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Are Iguanas Nocturnal? 3 Alerts If Sleeping During The Day

Are Iguanas Nocturnal? 3 Alerts If Sleeping During The Day

Many reptiles prefer staying active or coming alive at night either to forage for food or roam around. Therefore, you might be looking to know if the Iguanas are nocturnal or diurnal. In this article, I am not only going to answer the question are Iguanas nocturnal but also the tips to keep them active in their enclosure.

They are trendy for a unique but beautiful appearance and have become a favorite choice for reptile lovers worldwide. Therefore you might want to adopt one and admire its beauty throughout the day, but will Iguanas be active during that period. 

You will not only learn if they will be happening at night or not but also if turning on the lights at night will impact an Iguana’s behavior or not. This is a susceptible topic that should be learned and known by all responsible reptile owners or reptile lovers. Therefore let’s first discuss are Iguanas nocturnal.

Are Iguanas Nocturnal?

are iguanas nocturnal
are iguanas nocturnal

No. Iguanas are not nocturnal but diurnal reptiles who prefer roaming and hunting during the day and sleep at night. An Iguana’s daytime hours when they stay active usually range between 10-13 hours of daylight every day. Either in case, they spend their daytime mostly on trees as they’re arboreal. 

Depending on species or personality, some iguanas prefer digging holds or burrowing themselves in the sand/soil to feel safe and secure. They like to come down the tree in the early morning to drink some water. They also choose to eat some leafy greens covered with dewdrops or as a good source of hydration.

After having some breakfast, Iguanas look to sunbathe in their favorite basking spot where they can regulate their body temperature. As soon as they’re done basking and their body is at a stable temperature, they go hunting or foraging for food.

Apart from this, some may also fight depending on how many iguanas are around. A fight between male Iguana is often carried out over territory. Iguanas are very territorial. You got to learn that Iguanas are not lazy lizards and never look to relax unless the Sun goes down. Let’s talk about the routine of Iguanas day and night time.

Night Time

At night, Iguanas will always look to rest and sleep in the trees or sometimes in a cave. Some species may also prefer buring themselves beneath the sand like Marine Iguana. Being arboreal reptiles, most of them will choose to spend most of their time in the trees.

They prefer sleeping on trees covered with many leaves at night to feel a little safer under its shadow. In the wild, Iguanas are exposed to many predators and dangers, so they never come out of their hiding. Do you know that nocturnal reptiles go hunting at night? Therefore sleeping Iguanas will also look like easy prey to them.

Do you know that Iguanas are most commonly prey for other diurnal animals? This is why they prefer to stay alert throughout the day until the Sun goes down and then relax to sleep. Just like other lizards, Iguanas can detach their tail when threatened or need to escape from predators.

Day Time

The first thing Iguanas do in the early morning is to forage on plants and vegetables for proper hydration. Once Iguanas feel hydrated, they will seek a perfect basking spot to get their body to a stable temperature; they need to go hunting.

Once they warm themselves from the cold night and reach their optimal body temperature, they go hunting. As Iguanas are not capable of regulating their body temperature on their own, they usually rely on external sources of heat like the Sun or heat lamps in captivity.

As Iguanas are very territorial, they’re likely to spend most of the time defending their territory if they are not basking or hunting. Males are not only territorial but also very fierce and rarely back down to an opposing male challenging them. 

If you have two males in the same tank, they are likely to engage in a fight over food or territory. Therefore it is best to always keep male iguanas in a separate cage for their well; otherwise, they will fight and injure each other.

What If Your Iguana Is Sleeping During The Day?

what if your iguana is sleeping during the day
what if your iguana is sleeping during the day

If an Iguana is sleeping during the day, it can be concerning for its owner. You might be looking to understand why it is so and what you can do for that time. This is the question we repeatedly hear, so here I will clear this one for you. In the wild, Iguanas are active but also lazy during the day. 

All they do is either bask or defend their territory. If your Iguanas are sleeping or basking all day, it can be due to several different reasons. Indeed, something is wrong either with the setup or your pet itself. In most cases, behavior like this is usually affected by factors like diet, lighting, and temperature.

Interesting Further Reading


It is essential to keep the temperature stable in their enclosure. Apart from this, room temperature should also be stable to support the glass tank’s heat retention. If the room where your Iguana’s tank is placed is freezing, then it can interfere with the tank’s temperature.

Since they are very docile by nature, if the temperature inside their tank is too hard, they are likely to be lethargic. Since your Iguanas cannot regulate their body temperature to stay active or do their daily business, they’re likely to sleep all day long.

If you find the tank’s temperature not being as high as it should be, it could be why your Iguana is sleeping all day. You should also consider replacing the heat bulb as they don’t last forever. Make sure to change or replace the heat bulbs every six months as they wear off after frequent usage over time.

Therefore it is always better to do a quick check every month to ensure everything is working in place. Sometimes the heat does not come through even though the light is still on.


Not only proper heat, but Iguanas also need UVB to produce Vitamin d and absorb calcium. UVB lamps should be on throughout the day. Do you know that most UVB lights don’t give the output as much as they claim? Therefore, always use the UVB light from a reputable company that offers a money-back guarantee. Always place the UVB light centrally inside their tank and ensure it emits rays equally through the whole enclosure area.


If both of the factors above are correct and at an optimal level, then it could be related to their diet. Either you may be feeding them an incorrect diet or serving them food incorrectly. If their diet is not balanced correctly or has a wrong ratio between insects, vegetables, plants, and fruits, they will be lethargic. 

If you believe you are serving an ideal diet with the proper balance of nutrients and a ratio of varieties, then the problem could arise from wrong supplements or overfeeding. You should avoid using any wrong supplements or overfeeding, resulting in bloating.

Bloating will be very discomforting for Iguanas, physically and mentally. It will make them slow or sleep throughout the day. If you cannot find the real cause of why an Iguana is sleeping throughout the day, then contact your veterinarian. Taking a trip with your Iguanas to your local veterinarian for professional advice is always better than waiting.


Iguanas are diurnal reptiles who prefer spending the most time in the trees. Since they are arboreal reptiles, they rarely come down the tree, and they are sighted, spending most of the daytime either basking or defending their territory. You have all the ideas on the question: Are Iguanas Nocturnal Or Diurnal?