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There are many books and publications on iguana care readily available to the average iguana owner. Unfortunately, many of the books have become outdated and most of them provide incomplete, inaccurate and many times dangerous information on iguana care. Many books are quite good, but still contain bad information. Chances are if an iguana care book is not listed here, it has enough bad or outdated information for us not to recommend it. The following is a very short list of the best of the best books and publications on iguanas and iguana care. The prices shown are the list prices, and can usually be found online or subscribed to for less. We are in no way saying these books and publications are perfect, but they are definitely the best available.

Iguanas For DUMMIES
by Melissa Kaplan
Trade paperback, published August 2000, ISBN 0764552600, list price: $19.99

We highly recommend this book. Its author, Melissa Kaplan, is a well-regarded expert in iguana care, and is also the author of one of the most comprehensive iguana care web sites on the internet. Because the book is part of the Dummies series, it is written in an easy-to-follow manner, and is a great quick-reference book that can also be read cover-to-cover, if desired. It covers a wide variety of topics, and is both complete and easy to read. The price is also very attractive. All in all, Iguanas For Dummies is a great book for beginners and more experienced iguana owners alike.

Green Iguana - The Ultimate Owner's Manual
by James W. Hatfield, III
Trade paperback, published August 1996, ISBN 1883463483, list price: $32.50

This book is an excellent source for information on iguanas and the proper care they need. It is still relatively new, as far as iguana care books go, and the information it contains is still quite excellent. This book is full of extensive information on nearly every aspect of iguana care and even has plans for the Ultimate Habitat that Hatfield built for his own iguana. This book can be ordered online at It can also be found at most of the major online book retailers and if you your local bookstore doesn't have it in stock, they can easily order it for you. This book is definitely a must read for every iguana owner and it is highly recommended.

Reptile Medicine and Surgery
by Douglas R. Mader
Hardcover, published November 2005, ISBN 072169327X, list price: $129.00

This book has become the source for medical and anatomy information on reptiles. Douglas Mader is a well-known herp veterinarian and often writes articles for Reptiles Magazine. He is also very highly regarded in the veterinarian field. This book is quite expensive, but is highly recommended for people that are very serious about herpetology and properly caring for their herps.

Reptiles Magazine
Published monthly, list price varies.

This is a great magazine for people who are interested in not only iguanas, but herp care in general. Reptiles contains articles about the captive care and breeding and natural history of many species of reptiles and amphibians. Other useful features include "Ask the Vet", where readers can write in questions to expert herp vet Doug Mader, as well as other advice columns. This publications is also a great place to learn about new herp care products and herp events that are happening around the U.S.

Biology, Husbandry and Medicine of the Green Iguana
by E.R. Jacobson
ed., 2003, Krieger Publishing Company, ISBN: 1-57524-065-3,188 pgs.

This book is an excellent addition to the reference collection of the vet, iguana rehabber, and serious hobbyist. It is a collection of articles, each written by a different author or team of authors, most of whom are veterinarians or have PhDs in a herp-related field. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, discuss both wild and captive iguanas, and possess such titles as “Biology and Reproduction in the Wild”, “Ontogeny of Captive and Wild Iguanas: From Emergence to Mating”, “Husbandry and Management”, “Clinical Evaluations and Diagnostic Techniques” and “Anesthesia and Surgery”, among many others. Information in each chapter is heavily cited, with complete bibliographies included at the back of each chapter. Clearly, this book is not intended as light reading. In fact, the tone of the book is somewhat dry (it reads like a scientific journal article, which was intended) and is more conducive for use as a reference rather than a book to read cover-to-cover.

The book includes eight pages of clearly labeled, excellent-quality glossy photographs showing various medical procedures, disease signs and symptoms, injuries, examples of habitats and nesting boxes, and even types of blood cells seen in an examination of a blood smear for blood cell count analysis. In addition to these photographs, the book contains many black and white photographs of radiographs and ultrasonographs. Scattered throughout the various chapters are useful tables and figures which present and illustrate the data contained within the text. Everything is clearly labeled.

One chapter stood out because the authors took an unusual stand on recommended diet in captivity. Chapter 4 - Nutrition in Captivity - does a good job of discussing in detail the nutritional needs of iguanas. What makes this chapter unusual is that the authors conclude that the offering of “salad-type diets”, consisting of greens and vegetables, is not advisable. Their position is that nutritionally balanced commercial feeds are available and that salad diets are often nutritionally imbalanced. They present commercial diets along with hypothetical salad diets and compare their nutritional value. Unfortunately, these comparisons are misleading because the salad-diets they use are sorely lacking in high-calcium greens and other recommended produce. The focus of this chapter, however, seems to be on the raising of iguanas in large breeding colonies, rather than in households as pets. The Green Iguana Society would caution any vet or iguana owner to read the information on the nutritional needs of iguanas that is presented in this chapter, but pay more attention to the next chapter (Chapter 5 - Husbandry and Management) when looking for advice on feeding and keeping iguanas as pets.

Chapter 5 is up-to-date and stresses the importance of a proper vegetarian diet, proper heat and access to unfiltered UVB light. Many aspects of husbandry are discussed. In addition, the authors of this chapter state that, “Several commercial diets are available for iguanas, but the exact dietary requirements for iguanas have not been established. Whereas some authors recommend feeding commercial diets exclusively, there is some debate regarding the suitability of commercial diets as the sole food source for iguanas.” They then recommend a salad-based diet supplemented with commercial food occasionally, which is the more readily accepted approach for pet iguanas.

The last several chapters of the book deal with medical issues specific to green iguanas, and are geared toward veterinarians. The average iguana owner will probably not have much direct use for the information in these chapters, but can certainly learn a great deal about their pet by reading them. Veterinarians will find information in these chapters about diseases and parasites, making diagnoses, potential treatments, drugs and dosages, anesthesia and surgery and diagnostic imaging (for example, radiographs). Unlike many other vet texts, which discuss reptiles or herps in general, this book focuses exclusively on iguanas, and therefore should be a valuable resource for the veterinarian that routinely treats them.

All told, this is a great addition to the collection of any serious iguana lover, but beware - light reading it’s not. The book is handsomely bound in hardcover and should withstand repeated thumb-throughs. The authors are all very knowledgeable and have first-hand experience. The information is well-cited and the bibliography will lead the serious reader to more sources of information. If you’ve already read the beginner books and are looking for something more, or if you are into or are considering iguana rehab, this book is a must-have.

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