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Get Your Owner's Guide For Iguanas And Help Your Special Friend Live its Best Life.

What Is The Lifespan Of An Iguana

Are you wondering how long you could have your iguana?

Have you considered getting an iguana as a pet, but are still doing your research?

Whether you are thinking about adopting an iguana or you already have one, you might wonder:

What is the lifespan of an iguana?

In the wild, the iguana has a lifespan of about 20 years. In captivity, when the animal is properly cared for, with the proper habitat, an iguana can live to the same age as their wild cousins. It is not uncommon for pet iguanas to have a significantly shorter lifespan.

This lifespan makes owning an iguana a long term commitment.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the lifespan of an iguana.

what is the lifespan of an iguana

What Is The Lifespan Of An Iguana

If you are considering owning an iguana, one of the first things you should understand is the lifespan of the animal.

In the case of iguanas, those in captivity can reach 20 years old, the same age as their wild counterparts.

Unfortunately, they often don’t live as long because of improper care, habitat, and nutrition.

When you decide to adopt an iguana, you need to understand it is often a long term commitment.

Their lifespan of up to 20 years means you will have to care for the animal for a considerable amount of time. 

What Causes An Iguana In Captivity To Have A Shortened Lifespan?

Iguanas in captivity often do not have the same lifespan as the iguanas in the wild.

This is because creating an ideal habitat in your home is difficult, and the environment plays a significant role in the health and wellbeing of your pet iguana.

Many iguanas in captivity do not make it through the first few years if they do not receive the proper nutrition or have a good living space.

It is also very important to have quality, specialized veterinary care to help prolong their lives.

If you do your research and understand what your iguana needs, your iguana will be with you for a long time.

Here we will break down some of the top issues shortening the lifespan of pet iguanas.


One of the most important parts of owning an iguana is making sure their habitat is ideal for them.

An improper enclosure can lead to stunted growth and a shortened lifespan.

This is both an important aspect of iguana ownership and sometimes a challenging one.

Many species of iguanas will not even be able to be kept as pets.

This is because it is difficult to replicate their natural habitat and nearly impossible to maintain it.

Because iguanas can grow as large as 6′ to 7′ feet long, they require a large enclosure to give them room to move comfortably.

Climbing branches should be added as iguanas are most comfortable living amongst the trees in their natural habitat.

In addition to the size of the enclosure, iguana owners should also understand the need for proper heat and lighting.

Iguanas require warm spaces for basking requiring the use of supplemental heat sources.

You will also need to check to make sure temperatures do not get too low in the enclosure, as this can cause stress and health problems.

UVB lighting should be installed and turned on for 10 to 12 hours per day.

Iguanas need UVB light rays to survive and absorb nutrients.

If you do thorough research to provide your iguana with the proper habitat, you will be on the right path to keeping the animal healthy and happy for long life.

Proper Food And Nutrition

Besides their habit, understanding the nutritional needs of an iguana help prolong their life.

Since these animals are herbivores, you will need to feed them primarily veggies and also fruits occasionally.

Also, be sure to dust the food with supplements like calcium to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.

These supplements are used because the iguanas in captivity don’t have access to the same variety of food.

In the wild, the variety of food will give the iguana the chance to get the nutrients they need to survive at peak health.

In captivity, your iguana will only see the foods you give them, and the supplements will give help make up for what the food might be lacking.


Many iguanas expire because of kidney disease, and one reason for this is a lack of proper hydration.

It is important to have a water dish for the animal to drink from and mist the iguana in the morning and evening.

This will not only help the iguana stay hydrated, but it will also add humidity to the enclosure.

Be sure to watch humidity levels, so they stay in the correct range for the animal.

It is not uncommon for iguanas in the wild to enjoy swimming or floating in a river or other body of water.

You should bathe your iguana at least four days a week, or if possible, every day.

Another option, if your enclosure is large enough, would be to place a small pool in their habitat.

The water must be warm enough to accommodate the animal.

This is achieved through the use of a pig warmer or an aquarium heater.

You will also need to regularly clean the pool, as the iguana is likely to go to the bathroom in it.

This option isn’t for everyone, but regular bathing will help maintain hydration and promote good kidney function.


Iguanas can make great pets for families, but they do require specific care if you want them to reach their maximum lifespan.

When properly cared for, iguanas can reach the age of 20 years old, with most averaging between 15 and 20.

Be sure to do your research and understand the commitment of owning an iguana before you decide to bring one into your home.

If you do, you are sure to have your companion around for a long time. 

Check out this post on making your own iguana leash.

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