While it might be fun to feed our pets various foods, we always need to be sure that they’re safe for them to eat.
When it comes to oranges and iguanas, it couldn’t be clearer: You absolutely cannot feed an iguana an orange.
But why can’t you feed oranges to iguanas, and what should you feed them instead? We break down everything that you need to know about iguanas and their diet here.
Why Can’t Iguanas Eat Oranges?
The reason that an iguana can’t eat an orange is simple: Oranges are extremely acidic, and iguanas don’t possess the ability to break down that acid. That means if you feed your iguana an orange, that acid can burn them throughout their entire body. From their esophagus to their stomach and throughout the rest of their digestive tract, the orange can wreak havoc. Oranges must stay well clear of your iguana to keep them safe and happy.
The 3 Other Fruits to Avoid
There are plenty of other fruits that you should avoid giving your iguana. Here, we highlighted five different fruits that you should avoid feeding to your iguana.
1. Citrus Fruits
Oranges aren’t the only citrus fruit that you should avoid giving your iguana. In fact, you should avoid giving any citrus fruit to your iguana for the same reason. They can’t break down the acid, so there’s no reason to provide them with citrus.
Avocados are notoriously dangerous for many animals, and the iguana is no different. Every part of an avocado is extremely toxic for an iguana, and it’s one of the most important foods that you need to keep away from them.
Kiwis, figs, and berries are all high in oxalates, and these oxalates can bond with many other nutrients and prevent your iguana from being able to absorb them. Basically, these fruits won’t kill your iguana outright, but if you feed it to them consistently, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
You can feel free to use these fruits as occasional treats, but we highly recommend avoiding them altogether and going with healthier options.
The Ideal Iguana Diet
While there are many foods that you should avoid feeding your iguana, you do need to feed them something! That’s why we decided to give you a quick breakdown of an ideal iguana diet here.
For starters, iguanas are herbivores. They feast on plants and plenty of them. About 80–90% of your iguana’s diet should consist of vegetables, while the remaining diet should consist of fruit. You can supplement their diet with commercial food, but there’s a bit of controversy surrounding whether you should do this.
When selecting vegetables, ensure that they’re rich in vitamins. Great choices include collard greens, bok choy, kale, parsley, turnip greens, and mustard greens. These calcium-rich vegetables need to make up about 60% to 70% of your iguana’s diet.
Keep in mind that iguanas don’t chew their food, so you should chop it up for them before feeding it to them. You should feed younger iguanas twice a day, while full-grown iguanas should eat once a day or once every other day.
Also, keep in mind that these animals can reach 6 feet in length and weigh up to 20 pounds, so providing them with enough food can drive up your grocery bill quite a bit!
The 4 Foods That Are Toxic to Iguanas
While there are plenty of fruits and veggies that you can feed your iguana, there are also a few foods that you need to avoid at all costs. Below we’ve highlighted four different foods that are extremely toxic for your iguana. Avoid them at all costs.
Chocolate is pretty much a no-go for any pet, and the iguana is no different. Between the sugar, caffeine, and theobromine, there are plenty of ingredients in chocolate that will kill your iguana. Keep it far away.
While you might need a pick-me-up to get you going in the morning, your iguana doesn’t. Even small amounts of caffeine can have disastrous effects on your iguana, so don’t give it to them!
Unlike many other lizards, iguanas are herbivores! Don’t feed them bugs or meat unless you want a sick lizard. It’s far too much protein for them and paired with everything else that it offers, it will make your iguana pretty sick.
Lizards are not mammals, and as such, they don’t have the enzymes necessary to break down lactose. So, while you might appreciate a little cheese on your broccoli, it’s going to create some severe gastrointestinal issues for your iguana.
Avoid all dairy products, or you could end up with a sick or dead iguana.
While it’s fun to watch your pet iguana chow down on different treats, the last thing that you want to do is give them something that they can’t handle. So, while it’s a good idea to mix up your iguana’s diet to keep them happy, you also need to take the time to research each new food.
Those few minutes on the web could be the difference between a happy and thriving iguana or an emergency visit to the vet!
Featured Image Credit: Moira Nazzari, Pixabay