My son is the proud owner of a Green Iguana, shown in the photos - he named him Elvis.
At the time, we had no idea the amount of care, work and commitment it takes to successfully raise such an exotic pet. Elvis was a gift we were unprepared for, but over time, we have learned to take care of him - he has become a part of our family.
Whether you want to own an Iguana or another exotic species like snakes or other reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders or the furry type like rats or pigs, it is very important to know what you are getting into before you bring one home.
Most exotic pets require special care, may have special dietary needs, housing or health concerns. There may be laws or regulations regarding ownership of exotic pets where you live. This should all be considered.
Full parental support is required to take care of most exotic pets. Most kids, though well meaning, are not capable of the extensive care of such pets. Make sure your parents are behind you 100% before you bring one home.
To give you an idea of what it takes to care for an exotic pet the following is just some of what we do with and for Elvis.
Every morning Elvis requires a special diet of chopped up greens, other vegetables and fruit. A supplement of calcium and vitamins are added to his food. He requires fresh, clean water every day.
Later in day, he may require a 'snack' or a reward of a banana or other sweet fruit.
You must know what foods Elvis can eat - and what foods will make him sick. He cannot miss a day of feeding.
Elvis was only about 8-inches long when we got him. A simple aquarium set up was adequate. However, Elvis has grown to over 4-feet long. He requires a huge cage. As well, being cold blooded he must have adequate heat and lighting for him to survive. He requires a moist environment, a basking area, a bathing area, plenty of climbing sources as well as hiding places. All of this must be cleaned regularly.
Elvis is big. He can't be left cooped up in his cage. He must have a safe, supervised area to explore free of dangers to him and to you. He must be protected from other pets in the house, as well, he is not a toy so can't be exposed to children who do not know how to handle him properly.
Elvis developed an abscess on his lower cheek [you can see his purple stitches in photo]. This minor ailment required costly veterinary attention. Surgery was required as well as strict health care.[Full Story].
Not only is the health of Elvis important, your health must be protected around such exotic animals. Elvis can carry diseases that could be harmful to you. It is very important to maintain a clean environment for Elvis - as well, every time you come in contact with him or his 'stuff' you must wash your hands.
Love and Attention
Some people might think Elvis is just a lizard. We have found that he is much more then that. He has moods. He often appears to have feelings. He loves to have his head rubbed, or fall asleep on your arm or shoulder. Like everyone, Elvis needs love. You can't own an exotic pet and not pay attention to it.
Elvis could potentially be with our family for twenty years - it's a long term commitment but one we wouldn't trade for the world!
While it may sound like I am trying to discourage you from owning an exotic pet I am not. What I am encouraging you to do is find out all you can about the pet you wish to own before you bring one home. Armed with the information it may be easier to convince your parents as well that an exotic pet can make a wonderful addition to the family. You can find our more about Exotic Pets using these online resources.
Sadly, on November 21, 2005, Elvis, the Iguana passed away. He took sick a few days prior and despite receiving Vet care, we could not save him. It is unclear why Elvis died. It is suspected he developed an ear infection that may have spread throughout his body. We'll miss our buddy Elvis.