Why Is My Iguana Not Moving? {3 Reasons Explained}

Sometimes my iguana acts frozen, motionless or just stares at me. Why is my iguana not moving?
I get paranoid about it because there could be some problems associated with this.

Hopefully, it’s only a case of slight discomfort or the need to adjust to a new environment. Unfortunately,  It could be much worse than that.

In this article, we don’t wish to scare you, but we should get deeper into the topic of why an iguana is not moving for a long period of time.

Why Is My Iguana Not Moving?

An iguana could stay still when they perceive a threat, even if there isn’t one. A new home, changes in temperature, sudden noises or high traffic areas with lots of activity around them can cause them to freeze up.

Alternatively, iguanas can:

  • freeze.
  • suffer shock from cold temperatures. 
  • develop Metabolic Bone Disease which limits their movement.
  • endure a calcium deficiency through improper diet, genetics or poor environment setup.

If your iguana is also not eating, not responding to any stimuli and remaining motionless throughout the day, please seek the assistance of a veterinarian for a full check-up and diagnosis.

Why Is Iguana Not Eating?

I was scared at first when my iguana stopped accepting the same fruits and veggies that he normally devoured. What happened to change his attitude and give up eating?

It turns out the humidity levels were not right and he was irritable about living in a dry setting. We bought a reptile humidifier and this helped flip his attitude and ignite his hunger.

There is no clear solution to get your iguana to eat when they have decided to fast. I’m wondering if your iguana is also lethargic or not moving for long periods at a time. Look into these possible reasons:

  • New environment
  • Changes in enclosure
  • Loud sounds
  • Too much activity around the enclosure
  • Wrong tank temperatures and humidity levels
  • Poor digestion
  • Breeding season
  • Sickness, infections

These reasons above involve further investigation, but the point here is to create a starting checklist for you to check off as you go through the possibilities of why your iguana is not eating or not moving.

How To Get Your Iguana Moving Again

Your iguana could need a lot of changes or some patience to adjust. Let’s review three cases such as:

  1. Digestion
  2. Temperatures
  3. Acclimatization

1. Digestion

Iguana need heat to digest their food. Provide UVB backlighting to increase digestion. Maybe they are not willing to move because their gut is uncomfortable.

Provide food earlier in the day and stop feeding 4 hours before turning off the lights at night.

2. Temperatures

  • Set up enclosure temperatures of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6-29.4 Celsius).
  • There should cool spots where it is around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-26.6 Celsius)
  • There should be basking areas as well where the heat from the UVB light makes it around 96-100 degrees Fahrenheit (35.5-37.7 Celsius).
  • If temperature ever drops under 40 degrees Fahrenheit or (21.1-23.8 Celsius) an iguana could freeze or die. Same goes for temperatures over 113 Fahrenheit (45 Celsius).
  • Please consult this article for much more helpful information on temperature concerns. 

3. Acclimatize or Adjust To New Settings

If the setup is new or your iguana is a new member of your household, help the adjustment phase by giving them space and peace. Leave them alone for a while. It’s ok if they don’t eat right away.

Reduce eye contact, don’t make physical contact yet and wait around 1-2 weeks before you engage in bonding.

Provide food, but don’t worry if they don’t eat much until the second week. Continue talking to your iguana even if they are not trusting you or the situation yet.

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Is My Iguana Sick?

An iguana that is not moving for a long time could be sick with an infection, disease or unidentified ailment. They are so good at hiding their emotions or problems that we cannot figure it out sometimes without professional help from a vet.

Here are some possible medical reasons why your iguana is not moving:

  • internal parasites
  • impaction
  • gout
  • bladder stone
  • neurological disorders
  • mouth abscess
  • inflammation
  • Metabolic Bone Disease

There could also be some unknown trauma that may have occurred under your care or previously before they arrived at your home. Check for spots on their body and use this article to help.

These accidents could have created fear or underlying medical conditions that are hard to notice, but may cause your iguana to look, feel or act sick to the point where they don’t move much or interact with you.

Did My Iguana Eat Too Much?

Your iguana could be too full. This may lead them to stop eating or moving. Adult iguanas can be fed daily or every other day. The amount of food varies according to their size, age and diet construction.

Juvenile iguanas around 2.5-3 feet in length should eat once a day. A gluttonous iguana that devoured too much plant material or other foods the day before may need a day or two off to bask under some heat lamps to improve and speed up their digestion.

They may choose not to move during this time. Impaction could lead to gut issues and inflammation. Keep an eye out for your reptile companion for the next day or two. See if they were able to pass stool and resume their normal amount of activity once again.

Final Thoughts

Iguana my not move because they are:

  • Scared
  • Not yet adjusted to their tank
  • Bothered by noise and activity around them
  • Too full
  • Dehydrated
  • Sick
  • New diet or poorly constructed diet
  • Calcium deficiency (Metabolic Bone Disease)
  • Tank is too small or too large
  • Too hot or too cold

We hope you are able to use some the information and tips in this article as a checklist of sorts to go through some of the reasons why your iguana is not moving.

Try to make one change at a time to determine the possible reason instead of doing too much at once. See what works and what doesn’t. This is all a part of the bonding, learning and experience required to get to know your iguana better.


Thank you for visiting PocketPetCentral.com 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.