Don't worry about typos - we all make them.
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 of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Some of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why Izzy is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep her healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong. Your instincts about force feeding are good. It is not a good idea unless a vet has advised it and demonstrated how to do it. It's very easy for food to be aspirated into the lungs, which is life threatening. There's a reason she won't eat, and we'll get to that shortly.
Right now, I’ll start with a first aid measure to take as soon as possible.Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Izzy for about 20 to 30 minutes. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their skin and vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely to keep her from escaping.
I'll be back with more.
There are several reasons why Izzy may not be eating. Since she was wild caught,she is probably extremely stressed by being in captivity. I wish stores would not sell wild-caught lizards because they often can't adjust to living in what is, for them, a tiny cage. That is probably also the reason Izzy is trying to escape. Because she hasn't been eating and is stressed, she is probably dehydrated. The soak I described above will help with that.
Next, she is cold. 80*F is fine on the cool side, but right under the basking light, it should be 105*F to 110*F. A cold lizard will not eat. The wide temperature gradient is important so she can choose where she is most comfortable at any given time. It's very important to have a thermometer on each side because proper temperatures are crucial.
You can increase the basking temperature by using a higher wattage bulb in the basking light fixture, lowering t he fixture itself (but not so low that he can be burned on it), or by adding a second fixture. If you need a second fixture, you don't have to buy something expensive from a pet store.If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a clip-on metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Hardware and home improvement stores sell similar light fixtures as work lights. At night, the temperature can be allowed to fall into the upper 70's throughout the cage.
I'll post this so you'll have more to read while i continue typing. Then, I'll be back.
Yes, do the first aid for both of them. Unfortunately desert iguanas, especially wild caught ones, are not a good first lizard. Their care and the conditions they require have to be optimal. They need a very large cage for their size. This may be another reason Izzy is trying to escape and injuring her tail. It is also very difficult to determine their sex. If it turns out both are males, they will fight viciously as they get older. It is recommended that one desert iguana be housed in a 100 gallon tank. Smaller will be ok for babies. but will increase the chances for the kind of injury Izzy is suffering from.
First aid for the wound will be next.
You're very welcome, and thank you for your honesty. What your friend did was illegal, and keeping them is also illegal. Of course, I am not going to report you, but I wanted you to be informed. If you decide it would be better not to keep them, a good option would be to turn them over to a wildlife rehabilitator. If you want to consider that, I can look for some if you give me your state. If you want to read about the laws, here is a good site:
Now for the wound: Clean it with Betadine, which is sold in the first aid departments of discount stores and pharmacies. Follow that with a light application of plain Neosporin . Repeat the Neosporin twice per day. While it's best to have desert iguanas on a substrate of play sand mixed with small pebbles, that is going to stick in the wound. Until the wound heals, you can keep Izzy on plain paper towels.
These igaunas need a huge variety of foods : collards, mustards, dandelions, escarole, parsley, grasses (pesticide free!), shredded green and orange vegetables, soft fruits, flowers such as hibiscus, roses, dandelions, nasturtium, geranium (leaves and flower heads). Cactus pads (trimmed), creosote flowers if you can get them, and prickly pear. Supplement with a calcium supplement a few times a week. After they have each had a soak, and have been warm for a day, try offering some of these foods. Without variety, they will die of malnutrition.
We aren't finished yet.
I want to give you as much information as possible. Double check your UVB light to make sure it is truly UVB. Pet stores often sell the wrong type. If you're not sure, turn the light off and let it cool. Then you can read the information on the bulb itself. If you send me that, I can tell you if it's adequate. I do recommend the Reptisun 10.0. UVB is extremely important for desert species. The lights should be left on for 14 hours per day. The bulbs should be replaced every six months. They still look fine after that, but are only emitting visible light - not UVB- at that point.
The iguanas will also need a hide - one on the warm side and one on the cool side. These are sold in pet stores or you can make them. They are like little caves. I also want to give you a link to a reptile vet directory. If infection should develop in Izzy's tail, you won't be able to help her at home.
When we keep lizards, it's not unusual to have to drive quite a ways to find a vet. I have a two hour drive myself. It's a good idea to locate the nearest one before you actually need one.
I think I have covered the important information. If you have more concerns, just let me know. I'm glad to help. I hope the iguanas will thrive for you.
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