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Can iguanas eat spinach?

Spinach is a controversial topic when it comes to lizards in general and iguanas specifically.

Generally speaking, spinach is considered healthy but unfortunately it can be harmful for reptiles in large amounts so you should only feed it to your iguana in small amounts or avoid it altogether to be on the safe side.

Green Iguana and Spinach
Green Iguana vs Spinach

Despite being a dark leafy green packed with nutrition, spinach has an extremely high content of oxalates which may bind to calcium and prevent it from being properly absorbed when consumed in large quantities.

Calcium deficiency can lead to a variety of undesirable health conditions from tail rot to metabolic bone disease which is potentially lethal for lizards, and that’s why many iguana owners prefer not to feed spinach to their pets.

One cup of raw spinach can contain 700-800 milligrams of oxalates, which is way too high for safe consumption by tegu lizards. Same goes for baby spinach.

In a few words: no, it is not recommended to feed iguanas spinach in any amounts.

Why you shouldn’t feed spinach to your iguana

  • Spinach contains insane amounts of oxalates, a compound that can prevent calcium absorption. Consuming spinach regularly may lead your iguana to experience calcium deficiency or, in the worst case, metabolic bone disease, which is potentially lethal to reptiles.
  • Spinach has been found to contain high levels of nitrates, which can be toxic for iguanas in large amounts. High levels of nitrates can lead to symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, and even death. Iguanas are particularly susceptible to nitrate poisoning because they have a slower metabolism compared to other animals.
  • Spinach is also high in potassium, which is not necessarily harmful to iguanas in moderation, but excessive amounts can lead to hyperkalemia, a condition that can cause muscle weakness, cardiac issues, and even death.
  • Spinach has a low fiber content relative to other greens, which can lead to digestive issues such as constipation in iguanas. Iguanas need a high-fiber diet to maintain healthy digestion, and a lack of fiber can also lead to obesity and other health problems.

Better Alternatives to Spinach for Your Iguana

When it comes to feeding your iguana, it’s important to offer a varied diet that meets their nutritional needs. While spinach may seem like a healthy choice, the high levels of oxalates and other compounds make it an unsuitable food for your pet. Instead, consider offering leafy greens with lower oxalate content such as collard greens, mustard greens, or turnip greens.

Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of nutrition for pet iguanas and should be a staple in their diet. These greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, which is crucial for healthy bone development. Some of the best leafy greens for iguanas include kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, and mustard greens.

Kale, for instance, is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, and iron. Collard greens are also a great source of calcium and vitamins A and C, while dandelion greens are high in fiber, vitamin A, and calcium. Mustard greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and fiber.

[Green Iguana Care Sheet][Iguana Food & Diet]

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