Can Iguanas Swim in Chlorine Pools? Keep You & Your Pet Safe

can iguanas swim in chlorine pools

Iguanas love water, and they’ll often live close to a body of water in their natural habitat.

As a general rule, iguanas can swim in chlorine pools. Most iguana owners claim their lizards are fine when swimming in chlorine pools. However, swimming in saltwater pools is better for the iguana than swimming in chlorine pools.

If you’re thinking about letting your iguana swim in chlorine, you’ll definitely want to read the rest of this guide.

Can Iguanas Swim in Chlorine Pools?

Green iguana swimming in a pool

Large and small swimming pools attract iguanas. These reptiles don’t know that the water is filled with chlorine. However, it’s not much of a concern, according to iguana owners on Reddit.

The main concerns are:

  • Iguanas drinking the water
  • Water getting in the iguana’s eyes

You can fill a small kid’s pool with a minimal amount of water and as long as your iguana doesn’t drink it, he should be fine.

Iguanas are magnificent swimmers. In fact, if you want to learn more about iguanas and their swimming prowess, I recommend reading my guide titled, “Can Iguanas Swim? Everything You Need to Know.”

Health Consequences for Iguanas That Swim in Chlorine Pools

A fast dip in the pool and proper care should be enough to prevent any ill side effects from occurring with your reptile. The main concerns are:

  • Burning of the eyes
  • Potential issues when drinking too much
  • Risk of skin irritation

Most owners claim they’ve never had issues with their iguanas taking a dip in the pool.

In his book, “Green Iguana The Ultimate Owner’s Manual,” author James W. Hatfield states, “chlorine or other hostile chemicals can burn their eyes,” in reference to iguanas.

I recommend you provide a salt-based pool for your iguana to avoid any of the potential risks associated with chlorine pools. However, if your iguana does go in a chlorine pool, make sure that you:

  • Wash him afterward
  • Stop him from drinking the water

Why do Iguanas Swim in my Chlorine Pool?

Iguanas swim in pools because they like the water and do not mind if it has chlorine. These reptiles will swim in your pool because:

  • They’re trying to escape danger
  • They want to cool off

While iguanas are often found basking in the sun, they’re also impeccable swimmers. If you find an iguana in your pool or your iguana makes a mad dash to your pool, it’s usually because they want to go for a swim.

How to Safely Remove Iguanas from a Chlorine Pool

Walking outside to see an iguana in your pool is a very interesting experience. Of course, the situation will be much easier to handle if it’s your own iguana. Wild iguanas can be unpredictable, and you don’t want to be scratched or bitten.

If the iguana is your pet, gently walk up to his side and pick him up with your forearm underneath his belly.

Support your iguana and clean him off.

Wild iguanas can be removed by:

  • Scaring the iguana so that it leaves the pool
  • Calling a wildlife removal or pest control company

If you have thick rubber gloves designed for protection against animal bites or scratches, use them to remove the iguana.

Needless to say, it’s better to keep iguanas from entering the pool than it is to remove them.

How to Keep Iguanas Out of Your Chlorine Pool

You can follow multiple methods to keep iguanas out of your pool. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your pool covered so that the iguana cannot enter
  • Place a fence around the pool (keep in mind iguanas are great climbers)
  • Plant trees around the pool that iguanas dislike
  • Place decoys of iguanas in your yard to stop wild iguanas from entering
  • Use loud noises to scare the iguanas away when you see them
  • Hang wind chimes near the pool because most iguanas will run when they hear them
  • If you find any holes made by iguanas, be sure to fill them

If you follow the tips above, we’re confident that you’ll be well on your way to keeping iguanas at bay. However, in areas like South Florida, where iguanas are overpopulating, people are resorting to:

  • Trapping and then rereleasing the iguanas
  • Hiring a professional pest control company

Wild iguanas can be overwhelming to control on your own, but you should try preventative methods before hiring a pest control company, which may harm these beautiful reptiles.

Iguana owners will have the major responsibility of taming their pets. If you’ve had other animals before, I am confident that taming an iguana will be a challenge that you didn’t expect.

However, that doesn’t mean that these reptiles aren’t amazing companions.

If you’ve never tamed an iguana before and plan on getting one, I recommend this guide, “How to Tame an Iguana the Right Way.”

Is Iguana Poop in My Chlorine Pool Dangerous?

The main concern with iguanas pooping in pools involves the harmful bacteria they can spread, such as Salmonella. If you find iguana poop in the pool, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Put on gloves, remove the poop from the pool and be very cautious not to breathe in any fecal matter.

Discard the poop and follow the recommendations below to ensure that your pool is safe.

Can I Get Salmonella from Iguanas Swimming in My Chlorine Pool?

Pools often contain dangerous bacteria. In fact, many public pools have germs, such as:

  • E Coli.
  • Salmonella
  • Parasites

If an iguana poops in your pool, there is a chance of parasites or salmonella spreading into the water. Fortunately, if you have a properly operating chlorine pool, the acid in the chlorine will be very effective at killing harmful substances.

For example, chlorine’s acid will kill E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria in the pool.

You can shock the pool using the cleaning method below if you’re overly cautious and want to have peace of mind that the pool is 100% salmonella free.

How to Clean a Chlorine Pool After Removing the Iguana

Cleaning the pool after your iguana has been in it shouldn’t be much of a concern. Due to the large volume of water and chlorine, there’s little concern that the iguana’s presence in the pool will make you sick.

However, you can stay on the safe side and follow the CDC’s guidelines intended to sanitize after human poop.

  • Clean the pool with a skimmer
  • Remove any waste that may exist
  • Raise the chlorine levels to 2ppm to reach a pH of 7.5 or lower for 30 minutes
  • Ensure the filtration system is on

You should take this time to vacuum the pool, too.

How Long Should I Wait Before Using My Pool

Chlorine works to keep your pool clean, and if the iguana does not deficate in the pool, there’s not much of a concern when swimming in it. You’ll want to follow the advice above to clean the pool properly.

You can keep the free chlorine levels in the pool to very high levels and then allow it to stay for a few hours.

Afterward, allow a few hours for the chlorine levels to return to normal before going into the pool. Many owners recommend waiting 24 hours after the iguana pooped in the pool to reenter.

Safer Alternatives for a Swimming Iguana

Iguana swimming in kiddie pool

If you have an iguana and want to provide them with a safe place to swim, consider the following:

  • Saltwater pool
  • Well water pool

You can even fill your bathtub with a small amount of water to allow your iguana to swim and get some much-needed exercise in the process.

Iguanas are intelligent animals. In the wild, they’ll avoid swimming in anything that is detrimental to their health. However, as an owner, you need to provide a safe place for them to swim.

Do you want to know more about iguana intelligence? Read “Are Iguanas Intelligent? The Answer Will Shock You.”


Phillip is the proud founder of Scaly Pets, a website dedicated to educating reptile pet owners. As a former owner of various reptiles, Phillip not only brings well researched topics to the table, but also years of personal experience. Now, he's sharing his passion with the rest of the world.

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