Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Captive Bred Iguanids

©2000 Melissa Kaplan


Cast your vote against the devastation of the pet trade industry by adopting reptiles, especially iguanids, or buying them from breeders who actually breed rather than deal in large numbers of wild-caught animals. To find reptiles available for adoption, start with the herp societies and reptile rescues linked to my Herp Societies page.

Adopting Rescues and Pre-Owned Iguanids
Please support these nonprofit herp societies, rescue groups, and individuals doing rescue out of their own pockets, by making a cash donation even if it is not asked for or required as part of the adoption process. The point of adoption is not to get free animals but to provide a home for one who has most likely been bounced around several owners or cared for improperly by just one, and to not support an industry that values profit over the basic welfare of the animals

Finding Captive Bred Iguanids
There has not been a great deal of captive breeding of iguanid lizards. With imported green iguanas (Iguana iguana) so cheap (average import price in 1998 was US$1.33 ), people who did breed greens and try to sell them for a reasonable price (taking into consideration the care and feeding of the adults, tending the eggs through the incubation period, and then caring for the hatchlings until sale) couldn't compete with the cheap prices of imported igs sold at pet stores and other venues, and so ended up giving the iguanas away.

Most iguanid captive breeding efforts have been focused on the Cyclura iguanas. Few people are breeding other popular iguanids, such as desert iguanas (Dipsosaurus), spiny-tailed iguanas (Ctenosaura), and chuckawallas (Sauromalus). Fewer still breed the small iguanids frequently found in the pet trade, often sold cheaply as as prey for lizard-eating species, such as swifts (Sceloporous and Liolaemus), and anoles (Anolis). Helmeted and casque-headed iguanas (Corytophanes and Laemanctus) and the Malagasy species (Chalarodon and Oplurus), now being encountered more often as wild-caught specimens in the pet trade, are rarely bred in captivity. Also rare in captive breeding circles are the popular collared lizards (Crotaphytus).

The following individuals breed iguanids, relying at this point on captive bred stock more than wild-caught animals (which may be introduced from time to time to expand the gene pool; these wild-caughts are often rescues or animals confiscated by local or federal authorities that cannot be returned to their country of origin) and do not make a practice of selling wild-caught or imported animals.

David Blair's Critter Corner, Southern California
Dragon's Glade, Carl and Janet Fuhri, Southern Florida

Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana):
Dragon's Glade, Carl and Janet Fuhri, Southern Florida
Neil Sweetman, Florida

Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura):

Other Iguanids:

Iguanid Care Articles
Anoles (Anolis)
Basilisk (Basilicus)
Club-tailed Iguanas (Enyaliosaurus, Ctenosaura)
Collared Lizards (Crotaphytus)
Curly-Tailed Lizards (Leiocephalus)
Desert Iguanas and Chuckawallas (Dipsosaurus, Sauromalus)
Helmeted and Casque-Headed Iguanas (Corytophanes, Laemanctus)
Iguana Care, Feeding and Socialization (for green iguanas) (Iguana)
Madagascar Iguania (Chalarodon, Oplurus)
North American Swifts (Sceloporous)
South American Swifts (Liolaemus)
Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura)



This genus of iguanids is native to the West Indies. Largely endangered due to habitat destruction and introduced predators, they are the focus of study and conservation efforts. Legally, the only way to obtain them as pets is to purchase captive bred animals. Due to the CITES and US federal status, special permits may be required to ship them across state lines. For more information on Cyclura, including photos and species identification, see the IUCN West Indies Species Survival Group and AZA Species Survival Plan sites, and



With the exception of a few species of lizards in Madagascar and the Fiji iguanas, iguanid lizards are all found in the New World. For additional information, see Iguana Classification.




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