If you are thinking of buying a Cyclura you need to consider all the pros and cons of owning one.
They’re some of the most intelligent lizards and are capable of a significant amount of interaction and socialization. But in order to get there you need to spend a significant amount of time with them. The time spent will be worth it in the long run.
Very personable and love attention. Many Cyclura owners will admit that Cyclura is the best reptile pet they had owned by far.
They become less aggressive and more tame with age.
They learn to relax and overcome their instincts with specific people and places. They can treat different people differently (even within the same household), but they can be far more on guard with strangers.
Rock iguanas are extremely long lived (up to 70 years). They can be your pet for life.
Usually they don’t have many health issues or illnesses if you take proper care of them.
They remember things they discover and will learn their routine rather quickly. For example, our Cycluras will go back to their cages on their own after they are done roaming the house. Which makes them a bit predictable.
They prefer not to poop inside the cages and will hold it till you take them out. You can train them to poop in the designated area outside the cage if you handle your cyclura daily.
Even though they like some attention they are not needy of it like a cat or a dog would be. You can lock them up in the cage for a day if you have to and they will be ok.
The joy you get from owning a dinosaur!
Cyclura is not a cheap pet. You will need to invest in a large cage or two, special lamps and heating equipment, daily fresh greens and vegetables, electrical expense and find a vet in the area that is qualified to treat Cyclura for check-ups and just in case if you have an emergency.
They need daily fresh food. There is some minor controversy and disagreement as to how much of the diet needs to be fresh food (ours get 100% fresh; I think some people feed 70%+ fresh), but regardless it takes extra time and effort to shop for and prepare their daily salads.
Even well-behaved males can get aggressive during mating season. Males will try to have mate with (this can involve biting and clamping) shoes, feet, and towels. Our male can be stopped and told “no,” but you have to keep an eye out for him when he’s free-roaming.
The intelligence can have a downside: all four of our Cycluras know how to open their cages if they’re not locked. Two of ours have even tried door handles on our bedroom door… They will try climb furniture and squeeze through the tight cracks.
Rock iguana is going to get BIG! So a very large cage and enclosure is a must. they need A LOT of space. They also need to free roam and have an access to natural Sun when possible. This means you also have to have an outside cage or enclosure for them.
Females also need a large nesting box for the egg-laying that they will use once a year.
When we go on vacation we have to have a pet sitter who can feed and poop and handle Rock iguanas daily. I must admit, it can be challenging to find, train and trust somebody to handle these animals since they are not dogs or cats.
Some do NOT like to be moved… but it varies from animal to animal. After our last move, most of ours settled in within a few months, but one was “suspicious” of the new environment for a year. They’re not big fans of change.
When they bite and clamp it can require stitches.
You will get scratched up regularly just from handling your Cyclura. So, nail trimming and long sleeve shirts are recommended.
What I can add personally, I never get tired of being a Cyclura owner, they are amazing animals. We own 4 and they all have different personalities and we are happy with all of them. If you truly enjoy reptiles and are a responsible person, you will get great joy from owning one. Or two. O there.
I really love these comments that people made in reference to owning Cyclura.
Ty Park – “Just know that, like people, iguanas do have different personalities….or is that iguanalities…and different iguanas will react differently to different stimuli. You just need to get to know your own iguana once you bring one home. They will make you laugh, cry, mad…etc. but know that they will change your life and in most case for the better.”
Michelle B. – “Love love love my iggs……but the hardest part….and I mean this in all sincerity. They are totally BI-POLAR!!!!!!!!!!! If I could bold that and make it huge I so would. You will work your butt off to train them to be ok with you…..this will take many bites…tail whips….take off running you cannot catch me….and tears….Band-Aids…..and you will look a bit like a crack head with the scratches all over. After this episode they will amaze you at calming down. Then comes the I WILL DO WHAT I WANT stage….kind of like teenagers for lack of a better understanding. They are super super smart and will test that every time. If they don’t get their own way….get ready for a tee tee…..if you clean their cage….oh you are the worst parent ever. I think you get the picture. Once they have YOU trained that they are the boss and you are merely the human slave….then life seems to calm down until mating season. I don’t even want to talk about mating season. Having a 5+ ft large train coming at you with hemipenes hanging out…..its not a party. Ok…with all this taken into consideration……just when you think all is lost and you just might not be cut out for all this……they will climb up on you….cuddle up and give you little kisses and put their head on your shoulder and kick out a sexy leg. By this time its all over….you are so hooked into this lil person that rules your life. You are done for….and totally in love.”
Photo is a courtesy of Renata Carlseen.