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Nutrition Through the Life Cycle

Growth of Juvenile Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) Fed Four Diets1
SUSAN DOHOGHÃœE2 nutrition Support Services, Inc., Pembroke, VA 24136 Several commercial diets are marketed for juvenile iguanas. Label-guaranteed analyses for these products indicate a wide range of nutrient contents. The pur pose of this study was to compare growth in juvenile green iguanas fedthree commercial diets and a ro maine-based diet.
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ABSTRACT Wild green ¡guanas onsume a primarily c folivorous diet. As pets in captivity, they suffer high mortality and malnutrition. Nutrient requirements are not established. The purpose of this study was to com pare growth in juvenile iguanas fed three commercial diets and aromaine-based diet. Twelve nominally 4wk-old iguanas were fed in a latin square design each of four diets for 8 wk, consisting of a 2-wk accom modation period and a 6-wk collection period. Diets were analyzed at the beginning and end of the study. Food consumption was measured daily; body weights and lengths were measured weekly. For Diets A, B, C and D mean body weight gains were —3,6,31 and 60% in 6 wk,respectively. Gain in body weight and snoutvent length increased linearly with dietary protein and fiber and with dry matter intake. The data suggest that growth in pet green iguanas may achieve rates for farmed and wild green iguanas when diets are palatable and contain adequate protein and fiber. J. Nutr. 124: 2626S-2629S, 1994.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Twelve imported greeniguanas ~4-wk-old were purchased from a commercial reptile supplier (Glades Herp, North Ft. Myers, FL).The iguanas were housed individually in 40-1 glass tanks with screen tops. Each tank was provided with bedding of chopped 2-y-old meadow hay, a water bowl large enough for soaking and a tree branch for climbing. The lizards were main tained under full-spectrum lamps in a room that av eraged a13/11 light-dark cycle with temperature gra dients of 24-35°Cday and 18-27°Cnight. The 12 iguanas were placed randomly into four groups of three. The latin square design had four diets (A, B, C and D), four periods and four groups of three iguanas. Each 8-wk period consisted of 2-wk accom modation periods followed by 6-wk collection. During the 2-wk accommodation periods each an imal was fedinitially a 1:1 mixture of Diet D and its next experimental diet. The proportion of the latter was gradually increased so that the animal was adapted to the next diet by the beginning of the 6-wk collection period. Food was offered at 0800 each morning in weighed amounts greater than daily consumption. Remaining food was collected after 24 h (i.e., at 0800 the next
1Presented as part of the WalthamSymposium on the Nutrition of Companion Animals in association with the 15th International Congress of Nutrition at Adelaide, SA, Australia, on September 2325, 1993. Guest editors for this symposium were Kay Earle, John Mercer and D'Ann Finley. 2To whom correspondence should be addressed: Nutrition Sup port Services, RT 1 Box 189, Pembroke, VA 24136.

•iguana • growth

• reptile


• protein

Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are the second most traded vertebrate species in world commerce according to the World Conservation Monitoring Center in the UK; in 1992, over 300,000 were imported into the US (Rodda 1993). Specific numbers are lacking, but most iguanas in the US appear to die prematurely, and mal nutrition appears to be common. Green iguanas areectothermic, arboreal, diurnal lizards that live in tropical Central and South America. Green iguanas are herbivorous, consuming primarily leaves, blossoms and fruit, and have enlarged ceca adapted for hindgut fermentation (Troyer 1982, Rand et al. 1990). This general information is the basis for designing diets. Because dietary requirements are not established for iguanas, the adequacy of commercial and...
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