||Nine months old|
||Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada|
birthday is January 26, so my boyfriend and I saved for four months to
buy Saule (pronounced SAW-leh) as my birthday present. We have had the
little guy all picked out at the exotic pet store since October, and I had
been researching his species for longer than that. Due to the fact that
Saule has not yet reached maturity, it is impossible to tell what gender
it is. I say "he" because all the other lizards we've had have been male.
Saule is an herbivore, and is very particular about what he eats. My
research told me that he would like to eat lots of parsley, and so I
immediately offered him parsley. He wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
It took me a while to figure out that he will only eat Romaine lettuce. I
even tried to mix the parsley and lettuce together, and he licked every
single piece of vegetable in his tank and picked out all of the lettuce,
leaving the parsley scattered and trampled into his sand. I haven't
bothered offering parsley since then.
His instincts tell him to burrow into the sand to sleep, and so several
times a day he makes a big spectacle of marching around to find the
warmest spot of sand (preferably under a rock or in his little cave), push
away the top layer with his arms, and then do a full body wiggle (much
like a snake) to burrow half-way into the warm sand. He digs and burrows a
lot, especially in and around his cave. It worries me, because I have run
a heat cord through his sand to help keep him warm enough, and every time
he borrows, he uncovers a section of the cord.
The desert iguana species is not closely related to the Giant Green
Iguanas, and so Saule will only be about 16 inches long (head to tail)
when fully grown. Desert iguanas are also runners, so he has one really
long toe on each hind foot to help propel him through the sand faster.
When he's decided that he doesn't want to be caught, it is very difficult
to catch him! Desert iguanas have built-in thermometers; the warmer they
are, the whiter their skin appears to be. When Saule is cold, his skin
will be so dark grey that the black markings seem to blend right in. After
a good long nap his belly and legs are very very white, and the black
markings are very prominent.
Once I do manage to catch him, he settles down very quickly on my hand and
has even spent up to an hour on my shoulder while I did housework. He is
fascinated by the turtle (desert iguanas are naturally curious creatures)
and was delighted to be introduced to her, turtle style; smelling and
licking each other's noses.
I recently bought a big thing of juvenile iguana pellets to try and add
some variety in his diet (as well as some more nutrition!) and he doesn't
like them, surprise surprise. So I have taken to chopping his lettuce
really tiny, watering down a few pellets, and mushing the lettuce and
pellets together. It forces him to eat some nutritional pellets if he's
I love my baby to pieces and wouldn't dream of choosing a different pet at
this time. Best birthday present ever :)
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