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Pet iguana

Posts: 2
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Topic starter

Hi everyone! I'm a newbie here and I was wondering if anyone has a pet iguana? Maybe brought with their move or tamed a wild one....

Posted : October 2, 2016 12:04 pm
Posts: 2596
Famed Member

My son found two just hatched baby iguanas about 4 years ago that I allowed him to keep in a terrarium. I am not a fan of keeping wild animals captive but I knew that those two little guys would probably not survive due to our feral cat population, our own cats and the mongoose dem. My rule is that if he keeps a wild creature he must research and recreate its natural habitat as closely as possible and if it shows signs of distress it is released.

He kept the iguanas for about 6 months and we needed to leave the island for a few months so we released them in our yard. We believe that the two juvenile iguanas living in our yard are the same two we released 3 and a half years ago. They are not pets but they will eat food out of my sons hands. They love hibiscus flowers and bougainvillea leaves as well as grass.

He also has a hermit crab habitat and two saltwater aquariums. He brings home crabs whose shells are too small and provides them with bigger shells. He feeds them vitamins and really good food then releases them, usually in about two weeks.

He has a 55 gallon aquarium and a smaller one. He often changes his tank to reflect the type of fish he has. In his smaller tank he has newly hatched octopus and tiny shrimp. His large tank is a reef tank and he has many things that represent a reef ecosystem. He studies these fish, algae, all different sea grasses and the creatures who life there. His next project is a tide pool.

Sorry, that was way more information than you asked for.


Posted : October 3, 2016 12:41 am
Posts: 2
New Member
Topic starter

-- moved topic --

Posted : October 4, 2016 3:02 am
Posts: 3030

Hello Scubassage,

Welcome to the message board.

Answering your specific question... pet iguana... nope and don't know anyone that has one.

If you were bringing one from the states... you are likely to need a permit if it is allowed at all. You would need to call the Dept of Agriculture to check on whether you could bring one in.

As far as taking one on island and taming it like you asked about: that is prohibited. Iguanas are protected under the V.I. Indigenous and Endangered Species Act. They are given additional protection under the Agoutis and Iguana Act that prohibits the taking, wounding or killing of any iguana.

Here's a Fish and Wildlife press release about protecting Caribbean iguanas:

And some general comments: On St. Thomas, if you live pretty much in any area outside of the main commercial areas, you will have iguanas in your yard. Particularly on the northside of the island. More trees, plants, flowers and fruit trees around the property the more iguanas there will be. For some... if not many... the iguanas are a nuisance, eating plants, vegetable gardens etc, and pooping on patios and decks. At some hotels the iguanas were/are fed lettuce and scraps from the restaurant for the amusement of guests... however iguanas can be aggressive when looking for handouts once they get used to it. So the flip side of that is some hotels ended up with a problem of iguanas going right up to guests eating at tables in outdoor dining areas.

Anyway, no shortage of iguanas on St. Thomas, so if you like them, rent an apartment with lots of trees around and flowers - particularly hibiscus.

PS: Even if it were allowed, if you are renting an apartment its very unlikely your landlord would be OK with an iguana living inside the house or having you construct a large enclosure on their property to keep it outside.

Posted : October 4, 2016 3:40 am
Posts: 2534
Famed Member

Yes, we did. Used a harness when taking them in public. Had a huge cage for then.

Posted : October 4, 2016 7:39 am
Posts: 1016
Noble Member

Soon I'll begin my Iguana round-up, usually right after Halloween. I'll gather up 8 or 9 of them, corral them, then herd them into individual stalls. At that point, the training and special food regimen begins.
My vertically challenged employees will begin running them through a very vigorous physical fitness program. Their usual diet of fruits and hibiscus flowers are faded out and locally grown pixie leaves are begun. After a few weeks, their corrals are no longer any good, and they are moved to a massive outdoor cage of about 4000sqft, with a ceiling hight of about 30'. Once flight training is complete, they're fitted for harnesses, and then comes the advanced sleigh training. It's a modified sled of course, with rolder blade wheels mounted to its runners. It's usually late December by the time everything comes together.
On a very special night, I put on my best red and white Hawaiian print shirt with matching shorts, hop in the sleigh, then give a rousing "Ho, Ho, Ho" and away we go. It's not an easy task covering all the USVI in one night, spreading joy and rum to everyone, but it's a job, that just needs to be done.
Upon completion the harnesses are cut, and away they fly, free and unharmed. So the next time you see Iggy, high in a tree, and you wonder, how did they get so high, remember my story and you'll know why.
Good morning, afternoon, and evening, have a very merry day,
St Cruzan

Posted : October 4, 2016 9:41 am
Posts: 12366
Illustrious Member

Good one, singlefin!

If someone is considering keeping an iguana as a pet, they should research, carefully, the care and dedication they will require.
It takes work plus there are diseases one can acquire from iguanas.
Are you prepared to be constantly cleaning up lizard poop and pee?
Are you going to keep it in a tiny cage for the rest of its life?

Additionally, they can acquire diseases from being in captivity.

Me, I prefer, Iggie and his brethren, wild and free, chomping on the hibiscus in the yard and the Poor Man's Orchids on the top of my trees.

I was glad to read Islander's post.


"As far as taking one on island and taming it like you asked about: that is prohibited. Iguanas are protected under the V.I. Indigenous and Endangered Species Act. They are given additional protection under the Agoutis and Iguana Act that prohibits the taking, wounding or killing of any iguana.

Here's a Fish and Wildlife press release about protecting Caribbean iguanas: [] "

Posted : October 4, 2016 10:39 am
Posts: 351
Reputable Member

If you live on STX go over to Pickled Greek and talk to Papi, he has TONS of them behind the place that he watches after

Posted : October 4, 2016 12:44 pm
Posts: 75
Trusted Member

In the FWS release, however, it makes a distinction between the native iguana populations and the invasive green iguanas we have here. "Other significant threats include ... and competition and interbreeding with the introduced, invasive common green iguana."

