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

The Iguana Diet "Wars"

What if they started a war and nobody came?

©1999 Melissa Kaplan


What, indeed?

What if some individuals spend so much time vilifying others that they fail to check their facts, no matter how many times inaccuracies are pointed out to them?

What if some individuals spend so much time putting down other people that they fail to recognize just how disjointed their arguments are - and how they themselves are being perceived by the very people they are seeking to convert to their "side"?

What if some individuals create increasingly blatant and absurd lies about others in their attempt to try to discredit people whom they perceive to be competition, rather than just concentrating on presenting their information in factual form.

What if some people confuse passive-aggressive harassment with constructive dialogue? Ego with education?

That, unfortunately, is exactly what is happening. So, just for the record:

The "MK Diet"

The so-called "MK Diet" came to be called that not because I named it so myself, but because numerous people in mailing lists, e-mail circles, newsgroups, and other forums began calling it that just to have an easy way to refer to the diet information I developed over the course of almost a decade of keeping iguanas and other herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles.

Thousands of people have used the diet, or variations thereof, through the past decade and raised healthy iguanas. Vets around the world recommend the diet and the rest of the care information discussed in my articles to their clients because they have found, through their experiences with their own iguanas and their clients' iguanas, that the information is sound and the site provides comprehensive information on most facets of iguana care and keeping. Presumably, it is for this same reason that teaching vets are pointing their students in the direction of my website, as well.

Do I think this is the only diet safe and healthy for iguanas?
No. For example, Jennifer Swofford has for years fed an essentially all-green diet. Do we bash each other over the head trying to belittle and insult one another and get everyone else to take sides? No. Do we respect each other despite the different paths we have found on our way to finding out how to grow healthy, well-adjusted green iguanas? Yes. In fact, Jennifer is one of the few people in the world I would consider shipping an iguana to without her first meeting the iguana in person, knowing that whatever health or behavioral problems the iguana brings with it, Jen will competently and humanely be able to work with it.

Do I think I have all the answers?
Nope. As far as I'm concerned, learning only stops when you're dead, and thus far, though illness has too often through the past several years made death look like an improvement for me, I am still here, kicking and doing occasional updates to my website...which means I am still learning new things about reptile care and health.

Why don't I answer all of my email?
I have heard recently that it is being said that the reason that I don't answer all my email is because I am afraid that people will find out how ignorant I really am about iguana care, that I really don't know anything at all. Well, if that's the case, then we have to assume either that everything at my website is a load of crap, or that whoever I plagiarized all that material from is going to be really ticked off when they find out I stole it and have claimed it as my own. Or, could it be, that the persons making such claims are just trying to lash out in anyway they can, regardless of how misinformed their assertions are?

For those of you who still do not know, I have been ill for the past 10 years, suffering from a neuroimmunoendcrinological disorder that periodically completely incapacitates me, and requires that I manage my time and energies carefully so that I can get through each day. (If you want more information on the disorder, see my Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases site.)

So, the real reason I do not answer all my email is that 99% of the questions I receive about green iguanas and other reptiles are answered in the now nearly 1000 articles at my website, articles that can easily be found by using the indexes on my pages, one's web browser Find... function or the search engine created for my site. While my animals have a full-time caretaker (me), I don't have a full- or even part-time caretaker to care for me. So, unless someone wants to move in and start taking care of me, I am going to have to delegate my time and energies as I see fit. The way I see it, if someone still has a problem with my not responding to my email, the problem is theirs, not mine.

In closing...
Rather than taking anyone's word for anything, do some digging on your own. I provide a bibliography of major sources I used in my iguana care development, and people like Adam Britton, Ph.D. and Jen Swofford have posted extensive bibliographical information on iguanas, especially green iguanas, at their sites. Many of the people who regularly participate in the Iguanas Mailing List and some other public forums are not only experienced iguana keepers, but bring to these forums their extensive experience and training in wildlife rehabilitation and medicine, physics, biology, behavioral development, and natural history. To ignore what they have to add to what should be a constructive dialogue can only be a detriment to the party most affected by the back-stabbing and lies: your iguanas.

Use your brain. Make your own decisions. Some people already have, and have written a thoughtful, sourced article, Iguana Diets: Setting the Record Straight.

Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.
H. H. Williams

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