Iguana rubbed a spike off - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-22-2007, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Iguana rubbed a spike off

Before Christmas, our iguana started to get extremely restless. He was constantly trying to escape the cage (rubbing his face on the plexiglass trying to find a hole). It seemed to irritate his snout a bit but never any bleeding or anything like that. We constantly monitor the temperature and humidity and they are fine, so it's not that. He got a checkup to make sure he wasn't sick and everything seems fine (although the vet isn't especially iguana savvy so he can't really tell us psychological things that could be going on). We thought he might be bored with his cage so we completely overhauled it. It worked and he seems pretty happy lately. Yesterday he briefly walked along the plexiglass rubbing his face but only for a minute. Today I got home from school and one of the spikes on his snout are gone! There is no bleeding at all and it looks like there really wasn't ever one there (it looks like it healed almost before coming off). I think it was from the face rubbing and it just gradually sort of grew off. The other one looks irritated and I fear that it will be next. I'm quite sad about this I mean, a piece of him is gone and it was a distinctive part of his looks. Is there any chance of it growing back? Also, does anyone have any ideas why he could be trying to escape so much? His cage is enormous (as in big enough for several adults to fit in) and full of things to climb and explore. He has a water pool big enough for him to soak in and lots of good food to eat. The cage frame is made of PVC pipe and has plexiglass walls (it is almost ceiling height, but the top is mesh, not enclosed). He's got two heat lights (one white light, one red light for night time) and a long UV light. I just don't know what else I can do for him. He seems less restless now that his cage has been changed but he's obviously been doing some face rubbing for that spike to come off.

*sigh* I wish I knew what was wrong. If it helps, he's 2 years old (approximately, we're not sure how old he was when we got him). We're fairly sure that he's male. Could it be a mating thing? Thanks for any help you guys might have!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-22-2007, 09:46 PM
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I just got a baby iguana, but have been doing a lot of reading, i have the ultamite owners manual for the green iguana, and it could be a mating thing, is he acting more agressive? how long has he had his plexi glass cage? have you changed what he can see through the plexy glass and could be deturmained to get to it? did you used to take him out alot more and spend more time with him than resently? if you arent possitive its a male i would try to give it a nesting box just to make sure its not that, maybe shes looking for a spot for eggs... worth a try


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2007, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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He's been in this cage for about a year now. Before that, he was in a cage that he could see out as well. Nothing has changed in terms of how often he comes out of the cage. He's still being tamed, so we try to handle him often (he loves to be petted but still resists being held or carried anywhere). He doesn't seem much more aggressive but I notice that he has been more prone to threatening to whip than before. He hasn't whipped since he was a baby but every now and then when we put our hand in, he'll pull his tail back and look threatening like he's gonna whip us (he hasn't though and as soon as we touch him, he settles down). We're almost 100% sure he's a male but I suppose there is a possibility it could be female. He has a hiding box in his enclosure but there's not really any nesting materials or anything in it (just a spot to hide). I'll stick some in and see what happens.

I just feel like a bad iguana owner because this is something you tend to see with abused iguanas (who aren't living in the proper environment so they try desperately to get out). I just wish I could figure it out. This is a fairly recent behavior (since a little before Christmas), he's never done it before. He also lost his appetite for awhile during the peak of his "escaping days" but he's back to eating like a little piggy. Hmm.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2007, 01:35 PM
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Female iguanas need a place to dig down into loose soil to lay eggs, not just a nest box like a bird. Sometimes it has to be fairly deep for it to be suitable to them. What I ended up doing for my iguana is getting a really large cat box and filling it up to the entrance hole with a mix of organic peat and play sand, and put a heat pad under it. She dug down to the very bottom corner, right where the heat pad was, to lay her eggs. They can reach maturity and start laying eggs anywhere from two to four years of age. If she does have eggs, you should be able to feel them in her - quite often you can actually see obvious lumps on the outside.

Males go "into season" randomly in captivity, and that can lead to a remarkable change in their personalities and activity level as they prowl for a mate. For this, I've seen people use a green stuffed iguana-looking animal as something for him to dominate. It may sound silly, but you'd be amazed at their need to control their territory. They are not really solitary animals in the wild, each male will control an area around several females and protect his territory from rival males. Just make sure the stuffy doesn't have any eyes or projecting/loose parts that can easily be bitten off and accidentally swallowed, as they can be pretty rough sometimes. I've been considering this method for my male, who has the run of my house, but has been in the prowl lately and is finding his way into places he's never gone before.

Really though, iguanas are rather active animals and don't understand the point of a cage. They see a whole room outside of it, and want to go there and are not easily deterred even if there is nothing wrong with their enclosure. Things like pacing and nose rubbing can become like a nervous habit.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2007, 10:42 PM
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Here are a few questions for you:

Do you know what sex your iguana is?
Has your iguana become brighter in color?(such as orange-ish)
How long do handle your iguana a day?

The first two questions are for breeding behavior tissues. The last one however is on how much you pay attention to your iguana. Also it could be as simple as the "winter blues" mine get this way every year around this time. Very active and and constantly trying to find a way out to roam. If this the case I would suggest taking your iguana out more until winter is over then go back to your normal schedule with your iguana. I'll give you more info on breeding behavior once I know your problem for sure.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2007, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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We aren't 100% sure what the sex of the iguana is. We took him in to be sexed a few months ago and they said he was too young to know for sure but appeared to be male.

His color has actually become a little more dull lately. Just not as vibrant green as before, but I assumed that it's just him growing up and losing his baby color. No orange color though.

I probably handle him for 30 minutes a day. He's not tame enough to come out and just roam around because he tends to get into places he shouldn't be but we do pet him often and take him out to walk around in our arms for about 30 minutes. He really loves to be petted but not so much to be picked up. We're trying to get him to enjoy baths but so far, no luck, lol. I really would like him to eventually have some supervised free roaming times.

He's been extremely active the past few days and exploring every corner of his enclosure; it's like he has endless energy.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 12:34 AM
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Is everything ok?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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He's still just a ball of energy, trying to get out. Some days he's more back to normal but some days he just never stops.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 01:06 PM
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Oh good .
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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I'm beginning to see some orange color develop on him so I'm thinking it's a breeding season thing. His dewlap, legs, and spikes all look vaguely orange (not bright but definitely not his normal color). Hmm.
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breeding season, lay eggs, nest box, nesting material

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