Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) look like miniature dinosaurs. Since dinosaurs are very cool, many people want to own a real, living, mini-dino look-a-like. Even better, unlike many reptiles, it is believed that the green iguana can form a social bond with people.
But how much are green iguanas?
Green iguanas cost 10 – 35 dollars, depending on their age and size. For example, you can sometimes find a baby for as little as $9.99 where a yearling will cost around twenty bucks. However, once they exceed 3-feet long, the price rapidly rises from $35 to as much as $130 for 5-feet.
Green iguanas are generally the cheapest iguanas you can buy. Other breeds can cost substantially more. For example, a baby blue axanthic can easily cost around 80 dollars versus the 10 bucks for a green baby.
But there is more to the price of the iguana than the cost of the reptile. Their setup and care take money.
How Much Are Iguanas?
Green iguanas are the most common iguana, thus only costing 10 – 35 dollars. They are also the most common reptile pet in the United States. Other breeds and exotic lizards can cost significantly more. For example, a baby rhino iguana can easily cost you over 600 dollars. Some of your more exotics could be more than a thousand dollars.
The bigger an iguana, the more they cost. This is due to the amount of care that iguanas require to reach that age and size.
Many pet owners severely underestimate their iguana’s needs. Consequently, a significant number of iguanas don’t make it to their first year. Thus, buying a green iguana yearling costs more than a baby, and once they surpass 3-feet, the price begins to climb rapidly.
Thus, the cheapest way to buy an iguana is to buy it as a baby. However, there are also iguanas that need to be adopted, and this could be a cheaper way to obtain an iguana that has made it to its first year.
Again, it is common for pet-owners to underestimate the time and commitment owning an iguana requires. Overwhelmed, these folks are looking for someone else to adopt the pet. Unfortunately, this leads to people releasing them into the wild. Depending on where you live in the states, the spells the iguana’s doom or feeds into an enormous ecological problem.
How Much to Keep an Iguana?
The cost of buying an iguana is far from the only expense. Iguanas are not an animal you just stick in a tank, toss food and water at them, and then clean the tank once a month. They have many needs, including vets, a temperature-controlled climate, and a very large and mentally stimulating enclosure.
What Type of Enclosure Does a Green Iguana Need?
Baby iguanas can be homed in an aquarium, but this is a short-term solution. Adult green iguanas will end up being at least nearly four feet (1.2 m) and can reach nearly six (1.8 m).
Some iguanas easily shoot past seven feet in length (2.1 m). They also need ramps, shelves, and branches to stay active and mentally stimulated when you can’t give them attention.
Because of iguanas’ needs, most owners have to build or have to build a custom-made dwelling for their iguana. If you can build the enclosure yourself, the cost is just supplies from your local DIY supplier and your time. However, there are iguana owners out there who have paid over 4,000 dollars.
Some Catio Cages or Condo-style Paw Huts are around 55.6 x 34.6 x 71 or larger, with platforms already provided that only cost 250 – 450 bucks. They will still require modifications for the ramps, branches, climbing ropes, and other necessities to be suitable for an iguana. They are a base to begin with, not the full solution. So budget another 40 – 100 bucks for the “furniture.”
To see an excellent example of an iguana enclosure, you can click here.
However, this simpler design will work for a green iguana. But as you’ll see in this video, the iguana-safe plants and “hiding spots” had not been added yet. The animals will get stressed without places to hide. This is similar to many fish breeds that will not do well without places to chill.
What Type of Heat, Light, and Humanity Do Iguanas Need?
Unfortunately, most US homes do not have the indoor (or outdoor) climate of these rain forests. Thus, you have to provide it artificially.
A 20 dollar “heated rock” and a UVA/UVB light (20 – 30 bucks) might be enough when the iguana is a baby. But their needs increase with their size.
If you are invested in having a green iguana that beats the odds and lives beyond its first year, its climate is crucial. They can’t even digest their food if they are too cold.
Ideally, your green iguana wants to hang out in 95 F (35 C). However, it needs to be at least 85 F (29.4 C) to digest its food. It is going to struggle to thrive at anything under 75 F (23.8 C). Additionally, they need lots of light, not just heat. So the bigger the enclosure, the more lights you will have to provide.
Budget between 20 – 30 dollars for your lights. The bulbs practically cost the same as the lamp. A reptile humidifier is going to easily cost 50 bucks.
Heating pads are generally as inexpensive as a heating rock, 20 dollars. But once they’ve outgrown their aquarium, they are going to need a proper heating system, which could easily exceed a hundred dollars.
Do be warned, heated rocks and pads have burned some iguanas, so buy one with temperature control and use them with care. The vet bill for such an accident will exceed over a thousand dollars.
This is also why it is often encouraged to properly control the iguana’s enclosure rather than make it huddle on a rock to stay warm.
Lastly, remember this will all use electricity.
Other Iguana Costs
Finally, you’ll need to budget for food and the vet. Iguanas have special needs, and require plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. This can cost as much as 90 dollars a month.
Vet costs can range from 40 – 80 dollars, depending on the area. But if the iguana is ill or suffered a tummy burn (a very common injury), you might be treated to a bill well over a thousand.
The green iguana is a popular pet choice, and the initial cost of buying one is fairly inexpensive, only 10 – 35 dollars. But the monthly costs and the expense of the enclosure can be significant, so take these needs into consideration.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.