Can iguanas eat apples?

No, iguanas can’t eat apples, because apples contain too much sugar which can be harmful to iguanas.


The question “Can iguanas eat apples?” is common for iguana owners. Iguanas are herbivorous reptiles that thrive on a diet high in leafy greens and vegetables. However, some human foods like apples may seem appealing options to feed pet iguanas. But can iguanas eat apples? Let’s take a closer look at apple nutrition facts and potential risks to determine if apples are a suitable addition to an iguana’s diet.

Nutritional Value

Apples contain high amounts of natural sugar with about 19 grams per medium-sized apple. They also provide fiber, vitamin C, and small amounts of calcium and iron. However, iguanas require far more calcium than apple can provide to support bone health. The high sugar content poses a risk of diabetes, weight gain, and other health issues for iguanas. Therefore, apples lack the balanced nutritional profile that iguanas need.

Iguanas are herbivores, so their diet should consist mainly of dark leafy greens like collard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, and kale which offer more calcium, vitamins, and minerals compared to apples. Leafy greens make up about 70-80% of an iguana’s ideal diet. Squashes, bell peppers, snap peas, green beans, and zucchini offer beneficial nutrients without excess sugar.

Potential Risks

Feeding apples to iguanas poses some potential health risks:

– Diabetes – The natural fructose in apples can cause blood sugar spikes and may lead to diabetes if fed routinely.

– Obesity – Apples’ high calorie and sugar content could lead to weight gain over time. Obese iguanas have a shorter lifespan and more health problems.

– Nutritional imbalances – Apples lack proper calcium to phosphorus ratios needed for iguana bone health. Relying on apples for nutrition deprives iguanas of vitamins and minerals vital to their wellbeing.

– Digestive issues – The high sugar and fiber content may lead to diarrhea or intestinal upset in some iguanas.

– Tooth decay – Sugary foods like apples could promote bacterial growth and tooth decay in iguanas.

Overall, apples fed regularly or in excess are likely to cause harm and should be avoided as part of an iguana’s staple diet.

How to Serve Apples Safely to Iguanas

The risks clearly outweigh the benefits of feeding apples to iguanas. It’s best to avoid giving iguanas apples altogether. However, apple can be served in extreme moderation as an occasional treat. Here are some tips for safe, minimal consumption:

– Restrict to a few bites once or twice a month maximum.
– Choose fresh, low sugar varieties like Granny Smith. Avoid candied or dried apples.
– Cut into small pieces to reduce choking hazard.
– Only feed apple along with the iguana’s regular balanced diet. Do not substitute apple for veggies, greens, or proper iguana food sources.
– Discontinue use if any signs of digestive upset or diarrhea occur.
– Feed apple sparingly under supervision and remove any uneaten bits promptly.

Serving Suggestions

Better fruit choices to offer iguanas instead of apples include:

– Figs – High in calcium and low glycemic index.
– Papaya – Provides vitamin C and antioxidants.
– Mango – A great source of vitamin A.
Banana – Contains potassium; choose low sugar varieties.
– Berries – Offer small amounts of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.
– Melons – Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew provide hydration.

These fruits are naturally lower in sugar than apples. But they still should only be occasional treats, not daily options. Always ensure the bulk of an iguana’s diet comes from leafy greens, vegetables, and formulated reptile foods.

Special Considerations

Some special precautions related to feeding iguanas apples:

– Baby iguanas – Juvenile iguanas under 18 months old cannot tolerate any fruits at all. Stick to formula and chopped greens designed for baby iguanas.

– Overweight iguanas – Obese iguanas should not receive any high sugar fruits like apples that may worsen weight problems. Focus their diet on low calorie greens and vegetables.

– Diabetic iguanas – Iguanas diagnosed with diabetes or blood sugar problems must avoid all high sugar foods including apple.

– Allergies – Some rare iguanas may have fruit allergies or sensitivities. Discontinue apple if any signs of allergic reaction occur.

Expert Opinions

Reptile veterinarians and experts agree apples are not recommended for iguanas:

“Iguanas should not eat any processed human foods like apple as it can lead to malnutrition and disease.” – Dr. Susan Brown, DVM, Southwest Veterinary Clinic

“The excessive sugar in apple could cause health issues in iguanas. There are far better fruit choices for iguanas that are safer.” – Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics


In summary, it is best to avoid feeding apples to pet iguanas altogether. The potential risks of diabetes, obesity, nutritional deficiencies, and other problems outweigh any minimal benefits. Iguanas have specialized herbivorous needs that apples simply cannot meet. Instead, provide iguanas a balanced diet high in dark leafy greens, vegetables, and quality reptile food. At most, apple should only be an occasional treat in tiny amounts. For the health and safety of pet iguanas, it’s wise to skip apples as part of their regular diet.


Can baby iguanas eat apples?

No, baby or juvenile iguanas under 18 months cannot have any fruits, including apples. Only feed them specialized baby iguana greens, vegetables, and formula.

Do iguanas like apples?

Iguanas may seem attracted to the sweet taste of apples initially. But iguanas do not truly understand what foods align with their nutritional needs. It’s best not to offer apples so iguanas don’t develop a preference for inappropriate foods.

Are apples harmful to iguanas?

Yes, apples are harmful to iguanas due to their high sugar content. Regularly feeding apples puts iguanas at risk of obesity, diabetes, nutritional imbalances, and dental problems.

What happens if an iguana eats an apple?

If an iguana eats a small piece of apple on rare occasion, it will likely experience no ill effects. But regularly feeding apple or large portions can lead to sugar spikes, diarrhea, weight gain and eventual health decline in iguanas.

Can iguanas eat apple skin?

No, iguanas should not eat any part of an apple, including the skin or seeds. The skin contains extra fiber that can cause digestive upset.

Can iguanas eat apple sauce?

No, apple sauce is not appropriate for iguanas either. Even unsweetened apple sauce contains concentrated sugars and lacks nutrients iguanas require.

Can iguanas eat dried apples?

Dried apples are even worse than fresh apples for iguanas due to their higher sugar content. Avoid dried, candied, or any processed apple products for iguanas.

Can iguanas eat apple slices?

Plain apple slices are not any safer than whole apples for iguanas. Sliced apples still pose risks of digestive issues, blood sugar spikes, and nutritional imbalances.

Can iguanas eat apple juice?

No, iguanas should never drink apple juice. The high concentration of apple sugars without fiber or nutrients makes juice extremely unhealthy for iguanas.

Can iguanas eat baked apples?

No, baked apples are also unsafe for iguanas. Baking does not reduce the sugar content, so baked apples pose the same risks as raw apples.

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