What Do Iguanas Eat

what do iguanas eat

The iguana is an herbivorous lizard and tends to only feed on plant matter. Some top menu items for this lizard are fruit, flowers and leaves, but it will eat a variety of other types of plants. A typical iguana will spend the majority of its life hanging out in the canopies of rain forests.

They’ll feed on most types of plant matter that are readily available in their natural environment. Most iguanas prefer to eat during the day and rest at night.

The two main types of iguanas are the Lesser Antillean and green iguana. You can find these creatures all throughout Central America’s tropical regions, Polynesia and Mexico.

However, you’ll only find the Lesser Antillean species on Lesser Antilles islands, which are located in the Caribbean Sea.

The green iguana is the most common type of pet, and wild population of these animals is steady. Although both of these iguanas are colored green, the common iguanas are usually much larger. Some can reach a total length of 6.6 feet.

What Do Green Iguanas Eat?

Since these lizards are common pets, a lot of people want to know what they eat. The green iguana is an herbivore, and its diet consists of nearly 70 percent leaves, about 15 percent flowers, and the remainder of the diet is mostly soft fruit.

Some of the latest studies show that the green iguana stays totally herbivorous for the duration of its life. Despite these findings, many people still believe it’s important to feed these lizards plenty of animal protein and bugs.

In The Wild

When living in the wild, most iguanas like to eat plants because they’re herbivores. Wild iguanas tend to eat the plants that are native to their natural habitat. Some of their common food choices are gumbo limbo, bodywood, placa chiquitu, poponax and false teeth.

These are some of the most-common food choices, but in a natural environment, the iguana might consume hundreds of different types of plants. Since they primarily eat plant matter, food sources in the wild are almost always plentiful.

What Do Baby Iguanas Eat?

If you own a baby iguana, it should be fed a diet that consists almost entirely of leafy green vegetables. Some great examples of food are turnip greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens and collard greens.

Since it delivers very limited nutritional value, lettuce is a food source that should be avoided.

What Do Marine Iguanas Eat?

The diet for these lizards is not dissimilar to what most other iguanas eat. The top food source for a marine iguana is algae, which is plentiful in most marine environments.

Unfortunately, El Nino has had a dramatic impact on marine iguana populations. The warm water from El Nino has caused lots of algae to die off. In many areas, brown algae are the only food left, and it’s actually toxic to these lizards.

Desert Iguanas

Like their brothers and sisters, these guys are mostly herbivorous, so you can find them eating the leaves fruits and buds off of various types of perennial and annual plants.

A favorite food source for these desert lizards is the yellow flowers of the creosote bush.

Galapagos Iguanas

Unfortunately, fresh water is quite scarce on the Galapagos islands where these lizards live, so they frequently extract moisture from prickly-pear cactuses.

These plants account for about 80 percent of this creature’s diet. It will eat the spines, pads, flowers and fruit off of each cactus.

Mexican Iguana

The Mexican spiny-tailed iguana will eat meat when it’s a juvenile and growing up. Once it becomes an adult, it will transition to vegetarian food sources. Some food favorites for this creature are flowers, fruits and leaves.

However, since they’re quite opportunistic, the Mexican iguana might also enjoy eating eggs, small rodents, birds and crabs.