Another important area of the care of your iguana is that of the lighting. The lighting plays an important role in the care of your pet. You’ll need to carefully monitor the amount of light he gets. But, let’s spell out just what is needed here.
These are the two most important considerations for the lighting of your iguana. He needs both of them. UVA: This light will be responsible for stimulating the natural behaviors of the pet. This happens because it is a natural part of what makes up natural sunlight. UVB: This type of lighting is also important. Without UVB, your pet will not be able to make vitamin D3. He also won’t be able to metabolize calcium. This will leave him weak and prone to injury.
Lighting is important for a number of reasons, but first of all because of their health. Without the right type of UV lighting, your iguana is likely to suffer from a condition called Metabolic Bone Disease or MBD. During this condition, your iguana will suffer in a number of ways such as with jaw and bone deformities, weakened bones as well as an early death. Unfortunately, it is common among iguanas that are kept in captivity.
Of course, the best choice would be to be in the right climate and allow the sun to provide it. But, that’s not always possible. But, just because you can’t get the temperature right, it is still excellent to allow your iguana to get in the natural beams of sunlight anyway. So, the best thing for you to do is to provide your iguana with as much natural sunlight as possible.
Yet, this isn’t that easy. You see, window panes and even plastic will filter out the UV light that is coming in from the sun. Therefore, although you are allowing him to bask in the sun, he’s not getting the UV light he needs in this manner.
Give your iguana as much natural sunlight as possible, without any type of filter between him and the sun. This should be a daily event for him.
Then, give him additional, artificial light in addition to the natural light. One without the other isn’t nearly as good for your pet unless he gets a lot of sunlight without filters.
You will find UV light bulbs available to you at most pet stores, especially those that sell reptile products.
In the next chapters, we’ll talk more about the lighting options that you have and how to carefully set up your habitat with it.
Another very important element to your iguana care is his temperature. Actual, the habitat’s temperature is important to monitor. Again, in later chapters we’ll provide you with some additional resources to help you to get the temperature right, but there are some things that must be mentioned early on.
First off, realize just what your iguana is. He is cold blooded. That means that his body does not produce heat like yours does and that means you have to provide it for him through his enclosure.
One spot within your iguana’s habitat should be maintained at 90 degrees or higher F. This will be called his basking spot, where he can go to really soak up the heat. The surrounding air within the habitat can not drop below 80 degrees F.
Why does the temperature of the habitat matter so much? What if it falls off by a few degrees? So what? The problem with this is that the iguana depends on the right temperature to do much of its life functions. For example, without the right level of heat, the iguana can’t digest his food the right way and absorb the nutrients from it.
Without the right light, your pet will not be able to grow correctly. He or she will likely be suffering from malnutrition. He is likely not to move around much and will remain inactive. That’s because he is uncomfortable and unhappy. He’s suffering.
But, you don’t want the habitat to maintain the same amount of heat all of the time. Providing areas that fluctuate to some level within the habitat is necessary as it will allow him to decide how to regulate his temperature.
Finally, before we move on, you also should realize that the heat that you give your iguana must not be attached to the light source. Just like you need a day and night; so does he. Heat and light are two different things that your iguana must have.