Green Iguanas and Other Family Pets
©1996 Melissa Kaplan
Iguanas often do well when housed with other iguanas. They may also do well when housed in very large and properly outfitted enclosures with other similarly-sized arboreal lizards from the same type of environment. They should not be housed with turtles, tortoises, anoles, chameleons, amphibians, or snakes, savannah monitors, bearded dragons, or Uromastyx lizards (regardless of what you may be seeing done in pet stores). They also may not be housed with their relatives, the chuckawalla or desert iguana. There are many reasons for this, including risk of injury or illness to the animals, incompatible environments, and food chain.
Surprisingly, although there are wild felines in the iguana's native environment, larger iguanas may get along fine with cats once they are big enough to teach the cat some respect. A thwack across the face by an iguana's tail does wonders in convincing a cat that the green thing is not a play thing. The iguana does need to be big enough to prove this point, however; small iguanas have been mauled to death by both cats and dogs.
Make the enclosure tamper-proof from inquisitive cat and human child hands. If a cat or child is harassing the iguana and causing stress (reduced appetite, darkening skin color, loss of weight, flinching), the iguana may sicken and die.
Try to see the world from the iguana's point of view, taking into consideration environment, infectious organisms, food chain, and how alien things may be viewed...and then act accordingly.
Let me just say that there are always exceptions to the rules, with numerous examples of larger iguanas and dogs or cats who get along well together. But even such amicable relationships that have gone on for years have ended in tragedy (dead iguanas or ones so badly torn up that they required euthanasia), so if you are going to let them be together, never, ever do it without direct and capable adult supervision (in other words, by the time your child notices there is a problem and calls you and you finally arrive at the scene, it may be too late). This may mean securely closing doors to keep them separated when you are not home or are busy. It may mean installing childproof locks or latches on your interior doors so that your kids can't commingle them without you there. This may be inconvenient, but it may also save your iguana's life.
and Carnivorous Lizards
Use common sense. If you have two large, strong, fast and very toothy reptiles out at one time, have at least two large, strong, fast, and capable adults on hand to supervise and intervene before things escalate. Always watch the iguana for signs of stress - stress will manifest itself behaviorally and/or through changes in skin color.
Iguana owners bite off more than they can chew (Iguana Bites Dog)
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