Do Iguanas Recognize And Bond With Their Owners?

Are you thinking of getting an iguana but are wondering if an iguana will recognize and bond with their owner?

Iguanas will recognize and bond with other iguanas but will they bond with us their owners?

Below I will cover my experiences bonding with my iguana.

Do Iguanas Recognize And Bond With Their Owners?

Yes, an iguana will recognize you and they will bond with you as long as they feel safe with you.  This bond can take weeks or months to develop.

An iguana will typically bond with their owner but will not bond with strangers that they have not had much contact with.

I found there are a few things that you can do to make the bonding process easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

Do Iguanas Recognize And Bond With Their Owners

How To Get Them To Recognize You

Getting your iguana to recognize should be easy, The more time you spend around them the quicker it will take them to recognize you.

You hope they would not bite or pee out of defense. More on iguana pee can be found here. 

Iguanas will recognize humans they see frequently, they can even tell us apart and can become stressed if they see a stranger.

To get your iguana to recognize you there are a few steps you need to take as follows.

1. Regular Feeding

Iguanas love feeding time, they will learn that when they see you they are likely to get some food. It is this connection that will speed up them to recognize you.

I recommend to feed them first thing in the morning, this way they will learn that when they wake up and see you for the first time that day they will get food.

Make sure you feed them once a day and make sure you don’t miss a day if you can as this will upset them and could break the bond you have with them.

What are you feeding your iguana? Do iguanas like eating insects? Find out in my article here.

2. Sit Close To The Tank

If you sit close to their tank when you are working / playing / at home it will help them to get use to having you around their enclosure.

The more time you spend around them the quicker they will recognize you and feel safe when you are around.

3. Floor Time

Have a schedule where you take them out of their tank and play with them.  I found the best way to play with them is to give them a snack they love such as

  • Carrots
  • Parsnip
  • Fruits
  • Green Beans

I usually take them out of the tank between lunch time and early evening.

How To Bond With Your Iguana

It is important to go slow with the bonding process.  At the start your iguana will feel threatened and will become scared which could lead to them being aggressive towards you.

They could even try to bite you which hurts, trust me.

You have to remember when you get an iguana they will not be tamed and it can take some time to tame them.  It usually takes a few months to tame an iguana.

It is important that the iguana feels comfortable and safe when you are around.

I spent many hours researching this question of how to bond with your iguana, Below I will list everything that worked for me.

1. Feed Them By Hand

This is the first step I take, it is best to do in the morning as they will be hungry. In the morning slowly feed them a snack from your hand, Use something like a carrot that is long as this will reduce the change of you getting bitten by them.

When you put your hand in their tank they might be scared and run away, if this is the case wait for them to settle and then move the treat towards them, If they move away again don’t give them the treat.

Instead leave the treat on the floor and move your hand away but leave it in the tank.  Hopefully after some time the iguana will have the snack and realise that your hand is not a threat to them

2. Talk To Them

Whilst you are feeding them talk to them in a soft voice, do not talk loud or shout at them as they will scare them away.

Talking to them will make them get use to your voice and will help you to bond with them.

3. Let Them Out The Cage

By letting them out of the cage it gives them a chance to explore the environment around them which in time will help to tame them quicker and reduce the stress in them.

I recommend to start by offering them a treat to eat by extending your arm to offer the treat to them.

When they walk near you do not move as sudden movements can scare them.

4. Let Them Climb On You

Next you can try to put the treat on your legs and hopefully they will climb on you to get it.  Be prepared because your iguana could have sharp claws and could hurt you as they climb on you.

If you have logs in their tank this should help to wear them down and make them not as sharp.

If they do hurt you try not to make a loud noise or make a fast move as this will scare them.

5. Handle Them

This should be the last step in the bonding process, I start by giving them rubs on the side of their belly or behind their neck, this way they get use to you touching them and they learn that you are not going to hurt them.

If they move away from you when you rub them you can try to rub them when they are feeding as this will distract them.

When you do lift them make sure to support their legs and left them from their belly.

Signs You Have Bonded

Each iguana will act in different ways, but there are a few signs that we can look out for that the bonding process is working.

These include

  1. They will react positively when they see you
  2. Feel comfortable in your presence
  3. Does not struggle when you hold them
  4. Comes to you when you offer treats

If you see two or more of the above steps congrats.  Typically you will see all the above signs but dont worry if your iguana is not showing all the signs.

Will Your Iguana Bond With Strangers?

So, you are now bonding with your iguana but will they bond with strangers?

No, An iguana can tell humans apart and a bond that you have made with them they will need to make with the stranger.

Having said that it should take less time for the iguana to bond with the stranger than it did with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the frequently asked questions about this subject.

Can Iguanas Feel Affection?

Yes, Iguanas will forge strong bonds with fellow iguanas and their owners, But they will typically show more affection towards another iguana than a human.

Why Is My Iguana Aggressive Towards Me?

An iguana will show aggression towards you because they are feeling threatened in some way. If the iguana is new it will be because they have not been tamed.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.