• Beardie Bliss

Difference Between Bearded Dragons and Iguanas?

Updated: Aug 17, 2021




What is the Difference Between Bearded Dragons and Iguanas? Great question! Let's jump in. Bearded Dragons and Iguanas, although both reptiles, could not be any more different. They differ in size, care, diet, and temperament. Let's learn some of these differences below:

Iguanas


Iguanas are very intelligent, strong creatures. They come in a variety of colors and are interesting to look at. Iguanas grow much larger than Bearded Dragons. Full-grown Iguanas can be up to six feet long and weigh up to 30 pounds!



Because of their massive size, they need a massive enclosure. An ideal Iguana enclosure should be at least three feet deep. Because they're climbers, Iguanas should have a cage that is eight or nine feet tall. An enclosure this large can cost thousands, so it is ideal to build one.



Iguanas also have a different diet. They are strictly herbivores and eat a diet of leafy greens, veggies, and fruits. Because of this, they are cheaper to feed compared to Bearded Dragons, who need protein from live insects.



Perhaps the most important difference in Iguanas is their temperament. Iguanas are very aggressive. They have sharp teeth, claws, and a powerful tail that can break bones. Iguanas do not like being carried or handled. They are not ideal for children or beginner reptile owners.



Overall these intelligent, very large, interesting but aggressive creatures are best for educated reptile owners.



Iguanas are lizards that are originally from South and Central America. There are common pets but Iguanas require a lot of maintenance and care. They have a disciplined diet and habitat requirements and can be huge, aggressive, and tough to tame. Iguanas are not impossible pets but they are a huge commitment from the very start.



Behavior


Baby iguanas seem very outgoing and friendly hence you will love a baby iguana but as they grow up, they will get difficult to deal with. When an iguana is in its breeding cycle, it can be extremely aggressive. It can scratch and bite and use its tail like it's a mosquito swatter if it ever feels threatened. Hence, it is not ideal to buy an iguana for children but if you are buying one, you should monitor its behavior and be careful while handling or interacting with it.



Lifespan


The usual life expectancy of iguanas is from 10 years to 60 years. The lifespan depends on the species, genetics, environment, and how well they are taken care of. Wild iguanas live a very long life that usually ranges from 50 to 60 years whereas pet iguanas often only live for 10 to 15 years. However, if an iguana is well taken care of, it can reach the age of 20 years.



Most reptile owners know their pet's standard needs and hence provide them with a healthy and long life. But, you must research the effort it takes to maintain a pet iguana. You should never buy an iguana on an impulse but only after considering all the time, money and effort it is going to take if you have a pet iguana. You will have to research their natural habitat, temperature, humidity, and hydration requirements as well.



Size


When iguanas are fully grown, they can be of any size from 5 inches to 7 feet in length. Their size depends on their species which differ in shape, color, and size. Iguanas are completely mature when they are three years old. There are 35 different species of pet iguanas and they are all of the varied sizes and hence you should know your iguana's species or determine the species that you like before you adopt.



Cost


You can buy iguanas from breeders, pet stores, and rescue organizations. Many iguanas end up with rescue organizations because their owners abandon them after they are unable to fulfill the species' requirements. You can usually buy or adopt them for $20 to $50.



If a pet store salesgirl tells you that a baby iguana will stay the same tiny size, you should never believe that. Iguanas grow at a rapid pace. You should select an iguana that has healthy skin, has clean eyes, and standard feces, and is active. If you see an iguana that has mucus around its nose, has a low weight or has lesions or lumps on its skin, or is lethargic then that iguana is probably sick.



You should also check if it's legal to own a pet iguana in your city and talk to an exotic veterinarian before buying an iguana. You should also find a vet for iguanas in your locality before you adopt one.


Lighting


Iguanas require UV radiation mainly UVB and UVA to thrive. UVA is needed to keep the lizard healthy and happy. Your iguana can obtain UVA through a window or regular room lighting. You can provide a source for the lizard's UVA needs like room lighting or window exposure. Iguanas like to bask and need UVB to synthesize vitamin D so they can absorb calcium from food. If their calcium metabolism is affected then their nervous system will begin to absorb calcium from their bones to meet the body's needs.



