How to Tell if Your Iguana Is Dehydrated {How To Hydrate Them Now}

Water is life for you, me and your iguana. This article is going to be helpful to find out how to tell if your iguana is dehydrated.

Dehydration is dangerous for iguanas. It can lead to:

  • shock
  • kidney failure
  • heart failure
  • acidosis
  • possible death

Let’s dive into this article, rehydrate our reptile companions, restore their fluid balance and learn how to prevent your iguana from dehydration.

How to Tell if Your Iguana Is Dehydrated

Your iguana could experience dehydration from poor digestion, improper temperatures, periodical moments of the year when skin shedding occurs and many more reasons. This is how you can tell if they are dehydrated:

  • Dry or wrinkled skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin elasticity and flexibility is now tight or saggy
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Dry membranes
  • Flaky skin
  • Constipation/Impaction

Rehydration may require misting, using an eye dropper or a syringe with water, making water more readily available or an emergency trip to the vet for a fluid injection.

How Do I Rehydrate My Iguana?

Your iguana could be suffering from mild cases of dehydration where the skin appears tight and not as flexible as usual. Do you see their eyes looking sunken? Is your iguana moving much?

Let’s start with some immediate home care and see how severe this case is:

  1. Start with water.
  2. Add diluted electrolytes into the water such as Pedialyte or Ricelyte
  3. Try and eye dropper or syringe for a squeeze of water droplets into their mouths.
  4. Mist the mouth of your your iguana 2-3 times a day.

If the dehydration has turned to severe lethargy, lack of appetite or you are noticing no fecal matter whatsoever, go to the vet together.

A vet will:

  • administer fluids through feeding tubes
  • perform subcutaneous injections

Hydration levels will be tested and specific instructions will be given to you. Your iguana might be afraid. Here are tips to help with that in this article. 

How To Prevent Iguana Dehydration

Your iguana likes humidity, but also enjoys basking under warm UVB lights. This will also help aid their digestion and humidity to keep their gut and skin healthy.

Prevent or avoid dehydration in the following ways:

  • Keep water dishes in the tank and make sure they are fresh and clean.
  • Water can get contaminated with dirt, soaps and tank cleaning supplies.
  • Iguanas can be very picky about their water so keep it clean or add some electrolytes to it.
  • Wet food or juicy fruits will add fluids to your iguana’s diet. 
  • Soak their food in water first.
  • Increase humidity levels.
  • Increase baths or soaks in warm water.

These are some tricks of the trade that we learned the hard way when dealing with the quirky or stubbornness of our male iguana.

He didn’t lap up the water we were giving him so we adjusted by making his meals juicier. Do bugs count as juicy food for iguanas? Find out here in my article.

The misting we spray in the enclosure twice a day also helps when you see him licking some residue off his face.

YouTube video

Does Misting Hydrate Iguanas?

It is recommended to mist the enclosure around your iguana twice a day. This helps to increase humidity and keep their skin healthy. You can either spray or choose to purchase a mister.

The main reasons for misting is not for hydration. They are for:

  • Promoting skin health
  • Increasing humidity

The 70% humidity required in a tank enclosure is essential for an iguana. The secondary effects will assist in hydration levels remaining healthy, but without other means of water absorption, it is simply not enough for hydrating your iguana.

You will need to make sure they have a clean and fresh water supply. The use of a syringe or eye droppers to squeeze or drop water directly into their mouths is invasive, but necessary if you notice a lethargic iguana with sunken eyes or a lack of energy and appetite.

Problems with Iguana Dehydration

A dehydrated iguana may experience adverse side effects ranging from mild to severe. The worse-case scenario is death and this is why we must take this matter very seriously in order to stay proactive.

Be preventative or respond with medical help when things get worse or else it could lead to:

  • Decreased organ function
  • Poor skin health and ineffective shedding
  • Decreased digestion
  • Unable to remove metabolic waste
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Impaction
  • Gout
  • Kidney failure

If you start noticing some of the signs below, know that you have to act on them before it’s too late:

Signs of Iguana Dehydration

  • Wrinkled skin
  • Saggy skin
  • Cracked scales
  • Unable to shed skin
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Sunken in eyes
  • Yellow/orange urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dull in color
  • Weak

In many cases, it’s hard to tell when reptiles are uncomfortable or sick.  This is because they hide their emotions so well. They have also survived for centuries in arid lands with scarce water sources.

They can pull moisture from humid habitats in the wild, but we have to manage these conditions much better in captivity. Proper husbandry, maintenance, supplementation and routines will help prevent dehydration.

Questions To Ask Yourself About Iguana Dehydration

We ask ourselves questions internally all long about what we are doing correctly. Did I forget my keys? Where’s my phone? We wonder to ourselves about what we should eat and plenty of other questions.

Here are some questions you should be asking yourself about whether or not you are proactively preventing dehydration in your iguana:

  1. Did I check humidity levels today? Are they at or around 70%?
  2. Is the substrate supporting or hindering humidity levels?
  3. Is the water in the enclosure clean and fresh?
  4. Are there cool down areas in the tank?
  5. Is the basking area warm or high in UVB temperature?
  6. Is there any fluid that can be absorbed from the food I am offering?
  7. Is the enclosure clean?
  8. Does my iguana look normal or do I see sunken eyes, saggy or tight skin?

The more you pay attention to these daily needs and ask questions, the more you can support the daily requirements for your iguana to remain happy and healthy in your home.


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.