Properly feeding your Iguana will come with a lot of questions. But what about cherries? Can these reptiles consume this red pitted fruit – or should they? Here is what you will want to know.
So, can Iguanas eat cherries? Iguanas can eat de-pitted cherries, although should only do so infrequently and in moderation. Cherries, along with other fruits, should only make up a total of 10-15% of dietary intake. As herbivores, these reptiles need to be fed plant matter first and foremost. Specifically leaves as they are folivores by nature.
And you’re going to want to take these ratios seriously and keep to them.
An improper diet can be the cause of many different and diverse health conditions in iguanas, resulting in a lower quality of life and even the shortening of it.
But thankfully that need not be the case.
Let us look at how you can safely incorporate these sweet fleshy drupes into the diet of your Iguana.
Are Cherries Healthy For Iguanas?
Cherries are healthy for iguanas if given in appropriate amounts. They provide a decent amount of nutrition per serving and can provide variety, nutrition, and appeal if added to the top of a leaf-based salad. They are therefore one of the recommended fruits to offer.
And if we look more closely at the vitamins and minerals of this particular stone fruit, we can start to see why it is a recommended fruit by Iguana experts and knowledgeable reptile veterinarians:
Nutritional Content Of Cherries
|of which sugars||1.05 g|
|Vitamin A||5.25 µg|
|Vitamin C||0.574 mg|
And this is just in one cherry!
So imagine offering 2-3 at a time.
And if you do so, you’ll be providing several different important vitamins/minerals without providing too many calories, or sugars which is the main consideration with fruit.
But cherries offer so much more than energy through the fruit sugars (fructose). Besides, the fiber content of the cherries themselves, and other paired foods will likely slow the sugar absorption anyway. At least if they are paired with other foods.
Then there are decent amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C too!
Now we all know the importance of calcium in our Iguanas diets.
And if we don’t by now, it’s essential you do some further reading.
At least to understand its importance, and why you need to ensure it’s provided in sufficient amounts.
So, this is definitely the kind of food you do want to introduce to the diet. At least from time to time.
Can Iguanas Eat Cherry Pits?
Iguanas cannot, nor should not, eat cherry pits. Cherry pits are of sufficient size to cause either choking or impaction – both of which can be fatal to an Iguana.
For this reason, it is essential that you remove any cherry pits prior to serving.
In fact, just as is the case with any fruit, it is best if you chop them into smaller pieces first, and take away any unnecessary fibrous material – like the stalks.
How Many Cherries Can An Iguana Eat?
Raw cherries should be offered to your Iguana infrequently, a couple of times per week is advised. Cherries should be rotated with other fruits for variety and be used to incentivize the consumption of the main dietary staples.
At first, you will want to introduce this fruit to your Iguana slowly.
You want to see how they respond.
So do not give too much at first, and closely monitor how your Iguana responds.
Ensure they are not suffering from any digestive upset before you look to increase either the serving size or frequency.
Even then, 2-3 cherries should suffice per serving (5-15 grams of weighed fruit)
Remember, for Iguanas variety is much more important.
So you want to provide other safe fruits too; such as berries, pears, mangos, papayas, and kiwis.
And you’ll be working to a general quota too.
10-15% of the diet should be made up of fruit, at most.
The rest must come from plant matter, specifically leafy greens and foliage.
So, cherries are more of a treat that provides color, moisture, and supplementary nutrition.
How To Feed Cherries To An Iguana
The best way to offer cherries to your Iguana is part of a mixed plant-based salad. A chopped-up cherry or two, along with some other berries, on top of a calcium-rich serving of vegetables is ideal.
Firstly, you want to ensure that you are purchasing, fresh, unspoiled cherries.
Organic is preferable here if your budget allows.
As they are seasonal, you may have to source frozen cherries.
If that is the case, you must ensure they are sufficiently thawed first – frozen cherries should never be provided as they are hard and challenging for an Iguana to break down.
Besides, they contain a lot of water that can cause issues too.
At the same time, be sure only to purchase fresh cherries; preserved, canned, or even dried cherries should not be offered.
Once sourced, you’ll want to proceed to prepare them.
Washing them thoroughly, removing the stalks and pits, and then cutting them into quarters or thirds.
Then, you can look to serve.
Preparing a big salad that combines calcium-rich foilage (e.g. collard greens, mustard greens, bok choy, and dandelion) and then sprinkling them on top is great here.
If you an throw on a few berries (like blueberries and raspberries too).
Better yet would be to add a little citrus fruit, like orange to improve the calcium absorption.
Just ensure they are equally prepared too, like and you do not add too much.
At the same time, be sure to add the fruit to the top of the salad.
This should incentivize your iguana to eat and consume the fibrous plant-based matter that is so crucial for their health.
Iguanas can eat cherries.
In fact, they are one of the best fruits you can look to provide.
But they should be fed in a controlled and limited manner.
They should not become a ‘staple’ nor should be given at each and every meal.
And be sure to rotate them with other fruits too.
That way you can prevent any preferences from developing and provide more nutrition all at the same time.
Remember; while fruit has its place in the diet of an Iguana – it’s not as important as you think.
10-15% of total dietary intake tops.
Iguanas are herbivorous, specifically folivores, by nature.
That needs to be the priority.