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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11071
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My daughter in Laws Iguana has his mouth swelling. He is eating

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My daughter in Laws Iguana has his mouth swelling. He is eating and drinking water. She gave him honeydew the other day. Thank you

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. Some additional information will be helpful.

Did the swelling come up gradually or suddenly?

Is the swelling around th e lips only, or the entire jaw?

Is Little Green Dude drooling at all?

What is his normal diet? Any supplements?

What are the temperatures under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?

What types of lighting and heating equipment does your daughter-in-law have in the cage?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.



not drooling

no supplements romaine, watermelon, cantaloupe. they gave him honeydew the other day and they think that is what started it

cool side is 80 do not know hot side basking side is about 85 - regular lightbulb

they have a heatlamp no solar rocks

Thank you for getting back to me. I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months or years of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Almost everything you have been told is wrong, and i suspect that is why your iguana is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep him healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong. I'm going to give you some measures to take.

The swelling could be due to a number of different conditions, from infection to a reaction to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Honeydew melon should not cause a problem, but the rind should be discarded.More variety in the diet would also be important. Here is a reputable source of information on feeding:

The temperature directly under the basking light should be 90*F to 95*F. The coolest part of the cage should be 80*F. Iguanas need two kinds of light. The basking light provides heat. The UVB light doesn’t get very warm, but provides UVB rays. Without both types, an iguana will eventually get sick and die. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand of UVB light. Full-spectrum, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. The light must produce UVB rays to do any good. UVB bulbs are only good for 6 months, even if they still look fine, because after that amount of time, they don't emit enough UVB rays to keep the iguana healthy. Without UVB light and calcium, an iguana will develop MBD, which can cause swelling around the mouth. It's good to plan on replacing the bulb every 6 months. You should also give him a calcium supplement. The following site has information on choosing supplements:

It wouldn't be bad idea to have the iguana checked by a vet in case he has an infection. This link will take you to a directory:

At the very least, you'll want to adjust the temperatures, get a UVB light, feed more variety, and provide calcium. If you ahve more questions, let em know in a REPLY. I hope Little Green Dude.


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