The information on the BambooZoo site is as much as 10 years old and in the hobby much has been learned. Though, I believe there is merit in keeping the site open. There are many controversial issues presented in these pages. Please view BambooZoo as a starting point in your research.
These beings are as complicated as we are and deserve more than a basic 5 paragraph care sheet to maintain their health and well being.
My passion has changed. This is where I am today. Change the World.
This page has been written specifically for Green Iguanas but the methods are transferable to other lizards.
There is a reason these animals are known to not to be taken on lightly!
I find that those keepers who have had no luck at all in taming their animals pretty much have the same things in common.
Setting expectations of any animal (like the Green Iguana) will only end in dissapointment and frustration, my advice to anyone reading this, is not to do this! always expect the worst out of iguanas, anything you gain on top of this is a bonus.
I included some pictures at the bottom of this post to prove my methods do and have worked.
If you do end up with an iguana that simply will not tame despite what you have tried, don't take it to heart, as in the iguana hating you), the iguana has its reasons it was probibly captive farmed (lived in some brutal conditions) your iguana can only remember a set of hands comming down and grabbing it, it was then thrown into a sack and sent to the pet trade, then if that wasn't enough big fat ugly faces pressed in on him/her and had the glass taped throughout the entire day possibly for some months ontil a buyer came along.
(that is an awful lot to go through in such a short amount of time for anyone)
Why should he trust anyone? he owes nothing to anyone, he has no reason to be tame or trustworthy, on top of this many iguanas once taken away from the pet shop can literally be rehomed 100s of times due to their issues and temperment and people thinking it's cool to take on an iguana with knowing nothing or little about them, once they relise they are not going to get a cool, green buddy (as on hollywood movies) they don't want to know anymore and often dump, release or rehome them, and in some cases will get negleted or abused or the owners loose their tempers with the iguana without having an understanding and hurting them so again? why should your iguana trust you? It is not obliged to, it has no reason too, expect the worst out of an iguana and don't set expectations of it is my only advice.
In those cases where you get an iguana with an attitude problem, perhaps take the outlook of enjoying the iguana for it's natural beauty rather than focussing on the impossible, I for one do love to see an iguana with an attitude and love watching it in all it's natural glory.
For the actual taming, and due to the nature of these animals please be aware that you will get bitten scratched and tailwhiped and it is hard work, but the result is very rewarding if successful.
Don't set expectations is my best advice in these cases.
I am not going to lie, they are difficult animals to tame, if you are seriouse about this continue to read, watch the videos in this post, go in and learn a mountain of knowledge about your green friend and give it your best shot.
Some iguanas are friendly by nature however, but if you come across one of thoise you have probibly stumbled into one over every 200 iguanas.
Zilla was probably the most Defensive (mistaken for aggresion) iguana we have had,
he was rescued at 3 years old, he was quite a challange and since we had him til his death he still never was tame.
Some iguanas wont tame down, walk into any animal rescue to see this.
(Unfortunately some iguana's have been abused, neglected and cannot place trust into a human) which does not help their overall suspiciouse and defensive nature anyways, in those circumstances (below)
Now what I am going to say here is not fact but is a thought, you cannot tame these animals (rescues and abused) but you could probably get them to a stage of a toleration attitude to a certain point.
Many work hard for years and years trying to get there iguanas to some sort of sociable stage, and common sense says that even if you are successful you may not reach the 100% result you were hoping for.
so again don't set expectations.
There is a difference between knowledge and understanding, no matter what you read the only reading you need to look at is your own iguana, learn to read him, his body language, what is he telling you?
Not one iguana is the same in this instance (Just like no human is the same, animals are no exception and there is no difference)
Not all iguanas are nasty/defensive (commonly mistaken for aggresion) , some are mellow, chilled semi chilled, aggressive some have a tolerable attitude, but even chilled ones can be difficult to deal with in season, and this is the time extra care from any owner should be done anyways.
I cant really comment on females as I only looked after one for 6 weeks.
If you go out and see at least 5 different iguanas you will see not one reacts the same way when approached by you, but the over view is they have a known reputation to be aggressive. and how they reach that state is varied between iguana to iguana some more faster than others.
