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.
Can iguanas have tomatoes?
Yes, iguanas can safely consume tomatoes, but they should only be fed in moderation. Tomatoes are not the most nutritious food for iguanas and should not be a staple in their diet. While they may enjoy the taste of tomatoes, it is important to offer them a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods.
Tomatoes are high in oxalates, which can bind to calcium and prevent its absorption in the body. This can lead to calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease in iguanas, which can be life-threatening. Tomatoes are also very acidic, which can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting if fed in excess.
To ensure the health of your iguana, it is recommended to only feed tomatoes occasionally and in small amounts.
Can iguanas eat tomato leaves?
It is not recommended to feed iguanas with tomato leaves regularly, despite the fact that iguanas may eat tomato plants in the wild. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and contain alkaloids in their stems, leaves, flowers, and vines, which are toxic and can cause health complications in reptiles.
The toxic alkaloids in tomato leaves can lead to gastrointestinal issues, liver damage, and even death in iguanas. If your iguana has accidentally ingested tomato leaves, monitor them closely for any signs of illness, such as vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary care.
Are tomatoes healthy for iguanas?
While tomatoes are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, they are not the most nutritious food for iguanas. Tomatoes lack calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and development, and have an undesirable calcium to phosphorus ratio, which can prevent the absorption of calcium in the body.
Feeding too many tomatoes to iguanas can lead to calcium deficiency, metabolic bone disease, and other health complications. It is recommended to offer better alternatives to tomatoes that are more nutritious and balanced for your iguana’s diet.
Some good options to feed pet iguanas more often include leafy greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens, as well as fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
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[Green Iguana Care Sheet][Iguana Food & Diet]
PetsWithScales.com is an informational website about big lizard pet care. We collect and provide information from different sources across the web on how to keep and care for reptiles as pets. The species we mainly deal with are tegus, monitor lizards, skinks and geckos. Our aim is to provide high quality information to help pet owners make better, more informed decisions about their animal’s diets, health and life.