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How Long Can An Iguana Go Without Eating?

How Long Can An Iguana Go Without Eating?

If you have an iguana in your home and notice some odd behavior with your pet, you may be worried about it. It’s not common for iguanas to starve if they eat very often. As a responsible and good owner, you should know all about your Iguana when something is wrong.

If your Iguana has been eating less over the last few days, you may wonder how long an Iguana can go without eating. Here in this article, we will look at five reasons why an Iguana may go without eating. We will also talk about how to force-feed an Iguana. Let’s first begin with knowing the answer to how long can iguanas go without eating.

How Long Can An Iguana Go Without Eating?

how long can an iguana go without eating
how long can an iguana go without eating

Depending upon the habit, age, size, and the reason for going without food, Iguana can survive for different lengths of time. Fully grown healthy Iguana can stay for months, but they will soon start losing weight after two weeks of not eating anything.

You might also have to force-feed your iguanas after a couple of weeks to keep their weight stable. If the Iguana seems to be plump, it can go off food for even a month without using too much weight. During the breeding season, it is common for iguanas to get chubby.

Iguanas’ diet doesn’t need to be complex, but that appetite can be perfect at times. These giant lizards are known for eating plant matter and Greens. They are trendy among exotic pet owners that do well in captivity. You may fail to conduct proper research when you think of bringing an Iguana home.

Above all, you must ensure your iguanas are adequately fed and on time. It is common for us to go without eating for several days, but it is common to freak out when we start losing weight. If you feel freaking out and helpless, then don’t be so.

The iguanas can go without food for four weeks on average without losing weight. It is also utterly dependent on several factors, which as a responsible owner, you must know. After knowing how long iguanas can live without eating, let’s learn what to do when they refuse to eat it. If you want to know the extreme factors that make Iguana starve, then here is what you need to know.

How Long Can A Baby Iguana Go Without Eating?

A hatchling can survive as long as 12 to 18 hours without food. On the other hand, Juvenile iguanas can only go a few days to a week without having access to food. However, the most significant variable in food survival is why it’s going without food.

5 Reasons An Iguana May Go Without Food

5 reasons an iguana may go without food
5 reasons an iguana may go without food

Besides age, other factors and variables in food survival come from why your Iguana is going without food. This section will look at the different reasons why Iguana is not eating and how this impacts their survival.

Increased Stress

If Iguanas experience more stress in its life for whatever reason, they may refuse to eat their food thoroughly. Sometimes the reason for Iguana to stop eating can be as simple as being constipated. On the other hand, an Iguana can also feel threatened.

Always close the door of your Iguana’s room and make sure it feels safe. If your Iguana feels safe, it will start eating again. In times of high stress, without food for more than a week. Adding to this, being stressed means iguanas use more energy quickly.

Wrong Temperatures

One of the most common reasons for an Iguana to go without eating is an incorrect temperature. Believe it or not, iguanas need proper heating and temperature from a basking lamp to digest food. Without a suitable heating or lighting source, the Iguana will not be able to digest food properly and maintain its healthy bodily function.

Due to the evolution of these lizards, they are entirely on the external source of heat for their routine physical processes. If the temperature in the captivity is too low, they may completely stop eating because they don’t feel well or the food is not digesting properly.

Talking about this, an adult Iguana can go as long as four weeks without losing weight if it is plump. You don’t need to feed your Iguana regularly during the breeding season, but after mating or while they’re pregnant, make sure to provide a nutritionally balanced diet ideal for them to fulfill all its daily requirements.

The basking area of an Iguana tank should be between 85-110° F temperature. Let’s move to the second reason why is my Iguana not eating.

Home Changes

They are very sensitive lizards that cannot adapt well to any sudden change in that environment. When it comes to their home or enclosure, they tend to be highly territorial. It is typical for this sensitive lizard to protect its area with occasional violence.

With that being said, if you had to change your pet’s tank or even add new furniture in their enclosure, Iguana might stop eating altogether. It is common for iguanas to feel unsafe in their section if there is any sudden change.

It is common for Iguana to feel stressed out and stop eating for a few days, which will resolve itself. Sudden change in their environment or re-shifting them to a new tank could be why an Iguana is going without food for a couple of weeks. If it doesn’t resolve independently, you may want to get an iguana checked out.

New Diet/Foods

Iguanas are picky eaters and can get stuck in a rut for their food selection. If Iguana had a lot of sugary fruits or a high-protein insect to eat, they might refuse to eat anything else. If you introduce your pet to a brand new food, it’s common for them to refuse to eat this as they may not even recognize it as edible. It’s common for Iguana to refuse to eat new food for a week but don’t cave in. Always offer them food until they get hungry enough to eat.


If you Iguana feels unhealthy or sick, they can stop eating. The lack of eating is explained by sickness, and the lack of eating is also accompanied by one of the other symptoms.

  1. The lack of movement
  2. The absence of droppings
  3. Glassy eyes
  4. Visible injury
  5. Constipation
  6. Insomnia and lack of appetite
  7. Discoloration

Interesting Further Reading

How to Force Feed an Iguana?

Sometimes, an Iguana needs to be forced to be fed; then, they deny entirely eating food at all for weeks. However, being extremely honest, I do not condone force-feeding. As iguanas do a phenomenal job of eating what they need, force-feeding can lead to health issues.

If your Iguana looks weak and alarmingly thin, you need to visit your vet, then, by all means, try to force-feed. The actual method of force-feeding an iguana is pretty simple.

You just need to have a secure but pleasant grip on your Iguana and make sure they’re in a relatively comfortable position. You can gently open the mouth by pulling their lower jaw down. Lastly, Insert some food into their mouth. Force-feeding an Iguana is as simple as that.



In the Wild, Iguanas tend to forage on plants, leaves, leafy Greens, seeds flowering, and some fruits. These giant lizards can survive for many days in a row without food or water than you realize. This is because of their evolution.

The place where the iguanas evolved tends to be almost desert-like subtropical regions. In such a harsh environment, it’s hard for this lizard to find food. There is a high chance of being preyed upon by some other animal.

Birds like hawks and eagles regularly monitor the movement of iguanas and other animals they can eat. Therefore, in the wild, iguanas also need to hide from these predators to survive where there is no access to food or water. They use their fat to fulfill their energy requirement without food and water.

So on average, Iguana can go without food for as long as one to two months, depending upon age, temperature, and why they need it. However, Iguana can hardly last a few days without needing food or losing weight. I hope I have given you all the information and ideas on how long an Iguana can go without eating.

If you find this article where we have answered the question, how long can iguanas go without food, do share it? Your one share can help one or more people understand the capability of Iguana to survive without food and water. There is a huge chance that some may have left Iguanas on a weekly diet that is not suitable for their health. Do check our other articles on Iguana care and health from our website.