What to Use for Iguana Bedding
The green iguana (Iguana iguana) can grow to 5 feet long with the proper care. These lizards need large enclosures with plenty of climbing perches and the correct substrate. Avoid particulate substrates, like sand, gravel, bark chips and coconut husk, which are easy for the lizard to ingest as it eats. These materials can cause digestive impaction and potentially death. Instead, use an easy-to-clean or easy-to-change substrate to keep your iguana healthy.
Newspaper is a relatively inexpensive, safe material that's easy to dispose of when it gets soiled. Change newspaper bedding frequently. The printing on the newspaper can be unattractive, however. Herp Center Network website recommends buying end rolls from local newspaper printers. This unprinted paper is cheap and looks better than ordinary newspaper.
Paper towels are similar to newspaper, but more absorbent. Place a layer or two of paper towels in the iguana's preferred elimination area, and remove them whenever they get dirty.
Large ceramic tile can be mounted permanently to the cage floor or just placed inside. This material is easy to clean using a nontoxic disinfectant. Wipe up any mess, or run the tiles through the dishwasher to sanitize them.
Vinyl flooring tiles or sheets are easy to clean and inexpensive to install. This flooring must be permanently installed in the bottom of the iguana's cage and caulked into place to keep moisture from getting underneath. Vinyl flooring can be purchased in attractive colors and patterns, but is tricky to replace if it gets damaged.
Large stones can be expensive, but work well in cages with natural décor. Choose large, smooth river stones too small for the iguana to swallow. Place them over black plastic, and spot clean as needed. Periodically, remove the stones entirely and disinfect them.
Reptile carpeting, also called indoor/outdoor carpet, is relatively attractive and affordable in small enclosures. It can be costly in larger cages, however. Sanitize reptile carpet periodically by running it through the washing machine on a hot cycle. Use two pieces, so the iguana has bedding while the first carpet is being cleaned. Hem the edge of all carpeting to reduce the risk of the lizard getting caught on stray threads.
G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.
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