eat them in moderation as a treat. Apples are high in sugar and can lead to excess weight gain, so they should never make up the bulk of your iguana’s diet.
What is interesting to note about iguanas is that they don’t chew their food. They have teeth, but they are only used to break down pieces of food once or twice before they swallow these pieces whole.
When it comes to apples, the pieces offered to your iguana should be small. Cutting the pieces into manageable sizes that your iguana could swallow will make it easier for them and avoid the risk of choking.
Can Iguanas Eat the Apple Peel?
While the apple peel itself is not dangerous or toxic to iguanas, it can be difficult for them to digest. Peeling the apple is always recommended before offering this fruit to your reptile because it can cause impaction. This occurs when the digestive tract is blocked and is usually a medical emergency. If the impaction is left untreated, it could be fatal.
Can Iguanas Eat the Apple Seeds?
This isn’t recommended. Apple seeds contain amygdalin, which is a cyanogenic glycoside. Simply put, when these seeds are chewed, swallowed, and metabolized, the amygdalin turns to cyanide in the body. While there’s a chance that your iguana could swallow apple seeds and be fine, it’s best not to risk it. Always peel the apple, remove the seeds, and cut it into small pieces for your iguana to enjoy.
How Much Apple Should My Iguana Eat?
The amount of apple that you give your iguana should fit into the 20% fruit portion of their daily diet and not be given every day. Not only are apples high in sugar, but they’re also not something that an iguana would usually eat in the wild.
While your iguana may like apples, too many could cause them to have loose stool. Limiting the amount of all fruit is best when it comes to feeding iguanas.
They may enjoy it as an occasional treat, but the bulk of their diet should be leafy greens and veggies.
Any uneaten apple pieces should be removed within a few hours to avoid bacteria growth and decay.
Can Iguanas Eat Applesauce?
Iguanas can eat applesauce as long as it doesn’t contain added sugars. All-natural applesauce is best for them. You can even make your own applesauce by cooking apples and mashing them, providing your iguana with an easier way to eat this tasty treat without any health risks.
Can Iguanas Consume Apple Juice?
The juice from an apple is safe for iguanas to consume. But apple juice from the store is usually filled with added sugars and other ingredients that could potentially be unsafe for your reptile. If you can juice your own apples to create apple juice for your iguana, this would be the safest way for them to enjoy it.
If you have a lizard that is hesitant to drink water from a dish, adding a little fresh, pure apple juice might encourage them to drink more. By drinking apple juice, they can get extra hydration with added nutrients.
What Else Can Iguanas Eat?
Vegetables can be cooked or raw but raw provides more nutrients. Always remember to thoroughly wash all greens, fruits, and vegetables to remove any pesticides or toxins before offering them to your iguana. Remove all stones from the stone fruits and seeds from apples and pears.
If you are unsure of how to create a proper diet for your iguana, consult your vet to help you create a well-balanced diet to keep your lizard healthy.
Apples can be included in your iguana’s diet as part of a varied and well-balanced meal plan to give your lizard optimal nutrition. This fruit should be given in moderation to avoid digestive upset and weight gain from too much sugar. If you’re going to feed apples to your iguana, be sure to remove the peel and seeds before you cut the fruit up in small pieces for them.
Applesauce, especially that which you make yourself at home, is a treat that iguanas can enjoy that is easier for them to eat. Natural apple juice with no added sugars can be offered or added to their water as a way to entice them to drink more.
Sticking to a daily diet for your iguana that is made up of 80–90% dark leafy greens and vegetables and 10–20% fruits will give them various foods to keep them healthy and from getting bored.
Make sure fresh, clean water is available for your iguana at all times.