11 Signs of a Healthy Iguana

signs of a healthy iguana

You love your iguana and, like any good pet owner, want to ensure it’s happy and healthy. While it’s typically easy to determine whether a pet is healthy or not, iguanas can be a bit trickier, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up!

Fortunately, Iguana owners can take out some of the guesswork by learning to recognize eleven signs which signify a healthy and happy lizard. However, simply recognizing the signs isn’t enough; knowing how to interpret them is crucial if you wish to provide your iguana with necessary care.

1 Your Iguana Eats & Drinks Daily

Like all animals, one of the best signs of a healthy and functioning iguana is sufficient appetite. When suffering from medical conditions, animals instinctively stop eating to preserve their energy.

Therefore, a lack of appetite is often the first sign that something isn’t right.

Unfortunately, one of the negative side effects of not eating is the acceleration of the illness, leading to dehydration, and if left unchecked, organs shutting down.

Monitoring your iguana’s food and water bowls is an easy way to ensure they’re eating and give you peace of mind! 

2 Your Iguana is Properly Shedding

Shedding is a natural and integral function for iguanas as well as a sign of good health.

Depending on the age, you can expect your iguana to shed at least every four to six weeks, but it’s not uncommon for shedding to occur more often.

In fact, shedding can begin to take place before the previous is complete.

If your iguana is not shedding as frequently as it should, it may be due to poor nutrition, insufficient humidity in the enclosure, or a negative response to their surroundings, such as constant stress.

3 Your Iguana Has Energy

Another good sign of a healthy iguana is adequate amounts of energy. Being sick burns lots of energy and often leaves the iguana lackluster and lethargic.

If you notice a lack of movement (more than usual) from your iguana, oversleeping during the day, or the iguana not responding to your touch, seek veterinary care immediately.

4 Your Iguana Defecates Daily

We all poop, and your iguana is no different.

Daily defecation is a positive sign of a properly working digestive tract, which means your iguana is eating adequate amounts of food.

Since cleaning your iguana’s enclosure should be a daily habit, monitoring how much your green friend poops is an easy way to ensure its health.

5 Your Iguana’s Skin Has Color

Have you ever seen a person who is sick and noticed their skin looks pale and dull? Iguanas are similar in that you can determine their health by the vibrance of their skin.

While there are natural and healthy variations that occur in an iguana’s skin for different reasons, like breeding, there are also visual signs when they are unhealthy.

For example, dark brown and gray, yellow, and black are generally not considered normal iguana colors, and can be a sign of stress.

Checking for proper humidity, temperature, and ensuring there is nothing in or near the enclosure responsible for stress may help the iguana revert to its normal colors.

However, if you’ve checked all of things listed above, and your iguana is now turning really brown or grey for extended periods (a few days), you should immediately consult a veterinary.

Curious about iguanas and their beautiful vibrant colors? Check out this post I wrote called, Do Iguanas Change Color & Why?

6 Your Iguana is Thermo Regulating

While iguanas are cold-blooded and can not control their body temperature on their own, they do utilize the heat from their surroundings for thermoregulation.

Depending on their body’s necessities, iguanas will seek or avoid heat. Thus, allowing them to digest their food, sleep, and shed properly.

If you fail to provide the proper heat source, iguanas’ organs will slow down, potentially triggering long-term damage.

An iguana that does not thermoregulate by seeking different temperature zones in its enclosure may be a sign that something is wrong.

7 Your Iguana’s Skin is Tight & Parasite Free

Parasites can trigger the release of Glucocorticoids, steroid hormones which are secreted due to increased stress.

While small amounts of Glucocorticoids are not harmful to your iguana, overproduction can cause immunocompetence, growth, and reproductive issues.

These parasites induce irritation on the iguana’s skin, which may result in welts or sores.

Thoroughly check your iguana’s entire body at least once a week to ensure it’s completely parasite free.

8 Your Iguana Has Clear Eyes

Like humans and other animals, clear eyes are an excellent indication that your iguana is healthy.

Cloudiness or discoloration of the eyes can signal various sicknesses, some of which include:

  • infections
  • cataracts
  • hypopyon

If left unchecked, these diseases can slowly blind your iguana.

Therefore, should you notice a change of color in your iguana’s eyes, seek help from a veterinarian as early as possible.

Did you know iguanas have a third eye?! Check out this post called, Do Iguanas Have 3 Eyes? Everything You Need to Know.

9 Your Iguana’s Mouth is Pink

A healthy iguana should have a pink or light red mouth. However, a very pale or discolored mouth may be a sign of sickness.

Mouth rot, a common bacterial infection that appears on the interior of an iguana’s mouth, is serious and can produce cottage cheese-like mucous, swollen gums, and pinpointed hemorrhaging on the gums.

Be sure to check your iguana’s mouth often to ensure there is no discoloration or signs of this bacterial infection, but if you do, contact a veterinarian right away.

10 Your Iguana’s Nose is Free of Discharge

It’s absolutely normal for iguanas to sneeze as that’s how they eliminate dirt and debris from their nostrils.

It’s important to note that an accumulation of salt surrounding the nose is also normal, as their sneezes remove excess salt deposits accumulated within their bodies.

However, discharge from the nose may signify a respiratory infection, and a veterinarian should be consulted.

11 Your Iguana is Observant of Its Surroundings

Iguanas are smart creatures and curious regarding their environment.

While periods of quiet wakefulness are normal, your lizard should spend a portion of the day exploring its enclosure, eating, and observing the world.

If you notice your iguana is not alert to its surroundings, it may very well be a sign of poor health.

What Color is a Healthy Iguana?

As a general rule, a healthy and happy iguana will boast a vibrant green color, sometimes with a bit of yellow and orange, especially the males during mating season. The right temperature, humidity, and light must all be adjusted correctly if the iguana is to be its normal vibrant color.

Now that you know what a healthy iguana looks like, you should also be aware regarding the signs of a stressed iguana, which you can read about here in this post I wrote: 15 Signs an Iguana is Stressed & What to do About it.

ReptileTV Advanced Tips For Identifying Healthy Iguanas


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.

Recent Posts