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Can iguanas eat tomatoes?

Green Iguana and Tomato
Green Iguana vs Tomatoes

Iguanas are herbivorous and eat all sorts of greens, vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes. It is generally considered okay to feed tomatoes to your iguana every now and then, but this food should not be a stable in their diet because they can potentially lead to health complications in large amounts.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, A, antioxidants and fiber, but they lack calcium, they are very acidic and somewhat high in oxalates, which in larger amounts can bind to calcium and further prevent its absorption, which is a big problem in reptiles.

It is therefore recommended to only feed tomatoes to iguanas in moderation. As a rule of thumb, iguanas should have no more than 20% of their diet consisting of fruits, and tomato counts as one.

Why you shouldn’t feed tomatoes to iguanas too often:

  • Tomatoes have low calcium levels, which is essential for healthy bones and development. This means that feeding your iguana with too many tomatoes can lead to calcium deficiency which is not good for your pet.
  • Tomatoes have an undesirable ratio of calcium and phosphorous such that the existence of phosphorous in tomatoes prevents absorption of calcium in the body. This leads to calcium deficiency in your pet lizard or, in the most extreme cases, to metabolic bone disease.
  • Tomatoes are high in oxalates, which are compounds that can bind to calcium and prevent its absorption. This can further exacerbate the issue of calcium deficiency in your iguana and lead to metabolic bone disease, one of the most deadly health conditions in reptiles.
  • Tomatoes are also very acidic, which can irritate your pet’s digestive system. Feeding your iguana a diet that is too acidic can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Tomato plants and tomato leaves

We do not recommend feeding tomato leaves or any other part of the plant to iguanas. Tomatoes are part of the nighshade family which is known to contain high levels of alkaloids in their stems, leaves, flowers and vines.

These are generally considered toxic and should not be fed to reptiles, although iguanas have been observed eating tomato plants in the wild. While some sources may suggest that tomato plants can be safely fed to iguanas in small amounts, it is generally best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding them any part of the plant at all. The risks of toxicity and potential health complications far outweigh any potential nutritional benefits that these plants may offer.

Iguana-friendly Alternatives to Tomatoes

While tomatoes can be a part of an iguana’s diet, they should be fed in moderation due to their low calcium levels and oxalate content. Fortunately, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that can be incorporated into your pet’s diet.

Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and mustard greens are excellent sources of nutrition for your iguana. They are rich in calcium, vitamin A, and fiber, and can be a staple in their diet.

Squash is another great option for your iguana. Butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are all high in fiber and contain important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.

Bell peppers are a delicious and nutritious treat for your iguana. They are high in vitamin C, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Additionally, the bright colors of bell peppers can help add variety to your pet’s diet.

Carrots (and carrot greens) are also a good option for your iguana. They are high in vitamin A, which is important for maintaining healthy skin and eyesight. Carrots are also high in fiber, which can aid in digestion.

Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are also safe for your iguana to consume. These fruits are packed with antioxidants, which can help support your pet’s overall health.

[Iguana Food & Diet]

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