Reptile Function

Why iguanas are picky eaters and how to train cyclura to eat healthy greens every day?

Some baby and  adult cyclura can become very picky with their food. They will eat the “tasty” things like fruit and perhaps some vegetables and ignore the greens.

Iguana salad mix

Iguana salad mix

Why iguanas are picky eaters and what can be done to train cyclura to eat healthy greens every day?

First, you need to consider the proportions of fruit, vegetables and greens that you are feeding on daily basis. If you feed your iguana hefty portions of fruit every day, iguanas and especially babies will fill up on sweets and ignore the rest of the food. Fruits like bananas, grapes, mangos, etc. are very high on sugars and make iguanas feel not hungry through the day. But nutritionally speaking most fruits lack a lot of other vitamins, minerals and proteins needed for healthy growth and metabolism.

Generally speaking fruits can be considered as treats. If you want to train your spoiled picky iguana to eat more greens, try to take the fruits out of the diet for a week or two. Then introduce fruit back to their diet in very small bite-size pieces 2-3 times a week.

Best fruits for iguana are figs (high in calcium), blueberries, mango, papaya, strawberries & blackberries. You can try to give other fruits and berries on rare occasion and only as special treats and not every day.

Anubis (young rhino cyclura).

Anubis (young rhino cyclura) is eating his daily salad. Photo by Cheyenne McHale

These are Ty Park’s established iguana salad proportions and guidelines that you can follow:

70% greens, 10% vegetables, 5-10% fruits, 10-15% Mazuri tortoise chow or herbivore diet supplements like alfalfa. You can also add vitamin and calcium at about quarter of what the manufacturer recommends. You can follow these proportion through spring to fall diet. In the winter you don’t have to use fruits and go to 80% greens.

Personally, we don’t feed Mazuri tortois chow to our cyclura. We feed 100% fresh food sprinkled with dry powder alfalfa and occasional Repashy herbivore supplement. So our proportions would be more like:

80% greens, 10-15% vegetables, 5-10% fruit all year round.


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