Although notoriously difficult to tame, iguanas are a popular type of reptile that can be kept as pets. All iguanas generally require the same intensive level of care, but different types of iguanas in the world still have their own quirks and unique colorings. Perhaps the most popular pet iguana types include the beautiful green, desert, rhinoceros, spiny tailed and blue subspecies.
When asked the color of a lizard, most people will probably answer, green. And we all think that for a reason—the most common pet iguana, a type of lizard itself, is, in fact, the green subspecies.
These iguanas originate from South America, natively found in the regions of Brazil and Paraguay. They are herbivores that only eat leafy greens, vegetables, fruits and flowers, and they’re known to grow up to seven feet long from tip to tail! They can also weigh upwards of 20 pounds, so it’s vital that they have a cage full of ample space that accommodates their ever-growing size. Along with their prominent green coloring, they can have unique markings of blue, white, black, pink and purple, among virtually every other color.
Unlike the green subtype that originates from tropical areas, the desert iguana comes right from the deserts of North America—think Southwest United States and Mexico. These iguanas support sandy-colored skin and only grow up to two feet in length, though that doesn’t mean they can be placed in small areas. They have meaty arms fit for desert-style rock climbing and they’re used to hiding in hot climates, so their cages must accommodate their native lifestyle in order to keep them happy.
Named after the rhinoceros-like horns that grow on the faces of the males, these iguanas are native to parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They are often very muscular, growing up to five feet in length and weigh up to 20 pounds or more. This type of iguana is also known for its feisty temperament, so owners must handle them with lots of care.
Spiny Tailed Iguana
Native to parts of Central America, this iguana loves a hot and dry climate. They are great climbers that will become aggressive, frequently raising the spiny scales on their back in defense—hence, the name spiny tailed.
An extremely unique iguana that comes from the Cayman Islands, this iguana is known for its bright blue coloring and large size, as it can grow to weigh over 30 pounds. Although this type is not as aggressive as some others, it is protected by the islands because it is an endangered species, making it unlikely to find as a pet.
Do Iguanas Make Good Pets?
Iguanas are often difficult for beginner lizard keepers to tame, as they are very aggressive and not naturally accustomed to human touch. However, some intermediate owners can take on the green types of iguanas as pets. As they are most commonly found, they are the easiest type to handle, so long as owners are committed to understanding their unique nature.