Iguanas are not the easiest pets to raise and can be aggressive. Not only will they stare daggers at you, but they also whip with their tails if they are afraid or angry.
However, aggression isn’t the only reason iguanas stare at humans, and it depends on the iguana and situation. Why does your iguana stare at you?
Your iguana stares at you out of curiosity, concern, unhappiness, or is hungry and wants some food. Although iguanas don’t portray emotions the same as mammals, they do recognize their caretakers and pay attention to their surroundings. They process visual information when they stare and use body language and narrowed eyes to express excitement or fear to warn predators away.
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Iguanas can be excellent pets, but keeping giant herbivorous reptiles is not the easiest pet option. You may have noticed that your new pet tends to stare at you. What does it mean? Should you be concerned?
Below are the top 3 reasons why your lizard stares at you and some tips for how to respond:
1 – Curiosity
Living creatures developed eyes to see threats and food. However, things have come a long way since then. Now animals, including your pet iguana, can stare at something for enjoyment and curiosity.
You can give your iguana enrichment toys like a pool to swim in and small soft plush toys like balls. They also enjoy climbing on things.
If your pet is well socialized and you play with them by taking them out to roam or offering new toys and challenges, their staring might be curiosity over whether you are doing something for them.
According to Iguanas: Their Biology and Captive Care by Lenny Frank, “Iguanas are naturally curious animals, and everything you put in their cage, including their substrate, is likely to be “tongue-tested” to determine if it is edible.” Additionally, they like to play.
Respond by moving slowly and giving your new pet a clear view of your activities. Bring them toys and other forms of enrichment and work with them on basic training. You can walk an iguana on a leash, and even potty train them to go outside.
2 – Anger & Annoyance
Iguanas get scared and territorial. If your pet seems to be glaring at you, maybe they are. Reptiles use body language and narrowed eyes to express distaste and warn other creatures away from them.
Likewise, a shedding iguana can get irritable, and it’s best to leave them alone when they indicate anger and annoyance.
Respond by avoiding eye contact, treating them kindly, and building trust with gentile care and food.
Bird Exotics Vet points out, “Baby iguanas shed every 4 – 6 weeks, while adult iguanas only shed about once a year. They may not always shed at the same time of year. If your iguana is having trouble shedding the old skin, it is sometimes helpful to gently soak the iguana in some water or spray and moisten the enclosure.”
3 – Expectation, Anticipation & Excitement
Does your iguana cage have a clear view of where you make their food? Maybe you use the same bowl to feed them every time they see it coming. Some iguana staring is all about expectation, anticipation, and excitement.
Iguanas can learn a routine. When you feed or even take them out of the tank at the same time every day, they will know to look forward to that. Staring at you can indicate that they expect something pleasant is about to happen.
Respond by meeting their needs unless it’s unhealthy to do so. Please do not overfeed your iguana just to make them happy. It won’t work. Let them out for playtime instead if they’ve eaten recently.
Do Iguanas Recognize Their Owners
Iguanas do recognize their owners. They have decent memories and can even bond with you, though it won’t be the same as mammal bonding.
An iguana will enjoy sitting with you, watching you play games, read books, or even just Netflix and chill. Plus, people make great climbing toys when they hold still for it.
If you want a well-socialized iguana, you need to take them out and sit with them. However, if no one else ever picks them up, they will only bond with you and may take offense to other people trying to handle them.
Helpful Tips To Know About Why My Iguana Stares At Me
It can be tough to read an iguana’s expression when staring, especially when you are new to handling them. However, over time, as you work with your pet, you will get used to their personality and quirks, so understanding their staring will be easier too.
Here are more helpful tips to know about why my iguana stares at me.
- Iguanas are smarter than you think. Not only will they remember you, but they can also recognize and recall other members of the household. Moreover, they can tell the difference between people and sometimes stare at the person who feeds them when hungry, even if other people are around.
- It is essential to bond with your iguana and learn the significance of their stares and body language. After all, you’re going to be together for a long time. Iguanas have a fifteen to twenty-year life span and they grow to be 3.9 to 5.6 feet or 1.2 to 1.7 meters in length.
- Iguanas have unique and highly individual personalities. A stare from one iguana may mean the iguana is in a lousy mood and about to shed, while another is expressing distaste over the quality of their food. Unless you have known more than one iguana, the subtleties may be lost on you, but rest assured, your pet’s personality and staring are personal.
- When you have a playful and curious iguana who seems to stare longingly at you, it may be a little bored. Bring them out to sit with you. When the temperature outside is warm, you can even put your pet on a leash and take them outdoors to play. Allow them to explore grass or climb trees. However, please do not let your pet eat any plants unless you know they are safe. Click here for a list of safe plants.
Like all creatures with eyes, Iguanas use them to assess their situation. Additionally, they can stare with intent and even express their feelings in a limited way.
Lacking mobile eyebrows and specific facial muscles means they can’t use expressions the same as humans or even most mammalian pets.
However, when your iguana is staring at you, it does have a meaning. They may wonder what you’re doing or want to eat.
Alternatively, narrowed eyes can indicate unhappiness, and you should proceed with caution. Looking away can help your pet understand that you are not threatening them.
An iguana will hiss and whip with their tail if they don’t want you near or touching them, so pay attention to their eyes.