What you feed your pet iguana goes a long way to ensuring their good health. But as an owner, it can be difficult to know what foods are best and those that should be avoided altogether. But what about fruits, specifically apples? Are these safe to offer as a treat and is there anything in which you need to be aware?
So, can iguanas eat apples? Iguanas can safely eat apples but should do so in small servings and in moderation. While apples can be included as part of a varied and balanced diet, they should only contribute to the 15% total of fruit intake recommended for this species. When feeding, apples are best served cut into small chunks and peeled. This will help your iguana consume the apple without issue, as they are unable to chew, and therefore are at greater risk of choking.
Iguanas are omnivorous in nature; consuming a mixture of animal and protein based foods. However, Iguanas do best with a diet that is made up of around 50-75% vegetables (calcium rich ones being preferable), 15% fruit and 5-15% protein (depending on the age of the Iguana with adults requiring less).
Therefore there is definitely a place for fruit, and apples are safe to Iguanas when prepared and fed in a specific way. Let us now take a closer look at how you can look to serve apple to an Iguana, while ensuring they meet their nutritional needs with a well-balanced diet.
Iguanas and Apples
Iguanas typically enjoy consuming apples, but should do so in moderation and as a treat. Apples should never become a staple of the diet. It is too high in sugar, which can lead to excess weight gain if provided too regularly, especially along with other fruits.
With a quota of around 15% fruit being recommended by veterinarians and experts, its important to know that apples can contribute to this total. Of course, offering a variety of fruit is always preferable and ensures your iguana can obtain more vitamins and minerals than by feeding one fruit alone.
That being said, if you did decide to offer some apple to your Iguana, it is recommended to peel the apple first.
From there, cut the apple into smaller, more manageable chunks. Iguanas are unable to chew and swallow their food whole. Cutting the apple beforehand will therefore help them to consume the fruit without issue, or risk of choking.
If you were to offer apple that was not completely peeled, it can result in impaction. So, you do need to be careful.
Offering a small amount of apple will ensure that you do not disrupt your pets digestion. Too much fruit in the diet can result in diarrhea and running stools; so this is something you are going to want to look out for and avoid.
A couple of peeled apple cubes, that you feed once per week is perhaps the best way to go about offering this fruit.
Additionally, it is strongly advised to remove and never off the seeds of an apple. These are a potential choking hazard, and are known to contain cyanide which can lead to toxicity.
So, with these risks in mind, why would you even want to feed apple to begin with? Well, they are very nutritious. Take a look at the table below which provides an overview of their nutritional profile:
|Vitamin C||2.32 mg|
|Vitamin A||1.5 µg|
|Vitamin K||1.11 µg|
By looking at the table above we can see that there is a wide array of minerals and vitamins for your pet, notably Vitamin C. Equally, apples are low in calories and protein, and can provide energy for your Iguana with healthy carbohydrates. This is even in a small serving size.
Another benefit of apples, is that they can also be very hydrating for your pet.
Apples naturally contain a decent amount of water, and with consumption, will help your iguana to remain hydrated. This is of course, imperative for their scales.
One other potential use for apples is in the juice. In fact, owners have reported that apple juice can be added to their water and diluted to encourage drinking. The sweetness of the juice helps to promote drinking behaviors – especially in pets that are not used to drinking from a bowl in captivity.
Ultimately, apples are best served as an occasional treat. This will prevent issues with the sugar content causing weight gain in the long term, and diarrhea in the short term.
Other Treats To Serve Your Iguana
Iguanas do best with a variety of vegetables, plants, fruits and insects in their diets. Each of which serves a purpose and can offer a good amount of nutrition to keep them strong and healthy.
While specific green leafy vegetables, including: collard greens, mustard greens, dandelions and bok choy should make up a large proportion of the diet (50-75%); treats do have their purpose.
Outside of apples, here are some other treats that you can look to serve your iguana.
Calcium Rich Fruits (Better Options)
Foods To Not Feed A Pet Iguana
So, we now know that apples can be included in the diet, along with some other preferable treats. But what are some foods that should never be fed? Having consulted with pet iguana owners, veterinarians and reptile specialists, here are the ones to completely avoid.
The foods listed below either will cause issues, or do not provide any nutritional advantage by being offered.
- Lettuce – despite being a vegetable and not containing any toxic properties, it is completely devoid of nutrition. It serves no purpose nor benefit to your iguana and can even result in diarrhea if consumed in excess. While it is mostly harmless, other better foods should be sought out.
- Rhubarb – is actually toxic and should never be fed. It can lead to kidney damage when eaten.
- Spinach and Beet Tops – are rich in a compound called Oxalic Acid which binds to other important minerals, mostly Calcium, and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It increases the risk of your Iguana developing a condition known as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which can cause a whole range of issues, reducing the quality of life your reptile has. A small amount of these vegetables should be okay but these vegetables should not be the focus, or staple choices, for your Iguana. To be on the safe side it is better toe exclude these altogether.
- Avocados – contain a number of toxic substances, such as Persin. This fungicidal toxin is most abundant in the skin/leaves and stone however is present in small amounts in the flesh. This chemical is toxic and can prove fatal if consumed by an Iguana.
Iguanas can eat apples, and there are some benefits in doing so. Namely, they provide a number of important vitamins, minerals and can serve as a good way for your Iguana to hydrate.
That being said, if you are looking to serve apples, you should only do so infrequently and in moderation.
Iguanas should only eat at most, 15% of their total dietary intake in the from of fruits. Beyond this, apples do contain quite a bit of sugar which can result in diarrhea in the short term, and weight gain in the long term if this food is oversupplied and overconsumed.
To feed apple safely, it is also important to peel the fruit completely, remove any seeds, and cut it up into small, manageable chunks.
While it may seem like a bit of effort upfront, it will ensure your iguana remains healthy and can benefit from some apple consumption from time to time. They generally really enjoy this fruit, so it will be worth your while.