Avocado has been touted as quite the superfood for us humans. They’re delicious too. So you may be wondering whether you can offer some of this green fruit (that’s right it’s actually a fruit), to your Iguana. Well, you’ll be glad you stopped by. Here is why.
So, can Iguanas eat avocado? Iguanas should not be fed avocado in any quantity. Avocado is actually toxic to these reptiles, in part due to a fungicidal toxin called Persin which is present in all parts of the fruit, including the flesh. Therefore, avocados must be avoided at all costs.
I’ve even seen the ever-popular avocado described as “the toxic berry” – at least to animals.
We, humans, appear to be an exception here.
So don’t worry – you personally do not need to give them up.
But you should definitely avoid giving them to your Iguana.
As we shall soon see why…
Why Iguanas Should Not Be Fed Avocado
Iguanas should not eat avocado due to the presence of a toxin, called Persin. Equally, avocados are high in energy, specifically fat, and can cause unnecessary and problematic weight gain in these reptiles.
We’ll start with the primary concern. Persin.
Now, Persin is a toxin found primarily in the skin and the leaves.
However, it is also found in the edible flesh part too. That is because it leaches into the body of the fruit.
Now you may be wondering why does this not affect humans.
Well first and foremost, it does and it can. Primarily in allergic individuals.
But, the concentrations are generally considered harmless to us humans.
The same cannot be said for animals, including reptiles, however.
You only have to look at this article by the ASPCA to see its wide-ranging negative effects on animals.
But what about iguanas specifically.
Well, in a 2006 extract called ‘Reported Toxicities in Reptiles’ from the Reptile Medicine and Surgery second edition, as found via ScienceDirect, one of the conclusions drawn as is follows:
Besides, do not just take it from me.
It’s also the advice and recommendation of the Animal Veterinary Hospital of Orlando in their care guide in the “avoid feeding these toxic items to your iguana” section.
I haven’t even got to the nutritional side of avocados.
And this is not great reading either.
Let us look at the energy in just 50 grams of the flesh:
Nutritional Content Of Avocado
|of which sugars||0.33 g|
7.3 grams of fat and 5 grams of carbohydrates!
That’s a lot for an Iguana.
And 50 grams of avocado – that really is not a lot.
Sure there is a wide range of vitamins and minerals – but with avocado – the Persin and high-energy just do not make this food ideal.
It’s not worth the risk and there are far better foods available.
Other Toxic Foods To Not Feed Your Iguana
Beyond just avocado, the following foods are also considered to be toxic to an Iguana:
- Seeds of Apples, Apricots, Nectarines,
All of which should be avoided.
Outside of just toxic foods, there are others to avoid too.
Perhaps the main one of note here is nutrient and vitamin-deficient vegetables.
Iceberg and celery are two excellent examples of wholly inadequate foods; primarily just water and fiber with no real nutrition or sustenance.
You also need to be careful not to overdo certain plants.
Oxalates and goitrogens are the main plant compounds to be mindful of.
These can bind to calcium and other trace minerals and lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Lastly, if possible always source organic. This will ensure your Iguanas dietary foods are not grown with pesticides or other potentially toxic chemicals.
Thoroughly washing is one such workaround, albeit not as preferable.
Foods You Should Be Feeding Your Iguana
The foods you should feed your Iguana should closely match and mimic their natural diet and what their wild counterparts are known to consume. Leaves, plus some occasional fruits and flowers are generally considered ideal.
The majority of an Iguanas diet should be specific dark green leafy vegetables – between 60-70% of total food intake is advised here.
From there, select vegetables should make up a further 20-30%
And then the rest should come from specific fruits.
Serving food raw is recommended as this will retain nutrients lost by cooking.
Let us now quickly walk through each one:
Green, calcium-rich leafy vegetables should be the staple of the diet.
Collard, mustard and turnip and dandelion greens are ideal options here.
Bok choy, kale, endive, parsley, and watercress are great too.
Mixing them together into a salad is advised for daily feeding.
Other Select Vegetables
Next, certain vegetables should be added for variation, nutrition, and sustenance.
Squashes are ideal here – such as acorn and butternut.
Parsnip, green beans, broccoli, carrot, bell peppers are other good options.
Mixing these in with the salad should avoid an Iguana selectively eating them and avoiding the leafy greens.
Fruits and Flowers
Should make up the rest of the diet.
Figs, kiwi, mango, and cherries are all good options.
In terms of flowers: nasturtiums, carnations, geraniums, daisies roses, and dandelions are best.
These are best served as a top to salads,
Iguanas should not eat avocado – for two, rather different reasons.
And that is in any amount.
There are much better foods available.
Besides, what you decide to feed, and not to feed, this particular reptile will have a huge impact on their health and longevity.
So do your research and be mindful of everything you feed, when, how, and of quantities too.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.