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Reptiles/Iguana acting weird with tail


QUESTION: Hello there.. For the last 10 minutes now my iguana is acting weird with her tail.. She is trying to reach it and moves it like maniac, and I think she feels pain too.. Could you please tell me what's wrong?
Thank you for your time..

ANSWER: Hello Nektarios,

Did your iguana hurt her tail somehow?
Do you have any pictures of her?  Is she whipping her tail around like she is trying to get some shed off?
Please review your tank setup with me, such as your type & brand of UVB light, the temperatures, supplementation & feeding so I can be sure everything is great for her.


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Iguana trying to reach her tail.
Iguana trying to reach  
Another picture
Another picture  
QUESTION: Hello Tracie,

I'm not sure if she hurt her tail somewhere.
I do have pictures of her i'll send you one where she is trying to reach it.
Well, i have a exo-terra 150 uvb light (the pet shop owner told me iguanas need that kind of lighing), I use branches that i bought from the pet shop, and sometimes some well preserved woods that I find.
For substrate I use Repti-bark, and now (we have summer, maybe it is still spring) I use newspaper because I have her on a custom cage with latticework so I can take her outside for sunlight.
When it comes to feeding, here (in Greece) we have a lot of veggies and fruits, that America and other countries don't have.
I have a iguana book and it has a lot of things, I'll tell you some of them, but I'm not sure if you know them.
So, i give her:

chinese cabbage

ANSWER: Hello Nektarios,

If she is trying to bite at her tail, then it sounds like she has either injured it or has some retained shed that is bothering her.
Does she have a large water dish/bowl in her tank or access to soak when needed for the humidity for her?
Her diet looks good.  Are you using calcium supplementation at least 3-4 times per week?  She is very pretty, what is her age, estimated?
The 150watt Exoterra bulb, that is a Solar Glo mercury vapor bulb, correct that has UVB & UVA along with heat in one bulb?  How close is the bulb to her?
I am glad you can get her outside when the weather is nice, that helps her out a lot.

It is hard to tell from the pictures if she has retained shed on her tail.  Her behavior though is normal for one that has retained shed which constricts the circulation causing it to bother them.  
Let me know how she is doing.


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Iguana\'s cage 1
Iguana's cage 1  

Iguana\'s cage 2
Iguana's cage 2  
QUESTION: Hello Tracie,

Yesterday and today her tail didn't bother her at all.. She was ok..
Well i don't see any left shedding on her tail... Maybe she hasn't changed yet..
Uhmm, she doesn't actually has a big water dish but I spray her with water every day. Her and the cage too for humidity.
I of course give her calcium supplementation every day, and maybe sometimes 6 times per week.. I use Lucky Reptile Bio Culcium Sepia Powder.
I have her for about 2.5 years.. And I think we was 5-6 months old when I bought her.. So she is almost 3 years old..
The bulb is kinda close to her and that is a mistake i do.. I'll send you a picture of my cage so you can see it..
Thank you for your time again..


Hello Nektarios,

The tank looks good overall.  The compact/coil light though, will need to be changed out for a better quality UVB light.  
Where you are, you should be able to find the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb for her which would be much better UVB emissions.  It can be mounted 6-8 inches from her, alongside a basking bulb for brightness too.  
She doesn't appear to have any bone issues at the moment.  Over time, if they are not exposed to a good amount of UVB consistently they can begin to have health issues.  Shedding problems can be caused by nutritional issues, or not enough humidity.
The calcium supplementation then should be fine.  Does she eat a good amount most days?
How is her tail doing today, did she try to bite at it?

Let me know how she is doing.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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