Do we have other large Iguanas here?,%20ord,%20subord,%20family,%20species&vw=y&dd=n&mob=y thinks not, just the little guys, skinks and anoles and geckos...

I'm still in this camp:

Posted : October 4, 2016 1:38 pm
Posts: 3030

Following up on my earlier post, and the subsequent replies... we decided to email Reptile Ecologist/Wildlife Biologist here in the VI, Dr. Platenberg. She corrected a couple things... like the Agouti and Iguana Act was repealed... and added some general information on permits etc. Here is her reply:

"If you were to bring a pet from the states that is not a dog or cat, it needs to have an importation permit from DPNR Fish & Wildlife. They are reluctant to issue permits for reptiles, so don't be surprised if your request is declined. The iguanas found in the USVI are all green iguanas (Iguana iguana), which are believed to have been introduced to the islands either from South America by pre-Colombian peoples, or more recently as a result of the pet trade (or both!). There are native iguanas in the BVI (Cyclura pinguis or Anegada Stout Iguana), these are globally protected and you would certainly not be allowed to keep one (and good luck finding one!). But the local green iguanas wouldn't be a problem. They are no longer protected under the Agouti and Iguana Act, which has been repealed, although you should request a retention permit from DPNR. They don't make the best pets, though, and you might consider training wild ones to come feed on your deck rather than trying to keep one captive."

Posted : October 4, 2016 7:47 pm
Posts: 12366
Illustrious Member


Posted : October 4, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 2437
Noble Member

We have a few residents that could pass for small alligators on Halloween coming up.

Posted : October 4, 2016 10:58 pm
Posts: 2294
Noble Member

TERRIBLE pets!! Oh man I had one for (I think) about 8 years, I was young. He was SOOO cute when he was small - same species as we have here - but this was in the states. When he outgrew his glass tank - which was a 75 gallon - we built this amazing enclosure for him. It was 7ft tall and 3ft wide and about 4 feet deep. It had live bromeliads, a fogger/humidifier a large waterfall and a giant dead tree with his heat lamps and stuff all at the top. The front was plexi and the sides were all screen. It was amazing! Then we put him in there. All was fine for about a month and then he turned. He was fully grown at this time - about 5ft from what I can remember. He became SO AGGRESSIVE we couldn't get into the cage without WELDING gloves. He broke his own tail several times whipping at us spot hard when we would try to feed him or clean the cage. We called a dozen vets to see what was up - took him in to make sure he wasn't sick and they just said that they all get aggressive when older. Basically said that they should outlaw selling them in pet stores because this is how they always end up. They also told us to our surprise MAX - was a female. So Maxina it was. Also when they get that size their poop is SO GROSS. They crap in their water usually and let me tell you that is something I will never forget. That smell. Something of dead animal, covered in burnt hair with a side of rotten fruit. I mean it is NASTY. Sure its all good when they're small and manageable but these animals IMO should NEVER be pets. They also can carry salmonella, have pretty sharp teeth but that tail is like bull whip! I do remember once, Maxina grabbing me by my thumb and doing a death roll of sorts - ripping much of the tip of my thumb off, requiring a couple painful shots. Luckily it healed fine lol. We donated her to the local zoo when I had to move after mom my passed. Im sure she had a great full life but she was a real A - hole. Judging by the ones I encounter here on the beaches - they're all A - holes lol. They also do require a lot of care. They need special lights, heat - but not too hot, a wide variety of foods and usually calcium supplements and you have to make sure they shed properly and don't get skin infections. Also trimming nails and such is a REAL challenge when they get huge. We would walk Maxina on the tennis court to grind her nails down. She always had to be on a leash when she got full grown or she would bolt. Its really a shame she was so cool when under about 3 ft. She went everywhere with us.

So basically WORST PETS EVER lol. A good lizard pet is a bearded dragon. They are very trainable, friendly and stay small although same care associated.

Posted : October 6, 2016 7:06 pm
Posts: 12366
Illustrious Member

If anything wants a pet, there are hundreds of beautiful, dogs, cats, puppies and kittens that need loving homes available at all our island's shelters.

Posted : October 6, 2016 7:42 pm
Posts: 955
Prominent Member

Back in the mid 60's, while living at Blue Beards Castle Hotel, I would catch several at a time, keep them in a aquarium for a few days and then I would sell them to the tourist who either stayed at the hotel or were off the cruise ships. I did this for about 6 months until someone lost their lizard or realized they couldn't leave the Island with them and made a complaint to the front deck at Blue Beards. My step dad (who was head of maintenance at the time found out it was ME and commenced to jumping all over me about it and said it was illegal to do this and to STOP IT!...... I did.

But yet when the hotels pet Iguana would get into the pool and run the tourist out of it, they would call me to come and get him (I called him Old Blue) out of of the pool because I was the only one who could handle him. He was and old one and was a good 5-6 foot. I would then take him to the Castle area and release him up in a big mango tree.


Posted : January 2, 2017 2:06 pm
Posts: 2937
Famed Member

If you live on STX go over to Pickled Greek and talk to Papi, he has TONS of them behind the place that he watches after

The Pickled Greek is closed and for sale. The iguanas may still be there, but Papi isn't.

Posted : January 3, 2017 11:07 am
Posts: 330
Reputable Member

I don't believe the airlines will let you travel with a pet iguana.

Posted : January 5, 2017 11:42 am
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

All you have to do is register your iguana as an emotional support animal...

Posted : January 5, 2017 8:50 pm
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