(I do know however that females can display aggresion as much as the males, and that they can headbob also just like the males, they can become as dangerous as the males especially toward each other in the wild for the best nesting spots)
Most iguanas I have seen have given plenty of warning when antagonised and some are pretty much only defensive when inside their enclosure, to me it is like viewing the enclosure as the iguanas bedroom?
How would you like someone just barging in on your privacy. :0 it is the same principal.
Pulling out the iguana or opening the door to let them out will probably calm it down, when going in do not make eye contact just move quickly and swiftly, pick him up, if nessacery lift him up higher temporarily to mitigate some of the defensive behavior and make him feel safer, but make sure he knows you deliberately and slowly put him on the floor or sofa bed etc, some people will be asking the question.
should I let my iguana be up high, the simple answer to this is no, but it is fine to temporarily raise your iguana ontil it has calmed down, this neither means he is dominant over you, or you are dominant over him, it is just so he can familiarise he is safe.
Now while we are on the subject what about free roaming iguanas in season! well that tells me only one thing, be even more careful because a free roamer will see that entire space as it's territory and will not think twice about fighting you off in season.
(I would not advise trying to pick him up, he will bite!
(a charging iguana is a worrysome sight) you can stamp your feet in an attempt to get him to back off, shout no, in some cases it does work, in other cases it does not, when doing maintenance it is always a good idea to have a towel on hand if nessacery to shoo him back into the enclosure, this method would be the most effective if you do not know how to properly handle the animal, the best way to learn is by having someone in the feild proffesion show you, don't make assumptions you can restrain an iguana.
Iguanas are not stupid they can make a fool of you in front of friends so pay particular attention to how you handle him and show him off because when you least expect it even social ones can inflict a very very painful bite. ( normally meaning a hospital visit) not many people often cope but to me I enjoy looking after them, it gives me something to get up on a morning for. it keeps me on my feet and I have learnt so much from keeping these impressives, and will continue to do so throughout the rest of my life.
If for e.g an iguana does not tame down as said it is then a case of just accepting it was never meant to be and enjoy the iguana for its natural beauty
I included these links to look into other peoples methods which have worked for them.
http://www.encyclopedia.com/video/kj89d ... guana.aspx
http://www.encyclopedia.com/video/P0kGt ... art-1.aspx
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/l ... eet-5.html
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/l ... guana.html (I would deffo read this thread)
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/l ... guana.html
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/l ... ana+taming
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/l ... -info.html
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/l ... guana.html
above are just some of the methods.
In this picture, the iguana can come to tolerate your hand, this is particularly effective with iguanas that have just enterd the home after the settling in period, all you need to do, is approach the iguana calmly and slowly and I mean really really slow, do not approach from the top of the iguana as it will spook them and see it as a predator from the parietal eye (located in the center of there head) usually to distinguish light from dark and shapes like birds etc.
You want to approach the iguana from below very gently, possibly with some food in your hand, if the iguana will come to you part of the way that is a good sign, calmly allow it too and then while it is munching away if you are lucky the iguana will allow you to touch it and you may just end up with an iguana doing something similar, alternatively you can try many methods to get the iguana to trust you, this is just one that worked for me, the picture here is not mine, I do not have a way to get these pics onto the computer just yet but I will post them as soon as I can.
You may also end up with a similar reaction if you decide to use the long object method previously mentioned.
Another Idea is to use a halloween arm to start off with? This may work in the same way as the toilet brush method?
Another method consists of getting the iguana to associate a long object as a none threat, this can be a hook, but I found a (clean) toilet brush can work, every time I entered my own iguanas enclosures when attempting to get them to trust me, I slowly would approach the iguana with the toilet brush and on many occasions the iguana would lean against it, whether this was a means for the iguana to scratch itself more easily I do not know but (to me personally) it looked like they enjoyed it.
The idea of this method is to get the iguana to associate a long object, (meaning your arm eventually) as a none threat, safely, in the beginning sometimes they would bite or tail whip the brush.
Unfortunately you must keep persisting with this daily at the same time every day, in the iguanas eyes it is seeing the “brush” as an intruder in its bedroom and gaining the iguanas trust and getting it to know you are a none threat is a tricky one.
If the iguana closes its eyes in a bid to ignore you, seize that opportunity to place some food in your hand near it, wait calmly and patiently for it to reopen its eyes, it may do this 3 or 4 times but patience is the key here, it should hopefully give in and take the food, this is a good sign.
