Green iguana diet

Adult green iguanas are herbivores, as an adult they stick to a strict vegetarian diet. While, wild young green iguanas will eat animal proteins. This adds muscles and fat along with boosting the immune system. It's suggested not to feed the green iguana a high protein diet because it could upset liver and kidney functions. Animal protein contains more amino acids than plant matter. The extra intake of amino acids produces uric acid which crystallizes tissues, this is known as mineralization. It's best to ask a veterinarian before feeding an iguana any type of high protein diet. The sudden introduction of a higher amount of protein can cause an upset digestion and much more serious problems.

Green iguanas are not usually picky about what they eat. This doesn't mean feeding them human food will be alright. The protozoa and bacteria digest plant fibers by means of fermentation called hydrolysis and works really only with plant fibers. These micro-organisms need temperatures over 85 F. to thrive, proper UVB lighting should be doing this already. If not, ceramic coils that emit infrared heat are sold as well. It's also best to feed as early in the day as possible. Allowing their food to digest fully will help prevent diseases. The majority of their diets, up to 70% or more, should be made up of leafy and green. The fruits and other veggies make up the last 30%. (List included below). Dietary deficiency will result in feeding an iguana any one type of food too often and with out the proper vitamin and mineral supplementation. Pellets that can be bought, should be used as snacks only. The nuggets are often heated by the manufacturer, destroying most of the vitamin content. They also contain no water because of this dehydration can also occur. Pellets are only nice because they will keep for a long time, making for a great backup.

Vitamins help meet the required nutrition of a active and healthy iguana. With the proper supplements green iguana's can live up to fifteen years or more in captivity. A creature that can with stand a 50 foot fall in the wild might suffer from broken ribs from a tumble off the back of the couch due to that lack of proper supplements. There two types of supplements mixtures that are for iguanas. The most important of the two is the one that contains the most amount of calcium. This is the 2:1 calcium, phosphorus powdered supplement. Including things like; Dicalcium Phosphate, Bone ash, steamed bone meal, soy flour and many other vitamins and stabilizers. The second has more of the missed vitamins. Containing crude; proteins, vitamins, fibers, and fats. These supplements should make up almost two percent of their diet, or a light sprinkling about every other week to once a week. Females will have a higher need for calcium once year after producing a clutch of eggs. Careful, too much will cause a calcification (hardening of internal organs) and deficiencies of zinc, copper, and iodine. Along with malabsorption of essential fatty acids and bladder stones made from the extra calcium.

Nearly all the vitamins are included in the diet, with the exception of one. Iguanas will produce vitamin D3 when basking in the sun or under UVB lamps. D3 brakes down to D and helps absorption of calcium and vitamin K, in turn building strong bones and vitamin K functions in clotting the blood. Vitamin D as a supplement can be fatal when given in excess. Then cholecalciferol is said to be a source of D3 but don't assume this to be true. It could be D2, which is unusable and passes straight through the reptiles digestion system. UV lighting is the most important part of owning a green iguana. Without it, a perfect diet couldn't produce a healthy green iguana.




LEAFY GREENS and OTHER veggies list:

Iceberg lettuce; water, dietary fiber, no nutritional value, and no vitamins.
Romaine lettuce; Proteins, Vitamin C, and additional essential nutrients.
Dandelion greens; Vitamins A, C, iron, calcium.
Mustard greens; High amounts of Vitamins A, K, iron and zinc.
Collard greens; Calcium, vitamins K, A and C.
Amaranth greens; Calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc.
Bell peppers; Vitamins A, C, and K.
Cilantro (Coriander) ; protein, Vitamins A and C.
Cucumbers; High in Dietary fibers, copper, Vitamins A, C, and K.
Pumpkin ; Zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium and essential fatty acids.
Carrots; High amounts of Beta-carotene, dietary fibers.
*Turnip greens; Calcium.
*Spinach; Calcium, iron, vitamins A, C and E.
*Sweet potatoes; Protein, calcium, iron, dietary fibers, vitamin A and C.
*Legumes- peas- snow sugar snaps green; beans- green Lima; Protein and iron.
*Cabbage; Vitamin C, K and Potassium.
*Kale; Iron, calcium, vitamin A, C, and K.

FRUIT list:

Melons- watermelon, cantaloupes and honeydew; Vitamins A and C
Guava; Vitamins A, B, and C
Pears; Vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Peaches; Protein and vitamin A, C, E, K, phosphorus and potassium
Mangoes; Vitamins A, B and C.
Apples; Potassium, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin C
Strawberries; Vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus and potassium
Bananas; Potassium, manganese, calcium phosphorus and vitamin C
Grapes; Vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus and iron
*Kiwifruit; Vitamins A, C, and E and potassium
*Pineapple; Manganese and vitamin C

DO NOT FEED @ all list:

Anything toxic to mammals
All high-fat foods-anything w\ sugar and grease
Dracaena house plants
Wild cherries
Avocados
Bracken fern
Yew
Toxic mushrooms
Caffeine
Alcohol
Chocolate
Poppy
Azalea
Easter Lilies
Jack-in-the-pulpit
Rhododendron
Mountain laurel
Equisetum
and Citrus fruit -- Oranges, limes, lemons

These lists are not all-inclusive, always discuss introducing anything new with a veterinarian.

* Many types of plants have secondary compounds, oxalates and goitrogens, that block the absorption of calcium, iron and iodine. These plant fibers are meant to repel herbivores. Because of their high nutrition value they don't need to be avoided completely.




Sources:
Wikipedia and nutritiondata for the nutritional brake-down along with many other sites found by google.
www.greenigsociety.org/careinfo.htm
Philippe de Vosjoli, Susan Donoghue, V.M.D.,D.A.C.V.N., Roger Klingenberg, D.V.M., and David Blair, "The Green Iguana Manual",advanced vivarium systems, inc. 2003.

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