Raising an iguana is no joke. It takes effort and consistent determination to keep your reptile healthy and in good shape. Sometimes, because you may lack understanding of your iguana’s nutrition requirements, you just feed it anything you want it to. This is wrong and can have devastating effects on your iguana.
Can iguanas eat ice cream? Iguanas should not eat ice cream because of the high sugar content, which can cause them to become obese, have high cholesterol levels, and have Lipidosis.
What if I have been giving my iguana ice cream? Are there any life-threatening consequences to it? What if my iguana likes it?
Questions like these and others may probably roam in your mind right now. Luckily, I’ll be answering them and more in this article. Please keep reading to find out more about how ice cream can affect your iguana.
Why is Ice Cream Bad for My Iguana?
Ice cream is a popular delicacy in the world today. The typical ice cream is based on cream, a dairy product. Ice cream can come in different flavors ranging from vanilla to butterscotch.
Whatever the flavor, these tasty treats are not designed for iguanas.
High protein content:
Cream, ice cream’s major component, is obtained from milk which contains a lot of protein. Iguanas cannot metabolize animal protein well, so it will cause a lot of problems for it in the long run.
Protein obtained from plants is well suited to iguanas. No matter how high they may be in a plant, for example, kidney beans which have 24 grams of protein in every 100 grams, they will still lack at least one of the nine essential amino acids. An iguanas’ body is designed to be just fine with eating foliage and legumes that provide it with such proteins.
However, when you introduce foods that are much higher in proteins than they should be, you also introduce a problem for your iguana. For every 100 grams of ice cream, you are giving your iguana 3.5 grams of protein. This may not seem like a huge amount, but if this is what consistently enters your iguana’s bloodstream, danger lurks just around the corner.
High sugar content:
Furthermore, the sugar content of ice cream poses the greatest threat to your iguana’s well-being.
Iguanas normally live in the wild and don’t get to eat any processed sugar like the ones we get from our snacks and treats. And the complex sugars they get from the plants they consume are just right for their body.
For example, green collards, one of many leafy plants eaten by iguanas, have about 0.5 grams of natural sucrose. This amount is perfect for your iguana. And it will provide enough energy it needs when combined with the other veggies it’ll eat.
However, the same amount of vanilla ice cream contains about 21 grams of refined glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar and should be gotten from the breakdown of sucrose in your iguana. High amounts of sucrose like that are fatal to your iguana.
Notwithstanding, your iguana will still love ice cream, despite the potential harm it possesses. And a glucose addiction can be very bad for your iguana.
Let’s not forget about the fat. Being cream-based, ice cream has a lot of fat. The cream comes from milk gotten from cows. Although the fat content is reduced when it is made into ice cream, it is still there. One hundred grams of the same vanilla-flavored ice cream contains about 11 grams of fat. This amount is problematic in the long run.
All of this aside, let’s get into the actual related illnesses ice cream can cause in your iguana.
Which Diseases are Linked to Giving My Iguana Ice Cream?
You may be wondering what exactly will happen when you keep giving your iguana ice cream. There are many health challenges you are predisposing your iguana to when you do so. Some of the illnesses it will most likely have upon continuous consumption of ice cream include
You may be wondering how ice cream causes obesity. Let me leave out the high-fat content for now and focus on the sugar.
Sugar in foods can increase the number of calories it has. Vanilla ice cream, for example, has about 207 calories! This is quite high.
Since your iguana may not be let loose in your house, it will just sit in one place or lazily move about in its cage without much exercise. The build-up of these calories in your iguana will cause an increase in its weight which will eventually lead to heart failure.
Even worse is that your iguana will keep eating ice cream if you keep giving it to them. Ice cream doesn’t fill up easily because they lack enough fiber leading to an unending cycle of junk food consumption.
Lipidosis is caused by excess fat in your iguana’s body. The fat gotten from ice cream is a predisposing factor to this disease. Triglycerides, a substance in fat, when accumulated in the body of your iguana, will cause it to have Lipidosis. In the case where your iguana is obese and suffers from this, its liver will develop damage. When this happens, it is called hepatic Lipidosis. It is almost irreversible in an iguana and can be fatal.
Diarrhea is caused by a lack of fiber in the food given to your iguana. Ice cream is liquid, and any products that cannot be digested will be liquid too. This will cause your iguana to have a watery stool instead of hard pellets. This will lead to dehydration which is dangerous in reptiles. If electrolytes lost are not replaced quickly, and your iguana is not rehydrated, it could lead to its death.
These illnesses are just a few of the main dangers you expose your iguana to when you give it ice cream. There are many more illnesses that are linked to these three. All these make ice cream very bad for your iguana.
Alternatives to Ice Cream for Your Iguana
You may be expecting to see a fruit smoothie or a veggie shake here, but those are not good for your iguana as the fiber content would be diminished.
Fresh chopped leafy vegetables high in calcium and rich in nutrients are what’s good for your iguana. If you replace ice cream with them, you are not only decreasing the chances of your iguana having these diseases but also helping it maintain a natural balance as well.
Vegetables such as green collards, Swiss chard, kale, kohlrabi, and many others are essential. They should serve as substitutes to ice cream in your iguana’s diet.