Black Spots on Green Iguana
©1996, 2000 Melissa Kaplan
When you got your baby iguana, it likely was a bright, deep overall green with little turquoise and white highlights. The ground color and markings sported by baby iguanas is lost or altered as they leave hatchlinghood - starting about 9 months of age.
Part of the color change for many of them is the appearance lots of brownish-black and black markings including spots, stripes, and 'veining' or 'grouting' (the black surrounds the green or blue scales like grout around tile, and may be unevenly dispersed so it is rather like the tendrils of varicose veins). As the iguana's body and individual scales get larger, you will be able to more clearly see individual scales, and see that many of them contain several different colors - green, yellow, orange, blue, black, white - like some pointillist painter gone mad on this amazing canvas...
Fungus and some bacterial infections may also start out as black spots. Fungal infections have a furry look (but not feel) to them and generally appear in circular patches, often with two to three small circular patches clustered together. These look very different from the normal or emerging natural black markings. Bacterial infections may be crusty to the touch, may or may not be slightly swollen.
If you aren't sure, and there isn't any other iguana owner in your area who can for sure tell you whether your iguana is maturing or has a fungal infection, then you should see a reptile vet, especially if you've never seen one before (it wouldn't hurt to get a fecal check, etc.). Mild topical fungal infections can be treated by the application of an antifungal ointment or cream such as Lotrimin or Micatin (yeast infection creams for athletes foot and other fungal infections).
It should be noted that untreated or serious topical fungal infections can invade the skin and underlying tissue and infect the blood and so the entire body, and ultimately lead to the iguana's death unless caught in time and treated with systemic antibiotics or antifungals.
Note: if those little black spots have littler black legs and move around on your iguana's skin and enclosure, then you have reptile mites!
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