Reptile Function

Hand-feeding your Cyclura

So is it just me, or does all food for Cycluras taste better to them when it’s being hand-fed? Our cycluras all loooooooove to eat from our hands.

Although sometimes you have to really watch your fingers when they’re excited.

Hand-feeding blueberries to young cyclura Yasha, "Godzilla Training in Progress"

Hand-feeding blueberries to young cyclura Yasha, “Godzilla Training in Progress”

The piece of iguana food can be sitting in the food dish and iguana is ignoring it or just not hungry at the moment. But if you pick it up and hand-feed it to her, she will eat it like it’s the best thing ever!

Hand-feeding iguana is very beneficial for socializing. It establishes the bond and trust between you (the human) and your animal.

You can also use hand-feeding method to teach them to approach you or approach any other object or unfamiliar territory . For example Yasha was afraid to go outside in to the patio because the space was very open and unfamiliar. But she recognized the fruit in my hand and followed me into the “unknown” space and a new territory. This made it “ok” in her mind. She was preoccupied with getting the fruit so much that it helped to overcome the fear of entering unfamiliar place in natural and non-forceful way.

Cyclura can also learn hand gestures and movements very quickly . They will closely pay attention to your fingers after they learned the fact that fingers can “bring treats”. When they are comfortable with their owners, Cycluras consider hand-feeding special and desirable activity. They can see you carrying treats from across the room or field and will get excited and hurry up to come to you with the expectation to get treated. It is always fun to interact with them,  see them scamper towards you with great excitement and reward them with hand-feeding.

Another thing you may want to teach your Cyclura is the “empty hand”, so they know you are out of treats. For example, after feeding our pet Cyclura the last treat I make sure and show her the open empty hand. They learned that this means “no more treats, finished” and move on.

Just like any pet, you want to make sure your Cyclura is well behaved and not jumping on you like a wild beast trying to get to that fruity treat in your hand. Because they will if you let them.

Share your hand-feeding experience and stories with us.

Photo is courtesy of Renata Carlseen.

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