As you progress with the brush begin to use it less and less and try it just using your arm, place a piece of food half way up your arm and allow the iguana the option to climb on you, it may just do that and while it is eating you can touch the iguana, stroke it gently and even talk to it.
It will learn to associate your voice, some of the videos below will give you an idea.
http://s1096.photobucket.com/albums/g33 ... slytherin/?
http://s1096.photobucket.com/albums/g33 ... tamed1.jpg
It was recently pointed out to me that some people will prefer to not use food as a bribe, well that is fine but what I will say is that it is a good way to associate that you are not a threat to the iguana and makes trusting you a hell of a lot easier, as things improve you may not wish to offer the food that also is fine.
For the likes of iguanas who are scatty and you need to act quickly, for a vet etc, there is only one real option, you must restrain the iguana (safely) to prevent injury to you or the iguana, this can be done with a towel in most cases wraped around the arms which can prevent them from death rolling you.
A good guideline is to hold the thumb and forefinger above the iguana, you know those circles it has on the sides of its head, that is where you will need to hold the iguana.
Some may disagree with this etc etc yada yada yada, and I really do not care, in some cases it is a matter of having to be cruel to be kind to my animal, I as the owner am responsible for it.
hand feeding an iguana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfVqxq0K ... 55009DDA22 3669
these videos give the idea of getting the iguana to come to you. A peeved off iguanas warning signs, may consist of Blowing up, making himself look big and impressive, then the second warning will consist of repeatedly head bobbing, he is saying back away . Then He will hiss usually by opening his mouth as wide as possible if he does that assume it ias the last warning, or sometimes just jump straight to the bite from head bobbing, that is 2-3 warnings your iguana is likely to give you. Heed those warnings.
I Found this video on you tube? I think it is Sky forest or someone who made this one.
http://www.youtube.com/user/forestskyri ... CaVXllX5ho
Accidents can and do happen, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXWekDiG5zw
An aggrsive iguana here can be seen.
There are many ways to get an iguana to calm down, and in some cases tame, but remember it is no garuntee, and you will probibly find yourself dissapointed if you set yourself expectations.
Of course even the tamest iguana's have their on and off days too, just like me or you.
You must also remember that you as the owner intruding on their “privacy” the iguana has a lot of emotions that passed that you are not even aware of, anxiety, fear, frustration etc, and you must try and look at things from the iguana's point of view.
Infact that is probibly the best way to look at taming an iguana, put yourself in your iguanas shoes, think about it's past, etc and think about how you would feel less threatned.
Because iguana's can feel those emotions I just want to add that it has been known for iguanas to feel affection and happiness to, just because they cannot show it like some animals is irrelivent, the same can be said for iguanas do not feel pain because they do not show it, again completely untrue, anything with organic skin can feel pain, and the above and aforementioned how you look at that though is entirely up to you.
You may also like to sit in view of the iguana all the time, so you can observe the iguana, and the iguana can observe you.
If you live in a home where shouting is usually present (like shouting at kids) bear in mind this is doing your iguana no favors in trusting you, infact it does cause them fear.
Just like you do when someone shouts at you.
I felt that important to mention considering some people who have contacted me usually live in a noisy house and have had no luck, but as soon as they become aware of it and try these things they have seen an immediate difference, it may not be 100% but it is a start.
Also as bizzare as this might sound, an iguana can calm down by playing some kind of meditation rainforest music, perhaps it is the nature inside of them that gets them curiouse rather than calming them down and thus forget where they are on an open minded level if that makes sense.
I have to say I also have tried this 3 times now and it does seem that there is a difference in the iguana.
^^ this iguana is with me and my nephew 5 years ago, he was a very aggresive iguana that we assume was dumped after trying to find his owners no one came forward, the day he came to us was because some kids found him in the local park, they knocked on our door saying a crocodile was in the park, it turned out to be this iguana, it took 8 months to get that result in the picture of constand routine, handfeeds, stroking, out time, it cost many whips bites and tail whips though.
I hope my hints will be helpful to help gain an understanding of your iguana and to set you in the right direction of taming or gaining a toleration from him/her, It should be done at the iguanas pace and not your own, it can take many years to acheive a significant result, for others it can take as little as 6 months but do keep up the work.