How to Give Your Iguana a Bath

Part of the Iguanas For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Iguanas don't clean or groom themselves. Iguanas in the wild brush against rough bark and plunge into water to remove dirt and parasites. Because a captive iguana probably doesn't have bark to rub against or a body of water to dive into, it's up to you to keep him clean but "bathing" your iguana doesn't mean using soap on him or in the water. Keep your iguana clean by following these steps:

  1. Run the water until it's chest deep (the iguana's, not yours!) at the deep end where the drain is.

    This depth makes the water about iguana-hip deep at the shallow end. If your iguana isn't used to bathing, put less water in the tub.

  2. Let him soak to his heart's content.

    If you leave your iguana in the tub long enough for the water to start cooling off (a good bath temperature for iguanas is 85–90 degrees Fahrenheit [29–32 degrees Celsius]), run more warm water into the tub, draining off a little of the cool water.

    The noise of running water can be quite loud in a tub/shower enclosure. If your iguana gets stressed by this noise, fill a pitcher with warm water at the sink and pour it gently into the tub.

  3. When he's done soaking, blot him off to remove the drips and send him on his way.

  4. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the tub.

    If any individuals in your household are at high risk for contracting bacterial infections, have your iguana use a different bathroom than the at-risk family members use. Even if you take precautions to thoroughly clean and disinfect the tub, walls, and floor, accidents and distractions can and do happen.

Daily baths are good for iguanas because they soak, which is good for their skin and because of the higher humidity, they're inhaling air that has more moisture in it. Another benefit is that many iguanas drink deeply when their bodies are in water. But perhaps the most popular reason iguana keepers bathe their iguanas daily is that most iguanas poop when they're in water. Keeping the enclosure clean is very easy because it's a lot easier to drain the bathtub, thoroughly rinse off the iguana, wash the bathtub out, and then disinfect it before the next use by human or iguana.

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