Daily Care


Iguanas need to eat, poop, nap, and do other things on schedule. They prefer to do the same thing every day at the same time. Based on the owner's lifestyle, it can either be a great thing or a bad thing. You must let your iguana poop every day. You will also have to make a new salad every day for your iguana. Your iguana must be misted twice a day and bathed every day or a minimum of four times in one week. You must wash the water bowl and food bowl every day as well.



Heating


Iguanas need extra heat to aid in their digestion because they are cold-blooded. Their preferred temperature during daytime is 84 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit during nighttime. When an iguana is cold, it will not be able to digest any food and will probably fall sick.



Bearded Dragons


Bearded Dragons are docile, easy to handle, and more fragile than Iguanas. They come in a variety of colors and are fun to keep! Beardies are much smaller than Iguanas, growing to a maximum of two feet and 1.5 pounds. An adult beardie can be happy in a 75-gallon tank, which is relatively inexpensive and much easier to manage than a massive Iguana enclosure.



Bearded Dragons are omnivores. Unlike Iguanas, they need to eat live insects such as roaches and silkworms for protein. They also eat a diet rich in leafy greens, veggies, and fruits.



Despite this, Bearded Dragons are much more low maintenance than Iguanas. They are very docile, easygoing, enjoy being handled, and make great pets for children and/or beginner reptile keepers.



Cost


When you buy a dragon, you must purchase them from either a rescuer or a breeder since they usually sell dragons at a cheap rate and the reptiles are happier and healthier. Bearded dragons are pretty cheap but maintaining them can be expensive. You can buy a bearded dragon for around $20 to $160 where baby dragons are the cheapest.



The price of the dragon depends on the type of morph you select. The standard bearded dragon is usually cheap whereas an exotic morph such as the Witblit dragon is more expensive.



Lifespan


Every dragon owner must know the lifespan of their bearded dragon. The usual lifespan of a dragon who is a pet is around 10 years to 15 years. The age range depends on how well the dragon is taken care of along with its genetics. Hence, it is vital to purchase a dragon from a trustworthy seller. Pet stores usually do not take proper care of dragons and hence if you buy from them, the dragons will have a short lifespan. As long as you keep your beardie on a good diet, provide him or her with a nice cage and regular doctor checkups, then your dragon will live a long and happy life.



Daily Care


You must remove all uneaten food and poop from the enclosure every day. You should also wash the food and water bowl with soap every day. Your dragon must be bathed once or twice every week. You should also look after your dragon's feeder insects. You must buy them and gut load them for a day before you feed them to your dragon. What is gut loading? You must water and feed the bugs in their container. You also have to clean your dragon's cage every day.



Size


If you want to be able to care for your dragon well then you should know how big they will get once they are completely grown. You must know their adult size to be able to pick the right enclosure for them and create a feeding strategy. For the first three months, dragons grow at a fast rate. However, then they will grow one to two inches every month for the next year. When they are two years old, they will continue to grow another inch or two. Bearded dragons can be 17 inches in length to 26 inches and can weigh anywhere from half a pound to 2 pounds.


Hence, they are very easy to carry around. Many owners let their dragons snuggle on their shoulders while they do some work.



Heating


Bearded dragons need heat to aid in their digestion and maintain their immune system. If they do not get heat, then they will fall sick and die. Bearded dragons like to bask, they get their heat from a heat source that is placed overhead just like the sun. Bearded dragons need a temperature gradient in their enclosure to maintain their temperature because they are cold-blooded. They can thrive in high temperatures but they also need a cool spot in their cage so they do not overheat. The cage's temperature should be around 90 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 80 degrees to 85 degrees during the night.



Lighting


You need a UVB lamp for your dragon's cage. You can mount the lamp inside the enclosure. Reptile bulbs are not useful but you can buy halogen lamps or a basking light. If your home's temperature is lower than 60 degrees during the night then you also need a ceramic heater for your dragon and it should only be used during the night.



Humidity


Humidity levels must be maintained between 35 percent and 40 percent to make sure your dragon's cage closely resembles its wild environment. This humidity level is like Australia's dry and hot inland regions and it will be amazing for your dragon's health. The humidity level should not be high since that can make your bearded dragon suffer from respiratory issues.



There are many advantages to owning a pet bearded dragon. They are simple to care for, are laidback, friendly, safe, intelligent, and do not grow to be too big.

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