Iguanas find grapes just as delicious as we do, but are they safe for our pet lizards to consume? After all, grapes contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Iguanas can safely consume grapes, but only as snacks. Fruits should comprise 10-15% of an iguana’s complete diet, as they contain low levels of calcium and high levels of oxalates which are known to unbalance their vital 2:1 calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and lead to medical conditions like Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
However, if fed accordingly, grapes can provide multiple health benefits for your little green friend.
Can Iguanas Eat Grapes?
Iguanas can most definitely eat grapes. In fact, iguanas love grapes, and if left to their own devices, would have no problem eating grapes on a daily basis. Unfortunately, a grape-filled diet would be less than ideal for their health. Allow me to explain.
One of the most vital minerals for iguanas is calcium.
Iguanas need to maintain a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio that’s ideally 2:1. Too much fruit can throw this balance off.Iguana expert James Hatfield
Although grapes contain a much higher Ca:P ratio than most fruits at 1.4:1 Ca:P or 13 mg of calcium for every 9 mg of phosphorus per cup, they nevertheless lack the necessary ratio to sustain an iguana’s long-term health.
By the way, check out these similar guides I wrote on other fruits, as each one of them contains different pros and cons:
Benefits Of Grapes
However, when fed accordingly, grapes can provide multiple health benefits for your iguana.
Grapes contain vitamins C, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber, which can be beneficial for supporting your iguana’s overall health.
Iguanas mainly rehydrate via the food they consume, not by drinking water like we humans do.
To give you an idea, grapes contain 86% water, while cucumbers contain a whopping 96%, and bananas 74%.
If you believe your iguana may be slightly dehydrated, grapes and other types of fruit can be a great source for rehydration. However, you should nevertheless always keep a water bowl in your iguana’s cage.
Drawbacks Of Grapes
Although grapes can offer multiple health benefits, iguanas can also be at risk of developing health complications if grapes are fed improperly.
Low Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio
Grapes offer one of the best Ca:P ratios among fruit, but due to certain health risks, should still be fed as snacks.
When an iguana’s Ca:P ratio is unbalanced, it compensates by using the calcium reserves in its bones to continue carrying out daily physiological functions.
However, if substituted for extended periods, medical conditions such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), brittle and broken bones, permanent deformations, and even death can occur.
Oxalates are compounds that bind to calcium and other minerals such as iron, sodium, or magnesium, and reduce their absorption rate. Therefore, unbalancing an iguana’s delicate Ca:P ratio, and possibly leading to the health complications we discussed in the previous section.
Half a cup of grapes contains only 1mg of oxalates, which is very low compared to other fruits. However, you should still be mindful regarding oxalates when feeding grapes to your iguana.
High Sugar Content
High sugar content is more than likely the reason why grapes contain 110 calories per cup, and why you should limit your iguana’s grape consumption in order to avoid obesity.
How Many Grapes Can Iguanas Eat?
The exact quantity of grapes your iguana can eat will be unique, as factors like age, size, breeding season, personal preference, and gender affect food portions.
Fortunately, Hatfield once again offers beneficial recommendations based on snout-to-vent length (SVL).
|SVL In Inches||Food Portion|
How Often Should Iguanas Eat Grapes?
James Hatfield states in his book (which I highly recommend), “Green Iguana Ultimate Owner’s Manual,” that all fruit, including grapes, should only be fed 1-2 times per week. Otherwise, the health complications we’ve already discussed become an increased risk.
He also states that an iguana’s total fruit consumption should be roughly 10-15%.
Remember, iguanas should be fed on a daily basis. Hence, by feeding fruit to my iguana only once a week, the total percentage of my iguana’s fruit consumption totaled 14%, as 1 divided by 7 equals 14.
In case you’re wondering what an iguana’s complete diet should look like, check out the table. It’s based on the iguana food pyramid provided by Hatfield, but I converted it into a table.
Click the following link to view a guide I wrote about an iguana’s complete diet and the supplements you should be including.
How To Feed Grapes To Iguanas?
Grapes are one of the easiest fruits to feed your scaly pet, as they’re already relatively small.
The only thing you must do before feeding grapes to your iguana is to wash them with soap and warm water.
Should I Cut Grapes Into Smaller Pieces?
Since grapes are already much smaller than most fruit, cutting them into smaller pieces is unnecessary. However, the only exception includes baby iguanas.
I cut food into 1/8 inch pieces for my iguana until it reached the age of two, and 3/16 inch pieces after the age of two.James Hatfield
Cutting grapes into 8 pieces for baby iguanas should be sufficient, and 4 pieces for juvenile iguanas.
Can Iguanas Eat Grape Seeds?
Fortunately, grape seeds are small enough for iguanas to swallow. Therefore, there is no need to deseed grapes.
However, if possible, provide your iguana with seedless grapes as they’re easier for your lizard friend to swallow.
Best Time To Feed Grapes To Iguanas
Wild iguanas tend to eat in the late morning to early afternoon after their bodies have warmed up. Therefore, is it our responsibility to replicate an iguana’s natural environment, including feeding times, as closely as possible.
Since most people, including myself, are usually at work in the late morning and early afternoon, I suggest asking a responsible family member to feed your iguana, as I used to do.
If you don’t have anyone to rely on at home, don’t worry. You can leave the grapes in your iguana’s food bowl early in the morning before heading off to work. Your iguana will eat them when it’s ready.