Iguanas are very interesting lizards that many people love to keep as pets. If you have recently started caring for an iguana, then you probably already know just how cool and fun they can be.
These lizards can really be excellent pets when you know how to care for them. They need to be kept under the right conditions to find success, but many would say that it’s well worth it.
If you’re starting to notice that your iguana is behaving a bit differently as of late, then you might be wondering what’s up. Is your iguana suddenly digging a lot when it didn’t used to?
Read the information below to learn about some of the reasons why iguanas dig. It should help you to figure out why your iguana is digging.
1 – Pregnancy and Breeding Season
There’s a good chance that your iguana digging could be related to pregnancy or breeding season. You see, iguanas will dig holes in order to lay eggs in nature, and an iguana is still going to have the instinct to do this while in captivity.
Pregnant iguanas are also referred to as “gravid” iguanas. An iguana that is gravid will start digging so that it can lay eggs.
Your iguana could be looking for a good spot to lay its eggs. The digging might be an attempt to find the perfect spot to lay the eggs and do what it needs to do.
Female iguanas will often do this during the breeding season. However, it is not possible for your iguana to be pregnant if it’s by itself.
A female iguana might not be able to get pregnant when it’s alone, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t lay eggs. Female iguanas might still lay eggs during the breeding season even though the eggs will be infertile.
You also might not have a female iguana. There are other potential reasons why an iguana might start digging that you should be aware of.
2 – Shedding Skin
Sometimes iguanas will start digging because they’re trying to get help with shedding skin. Iguanas will sometimes experience shedding issues when they’re going through stressful situations.
You might not realize this yet, but iguanas are lizards that can be quite aggressive. They don’t necessarily get used to captivity easily, and sometimes being kept in a cage might cause an iguana to experience stress.
If this causes the iguana to have issues with shedding its skin, then it might start digging. The digging can be an attempt to help with skin shedding issues.
3 – Attempting to Escape
Now that you know that iguanas don’t always take to captivity easily, it’s going to be good to consider whether your iguana is trying to escape. Sometimes iguanas will simply dig because they’re trying to find a way to get out of the enclosure that you’ve placed them in.
Iguanas can get used to being kept as pets, but it might take some time. You will likely notice your iguana digging in an effort to try to get out of its cage or enclosure fairly often.
This happens more often when an iguana is placed in an enclosure that is too small. Iguanas simply won’t like being inside of a cramped enclosure and they will dig excessively to try to get free even if they aren’t ultimately able to escape.
4 – General Confusion
There are times when iguanas will keep digging and trying to get through the enclosure that they’re placed in. This can happen even when an iguana is in a sufficiently large enclosure.
You see, iguanas can’t see reflective surfaces or white surfaces as well as they should. They have trouble seeing such colors and this can cause the iguanas to become confused.
An iguana might keep digging even though it isn’t going to get anywhere. It simply doesn’t realize that it’s looking at a reflective surface and will continue to dig due to the confusion.
How to Tell If an Iguana Is Stressed
It’s going to be good for you to be able to tell when your iguana is stressed. Stress is one of the key factors that will cause an iguana to dig excessively.
You might be able to tell your iguana is stressed if you know what to look for. Stressed iguanas will often change colors a bit and will become darker.
An iguana might start to act aggressively toward you or others if it’s feeling stressed as well. Iguanas have been known to destroy decorations in cages when stressed and they might even choose to waste food.
A stressed iguana might start pooping in spots that it isn’t supposed to in an effort to show you that it isn’t happy with the current situation. Even general lethargy and appetite issues can be signs that your iguana is experiencing stress.
So what can you do to combat iguana stress? Maintaining a consistent routine is usually the key to keeping a pet iguana calm.
Iguanas can become stressed when you’re not home enough or even when you’re home too often. An iguana might need a larger enclosure or it might need to be kept in a quieter spot away from other pets.
Even something as seemingly innocuous as keeping an iguana in a room with bright colors can cause it to become stressed. Iguanas are known to become scared when exposed to colors such as yellow and purple.
It’s also possible that there could be issues with the environment. For example, your iguana might not have an adequate basking spot or there could be heat issues or light issues to deal with.
Try to determine exactly what is causing the stress so that you can help the iguana to feel better. It’ll start acting normally again and you shouldn’t see it digging quite so much if you did things right.
You know more about what can cause an iguana to start digging now. There are many reasons why iguanas will dig while being kept as pets.
Often, this will be related to stress and an iguana’s desire to escape. It can also occur during breeding season because iguanas will want to dig so that they can lay eggs.
Use the information above to figure out what’s going on in your situation. You can then determine how to solve any problems with your iguana so that it can be happier.
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.