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Heating   and   Lighting

A few things that are needed for any iguana to survive are heat and light. During the day maintaining 85-90 degrees in the enclosure and at night maintaining an average of 75 degrees is nessecary for iguana health. There also needs to be a warm side and a cool side to the enclosure because reptiles thermo-regulate. The need to be able to pass from hot to warm to properly digest. How is that done? Well many places will suggest hot rocks. Unfortunately this couldnt be farther from the best suggestion. Reptiles register and abosorb heat from above them not below. I have heard countless stories of reptiles laying on hot rocks until they literally burn their flesh off. They do not register the heat until it is too late. Hot rocks also have been known to short out because of cracks on the rock. These are electrical appliances being put into an environment that is very humid with water close by and an animal with very long sharp claws. All ingredients for disaster. To see what a hot rock will do, check out Nikki's photos in the photo section.

So I just ruined the most common way pet stores tell you to heat the enclosure. NOW WHAT! Well human heating pads on the bottom of the enclosure under the substrate work well. Set on low they maintain a level warmness on the bottom of the enclosure. They are also required to follow certain safety regulations that reptile products are not. For all over heating, I prefer to use a regular run of the mill 100 watt lightbulb. I put it in a domed light casing with a CERAMIC base. The plastic bases will melt. Ceramic based domed lights can be found in hardware departments. One thing you will learn is that most often thing sold specifically for a reptile will be 10 times more expensive than the regular version you can find in a hardware store. Some people also use CHE or ceramic heating elements. These should be mounted off the top of the enclosure and away from anything it could burn. Once again, use the ceramic based dome light. This product will melt the plastic ones. CHEs can be purchased at most pet stores, but check the online suppliers and the catalogs. They are often cheaper through there.

Proper lighting is a whole new ballgame. There are so many products listed as UV Bulbs on the market it can make your head spin. What kind should you use? The flouresant lightbulbs are the only ones that can offer full spectrum. This means UV-A and UV-B. Iguanas need both to properly process their food, create internally vitamin D3 and properly produce calcium. You can do just fine with a hardware store version of a floresant lightbulb holder. No need to spend $50.00 on the ones sold in pet stores. These should be mounted within no more than 18 inches from the basking area. The closer to the ig, the more uv gets through. It should also not be mounted over glass or plastic. UV can not penetrate glass or plastic so all would be lost.

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