How Long Do Iguanas Live?

If you are looking at keeping an exotic animal like an iguana as a pet, youre going to need to know some information to ensure they live a long and healthy life. But what is their average lifespan? What age can you expect an iguana to live to? Ive done some research and, accidents or illness aside, I would like to present to you some rough estimations.

This way, youll be equipped with the knowledge to properly take care for them and ensure you are doing all you can to promote maximal chances of longevity in your pet. Many green iguanas that you would find and adopt from a pet store tend to live for nine to ten years.

There are many reasons for this, and your duty as their owner is to try and make their enclosure and habitat as close to nature as you possibly can. In the following section, we will take a look at some of the reasons why iguanas can fail to live the longer life they deserve. Continuing the example of the green iguana, they are known to succumb to kidney disease before they reach ten years of age.

Nonetheless, they make fantastic pets and if you do decide to get one, as long as you equip yourself with the right information then you and your iguana should be more than okay. In the wild, iguanas will stay near ponds, rivers, and lakes in order to be close to water. They simply need access to water, and it takes more than a light misting to keep them sufficiently hydrated.

This will help to prevent nutritional deficiencies and make sure they have all the vitamins and minerals they need to grow, stay strong and have a robust and well-functioning immune system (which will help fight off bacteria and disease). Moreover, even with an optimized and spacious enclosure, it is important that you do not not keep them inside for too long at any stretch of time. Metabolic Disease Iguanas need a diet that is rich in calcium and low in phosphorus.

If their diet is lacking in calcium, iguanas will suffer from this painful condition that lowers their lifespan. However, you can estimate their age roughly by their overall size and the maturity of their bodies, including sexual organs. Males have more prominent bumps on their heads as they age, and also their jowls (located at the iguanas jaw line and feels soft like a pillow) get larger.

This ability to produce a new set of teeth each time allows them to cut plants and leaves to eat effectively. The common, domesticated iguana in captivity will live on average to be nine or ten years of age. They do live much longer in the wild, and you can potentially increase your iguanas chances of a long life by optimizing their habitat and environment making it as natural as possible.

Some owners are very knowledgeable on how to care for their pet iguanas, and this goes a long way to ensuring they live to their maximum potential. Youll need to learn about their natural habitat, their temperature, humidity, and hydration requirements.

Do pet iguanas recognize their owners?

Many people unfamiliar with iguanas don’t realize it, but pet iguanas absolutely recognize their owners by sight and sound. Iguanas have very keen vision and clearly see their owners and recognize them. Iguanas also hear well.

Do iguanas remember you?

Iguanas are able to recognize their owners and family, have a great memory, are affectionate, live 15 to 20 years and can be trained to eat, sleep and go to the washroom at desired times and places.

Are iguanas aggressive to humans?

Iguanas are not dangerous or aggressive to humans but they can dig lengthy tunnels, damaging pavements and building foundations. They can sometimes carry salmonella bacteria. Males can grow to at least 5ft (1.5 metres) long and weigh 9kg (20lb), and females can lay nearly 80 eggs a year.

Do iguanas bite?

Iguanas do bite people, but only in self-defense. Their sharp teeth are specifically created to tear plants apart, but could be really painful to humans. … Aside from their teeth, you should also watch out for their powerful tail that can be very sharp when whipped against your skin.

Iguanas are lizards identified by their stocky stature, the saggy skin on their throats and the spines that protrude from their heads, necks, backs and tails. Iguanas are popular pets and can live 15 to 20 years if cared for properly.

Overall, most iguanas are herbivores and only eat vegetation such as flower buds, fruits and young leaves. The marine iguana will get its meal by scraping algae from rocks in the ocean or by munching on sea weed, according to National Geographic .

They have broken and stubby spines that were damaged in battles with more dominant iguanas, according to the San Diego Zoo. Kingdom : Animalia Subkingdom : Bilateria Infrakingdom : Deuterostomia Phylum : Chordata Subphylum : Vertebrata Infraphylum : Gnathostomata Superclass : Tetrapoda Class : Reptilia Order : Squamata Suborder : Iguania Family : Iguanidae Genera : Amblyrhynchus, Brachylophus, Conolophus, Ctenosaura, Cyclura, Dipsosaurus, Iguana, Sauromalus Species : Examples include: The Fiji banded iguana , for example, is found on only two islands, and its population has dropped by 50 percent in the past 30 to 45 years.

(Image credit: Joe McDonald, Clyde Peelings Reptiland) The Galapagos marine iguana is black. The dark color helps absorb heat from the sun after a swim in the ocean to keep the lizard warm. They can drop from a branch up to 40 feet (12 meters) high, hit the ground and survive, according to National Geographic .

In the textbook, Reptile Medicine and Surgery (Douglas Mader, MS, DVM, DABVP, WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1996), on page 60, the green iguana is listed as having a record of living for 12 years, nine months, and another source lists this as 19 years, 10 months in the same table. An online search came up with varied ages, from seven to10 years on one site, and 12.4 years documented from a paper published in 1974.

Because I practice in Florida, where may green and spiny-tailed iguanas live free and reproduce prolifically, I have noticed that they tend to stay along rivers, ponds and lakes, and dive into the water at the first sign of danger.


The longest of the iguanas is the green iguana. It grows to between 5 and 7 feet (1.5 to 2 meters) long from nose to tail. The smallest of the group is the spiny-tailed iguana, which grows to 4.9 to 39 inches (12.5 to 100 centimeters) long. The heaviest iguana is the blue iguana. It can weigh up to 30 lbs. (14 kilograms), according to the San Diego Zoo.


Iguanas like warm temperatures because they are cold blooded. This means that the outside temperature is what keeps them warm since they have no way to regulate internal heat with their own bodies. These lizards are found in Mexico, Central and South America, the Galápagos Islands, on some of the Caribbean islands, Fiji and Madagascar. They typically live in tropical and subtropical forests, deserts and coastlines, according to the San Diego Zoo. The University of Florida also reports that there are iguanas running free in south Florida due to people setting their pets loose.


Overall, most iguanas are herbivores and only eat vegetation such as flower buds, fruits and young leaves. The marine iguana will get its meal by scraping algae from rocks in the ocean or by munching on sea weed, according to National Geographic. Pet iguanas and some wild iguanas enjoy worms, crickets and baby mice along with vegetation.


Iguanas are social creatures that eat and live together. Male iguanas are very territorial, though, and will fight other encroaching male iguanas. It is easy to identify male iguanas that are not dominant. They have broken and stubby spines that were damaged in battles with more dominant iguanas, according to the San Diego Zoo.Since they don’t need to actively hunt for their food, iguanas are very laid back creatures. Iguanas typically spend their days lounging in the sun to keep warm and from time to time they will get up for a snack. The green iguana will forage in the same spot every day, according to the Smithsonian.


Like most lizards, iguanas lay eggs, though the number of eggs varies, depending on species. The female rock iguana lays five to 20 eggs, for example, while the green iguana lays around 65 eggs.Eggs are laid in a burrow in a warm, sunny area. The mother covers the eggs and then walks away. According to the San Diego Zoo, the burrow will stay a steady 77 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 32 degrees Celsius), which incubates the eggs until they hatch. The baby iguanas are completely on their own for the three years it takes to fully mature because their mother never returns. Many young never make it to maturity.

Conservation status

There are 35 recognized species of iguana, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web. However, ADW reports that the Iguanid family is undergoing “much systematic revision.” The taxonomy of iguanas, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), is: