Oranges. The type of fruit that always seems to be lying around and that we buy too many off. But can, or should we, feed them to our Iguanas? Here is everything you will want to know.
So, can Iguanas eat oranges? Iguanas can eat oranges as a treat and can benefit from doing so. As a citrus fruit, orange can help iguanas absorb and assimilate calcium from other foods. That being said, only a small amount of orange should be fed at a time, with fruit fed sparingly in the diet – 10-15% being a suggested maximum.
There appears to be a balance here.
And it’s all due to the unique profile of citrus fruits.
Let us now see why this could be a good option for an Iguana, and how you can look to introduce them should you decide you want to!
Are Oranges Healthy For Iguanas?
Oranges have their advantages and place in the diet of an Iguana – assuming they are fed sparingly and in appropriate amounts at a time. In fact, even the rind can be offered as a means of providing fiber and compounds known to support digestion.
The nutrient profile can give us a good overview of the vitamins, and minerals, that this particular citrus fruit can provide:
Nutritional Content Of Oranges
|of which sugars||8.57 g|
|Vitamin C||59 mg|
And by reviewing the table above, you can start to see some favorable characteristics of the humble orange.
Plenty of water to keep your Iguana hydrated, favorable calcium to phosphorous ratio, a decent amount of fiber (even without the rind), and high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C too.
And here’s another interesting thing.
Oranges, along with a number of other citrus fruits, have compounds that help digest and use the much-needed calcium according to the Animal Veterinary Hospital of Orlando care guide:
With all this being said, oranges are not the perfect standalone food for Iguanas nor should they be fed too much.
They are quite acidic, contain quite a bit of sugar, and don’t provide the levels of fiber and Iguana truly needs.
So, the majority of the diet simply must be foliage, and green leafy vegetables first and foremost.
Can Iguanas Eat Orange Rind (Peel)
Iguanas can eat orange rind, or the peel, so long as it is not too hard (from drying out) and it is cut into small and manageable pieces.
In fact, the rind is almost as nutritious as the flesh itself.
It is mostly fiber (which benefits an Iguana greatly), but it is also rich in calcium and all of the other important nutrients stated above – without the sugar!
In fact, 100 grams of orange peel has:
- 161 mg of Calcium
- 21 mg of Phosperhous
- 1.5 grams of Protein
Beyond this, there are a decent amount of polyphenols and plant compounds that have a wide range of health-promoting effects.
How Much Orange Should An Iguana Eat?
Despite its benefits, orange should only be offered to an Iguana infrequently and in moderation. 25-50 grams (1-2 segments), 1-2x per week is advised. At least at first.
And orange should be frequently combined/rotated with other safe fruits to ensure your Iguana is getting a diverse range of vitamins and minerals and to prevent preferences from developing.
If your Iguana is young, or yet to try orange, then do offer a very small amount initially.
A bite or two may even be better here.
From there, see how they take to it, and respond in the hours following.
Make sure that they do not suffer from any significant digestive upset.
A small change to the stool is to be expected with any fruit consumption, but it should not be drastically different.
And even after serving orange to your Iguana multiple times, you are still not going to want to push the serving sizes.
Remember, for Iguanas vegetables and foliage should take priority.
Only 10-15% of the diet should be made up of fruit, at the very most.
So, consider oranges as a treat, or even a supplement, that can help your Iguana to digest and absorb as much calcium as they need, or can.
How To Feed Orange To An Iguana
Offering your Iguana a segment or two of orange is best. Cutting this up further, and removing the pips and any very rough fiber is also advised. Be sure to pair the orange with other calcium-rich leafy greens to ensure your Iguana maximizes the nutrition they can offer.
To begin with, be sure to purchase or source fresh, ripe oranges.
You do not want them too tart, or mushy here.
Organic is preferable if you can afford it. That way you should maximize the amount of nutrition they contain enables you to offer the rind too.
At the same time, only purchase raw oranges.
Those in canned fruit juice or other preservatives are not recommended. They are very high in sugar and the additives can cause digestive upset in your green reptile.
Once you have your oranges, you’ll need to prepare them.
Cut them in quarters, fifths, or even eights.
Take off the rind and chop this up into small pieces.
Take away any pips you encounter and discard them.
From there, you’ll be ready to serve.
Adding the orange to the top of a big leafy green salad is optimal.
Here are some perfect calcium-rich vegetables to consider for this salad:
- Beet greens,
- Collard greens,
- Mustard greens,
- Turnip greens,
- Bok choy,
- Swiss chard,
Throw on the cut-up orange, a segment or two, and some of the rind.
You may even want to throw in a fig or two here as well.
The high calcium content of the fig, paired with the assimilation benefits of the orange is a great way to ensure your Iguana meets their needs for calcium.
Iguanas can eat oranges and in fact, it’s actually one of the fruits you are going to want to include fairly regularly.
Along with other citrus fruits, might I add?
Nevertheless, as they are quite acidic, it does mean you need to feed them in an appropriate amount and manner.
And as is the case with other fruit, they should be viewed and seen as treats and not dietary staples.
They should not be fed every meal or even every day for that matter.
And be sure to rotate oranges with other fruits.
Even then, stick to the 10-15% recommendation for total dietary intake of fruit.
That appears to be best.
Iguanas are primarily herbivorous, specifically folivores, by nature.
So calcium-rich vegetables should always come first.
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.