Avoiding Overheating Your Iguana

Yes, iguanas enjoy lying around in the hot sun or basking on their rocks under a heat lamp. That doesn’t mean they can’t overheat! Here, a Dunedin veterinarian tells you about the signs of overheating in iguanas and how to properly avoid this dangerous health risk with your pet.

Faulty Enclosure Setup

One of the biggest risk factors for overheating in iguanas is a faulty enclosure set-up. First of all, consider where your iguana’s enclosure is placed. Never place it by a window where direct sunlight can filter in and bake your pet—the heat lamp is there to simulate the sun’s light and heat. Also make sure your pet’s basking area has easy exits so if your iguana does get too hot it’s easy for him to move away to a cooler area.

Make sure your enclosure contains shady areas that are cooler than the basking area, and keep plenty of fresh water in your iguana’s bowl. Consult your Dunedin vet for more advice on properly setting up your reptile’s cage.

Thermometer Placement

Another mistake iguana owners may make is poor placement of thermometers. You should have at least three separate thermometers monitoring your pet’s enclosure. Remember that a thermometer placed in the middle of the cage isn’t reading the same temperature that is actually occurring in the basking area. Be sure to place a thermometer where your iguana will actually be.

Check the temperature by placing your hand under the heat lamp—cautiously—where your iguana will lay. If it is too hot to keep your hand there, it is very likely too hot for your pet. Your Dunedin vet can advise you on exact temperatures that will be healthy for your pet.

Symptoms of Overheating

If one of these mistakes does result in your iguana overheating, it’s important to recognize the signs and react quickly. An open mouth, panting, and feeling extra hot to the touch are signs of overheating. The first thing to do is move your iguana out of the range of the heat source, to a cooler area of some sort. Your pet should cool down on his own—NEVER submerse him in cool water or make any kind of drastic temperature change.

It’s a good idea to call your Dunedin veterinarian to make sure your pet will be okay. If any further symptoms present themselves, take your iguana to your Dunedin vet immediately. By using caution, setting up an enclosure properly, and wisely placing thermometers, overheating should be easy to avoid.


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