Have you heard about red iguanas and want to learn a little more about them?
Are you curious about why red iguanas are a special member of the iguana family?
When I first got into iguanas, I’d heard all about the common green iguana, the beautiful blue iguana, and the unique marine iguana. Still, the red iguana seemed an interesting case.
When digging into them, this question came up along with others:
How big does the red iguana get?
Red iguanas are a special coloration of the green iguana. Though they’re the same at the genetic level, most owners tend to see them grow to the longer end of the spectrum, up to 7′ feet (2.13 m) from tip to tail. Red iguanas, as with green iguanas, end up close to 20 pounds (9.07 kg) in weight.
Read ahead for more details on the red iguana size and other commonly asked questions.
Are There Red Iguanas?
Yes, there are red iguanas, but they’re not a separate species.
Labeling iguanas by common name and species is a tricky process as it is, so it’s OK to be confused.
For example, the blue iguana when talking to most people refers to the type of rock iguana from the Grand Cayman Islands.
But pet stores and others also call green iguanas with blue coloration, blue iguanas.
It’s important to educate yourself, so you know what kind of iguana you’re getting.
Red iguanas are a sort of catch-all term used for iguanas of any species with a red coloration.
Most often, the name, red iguana, is used to refer to a green iguana (iguana iguana for the scientific name) with a red color.
The species is the same, but it’s a color specialization or morphs.
For the rest of this article, answers for red iguanas will refer to this type of green iguana.
How Big Do Red Iguanas Get?
As with green iguanas, the size differs based on individual iguanas and gender.
For adult males, they usually reach a length from nose to tail of 5′ – 7′ feet (2.13 m) and a weight of 20 pounds (9.07 kg).
Though this isn’t proven, many owners speculate red iguanas are more likely to end up on the heavier and longer end of the spectrum compared to the standard green.
Female iguanas follow the pattern most animals do when gender-related sizes.
Female iguanas typically are two-thirds the size of their male counterparts.
This means a length of 3.5′ – 5′ feet (1.52 m) and a weight of 13.5 pounds (6.12 kg).
These numbers depend on several factors which we’ll discuss below.
Factors Affecting Red Iguana Size
Sadly, most red iguanas won’t reach their full size.
This is due to several serious misunderstandings in caring for iguanas, which dramatically shortens their life span and stunts their growth.
This section will discuss the factors limiting or encouraging their growth.
The biggest factor in the end-result of a red iguana’s size is the size of its living space.
This is where most owners mess up.
If you leave an iguana in a space too small, it will stop growing to a certain extent.
This isn’t normal and adds a lot of stress on their body.
In the long run, this will limit their life span to only a few years.
At the least, iguanas need an open-air cage of at least 6′ feet (1.83 m) long, 6′ feet (1.83 m) wide, and 6′ feet (1.83 m) tall.
This may seem too big for you, but the iguana needs space to run around and climb.
Ideally, the enclosure would be 12′ feet (3.66 m) long, 6′ feet (1.83 m) wide, and 6′ feet (1.83 m) tall.
If you live in the hotter climates, you may wish to keep the iguana outside.
There’s nothing wrong with this as long you prevent the iguana from digging through the ground or climbing out the top.
Interior cages work well if you have space, but you need to make sure they get enough fresh air and circulation.
Diet is another big piece of iguana development.
Most people see the large reptile and assume they’re meat or insect eaters to some degree.
While they can eat an insect or small animal if the situation is dire, their bodies aren’t designed to digest these things easily.
Fresh plants should make up most of their diet.
Commercial iguana food is fine as a supplement or 50% of their daily “salads” of fresh vegetation, vegetables, and weekly fruit treats.
Correct diets encourage their growth, but failure to provide this may result in stunted growth and major health issues.
Temperature Of Enclosure
Believe it or not, the temperature of the enclosure is also key to helping the iguana grow fully.
The temperature helps their body better digest its food, absorb nutrients, and gain energy.
For iguanas, they need these four temperature marks hit consistently:
- Basking spot = 120° degrees Fahrenheit (49° C)
- Overall = 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C)
- Cool/hiding spot = 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C)
- Nighttime > 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C)
Consistency Of Diet
It’s not enough to feed the right types of food.
They also need a consistent diet.
Luckily, this is easy with iguanas, even if many get it wrong.
Red iguanas, as with green iguanas, need to be fed daily.
Fill a food bowl with your salad and leave it in there all day.
At the start of the next day, remove the food and put in fresh food.
If you notice a ton of extra food in the morning, put less in.
If you notice no food left day after day, increase what you put in.
This helps them grow as they need.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how big the red iguana gets.
7′ feet (2.13 m) long with its tail and 20 pounds (9.07 kg) may seem impossibly large, but this is the truth with these creatures.
Unfortunately, most red iguanas and all iguanas don’t reach their full size or life potential due to small cage sizes and inadequate care.
Provide the right kind of care for your iguana.