Do Iguanas Eat Meat? Can It Be Harmful?

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Iguanas are known to be herbivores, However, they will occasionally feast on live insects, and naturally, when you see these Iguanas or any other reptile-eating insects you would think that they are meat eaters right?

Well, not necessarily, “but still” if you have seen this or have read about iguanas eating insects you will start asking yourself this very question do Iguanas eat meat?

The short answer is No! Adult Iguanas are herbivores “but” young iguanas, however, will eat insects to boost their protein diet and help them gain mass and add fat as they grow, once an iguana reaches adulthood they become herbivores, no meat.

Now, if you have a pet iguana and are wondering if they can eat red meat then the answer is NO! Iguanas will eat anything you give them including meat but “if they do” your iguana could end up with serious digestion issues.

Do Young Iguanas Eat Meat?

Now, there are some people that say iguanas are vegetarian, and although this may be true for full-grown iguanas that’s not the case for their young.

Juvenile iguanas have been known to eat insects regularly and they do this to get extra protein as they grow “but” adult iguanas on the other hand no longer need that boost in protein and stop eating meat.

With that said, iguanas can still eat insects if, given the chance, they just prefer to eat green vegetation.

An Iguanas diet is very similar to the bearded dragon “But” where the bearded dragons still require live insects to balance their diet adult iguanas do not and can live on 100 percent vegetation.

Now, according to the University of Florida young, green iguanas will eat the droppings of adult iguanas to acquire the gut bacteria they need to digest plant material.

Do Iguanas Eat Meat In The Wild?

Iguanas are known to eat meat in the wild especially the young ones, however, as mentioned once they reach adulthood they will stere away from living food and eat more vegetables.

If you have a full-grown pet iguana then, of course, you can still feed them insects and if they want to eat it they will. This won’t cause any harm to your reptile just as long as you feed them insects as a snack and not as a main meal.

Live food such as crickets, mealworms, and pinky mice are enjoyed by iguanas but are not necessary and are considered by some to be poor dietary choices. If fed, they should be offered infrequently.

Most adult iguanas choose to eat more vegetation but this doesn’t mean that they don’t like insects or they just can’t eat them anymore, of course, they can! they just choose not to.

“Iguanas can happily live off vegetation, however, it doesn’t hurt to feed them a big juicy grub every now and then as a snack, “just don’t spoil them”

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Can Iguanas Eat Red Meat?

Now, some people may get confused about the types of meat an iguana can eat, and knowing that iguanas can eat insect meat you might come to think that it ok to feed them red meat right?

Well, this is not the case.

Although red meat is perfectly fine to us humans to iguanas this is a big “NO” and the fact that red meat contains animal proteins can make your iguana very ill and could lead to a lot worse.

If your iguana was to eat this meat it can cause a variety of problems, for example, things like organ damage, digestion issues, and vomiting, which all could lead to premature death.

Live insects have a completely different type of nutrition and proteins to red meat and this is why they can it insects without any problems.

However, with that said, even then, the iguana still has to limit the number of insects they eat to avoid any issues and mix it with planet material so they get all the nutrition they require to survive.

Can Iguanas Eat Cooked Meat?

The same goes for cooked meat. If you’ve just cooked some red meat and are thinking about feeding it to the iguana then NO! you should not do this.

Not only will they get ill and suffer from all the problems mentioned above “but” they will find it extremely hard to chew on and could end up choking on the meat.

Even if you chop the meat into manageable pieces is not worth risking your replies health. If you want to spoil your iguana they will enjoy live insects more and will benefit from it.

If you have a small iguana it is best to feed them live food that is manageable for example, other types of insect-like worms that are easier for them to eat and digest.

Can Iguanas Eat Insect Meat?

Now, there is a variety of insect meat iguanas can eat that are full of proteins, calcium, and other trace minerals, that will benefit the reptile’s diet “but” only if you feed them correctly and infrequently.

To give you an idea here is a list of some of the insects iguanas eat.

Types Of Insect Meat Iguanas Eat:

  • House Flies
  • Roaches
  • Crickets
  • Worms
  • Grubs

Young iguanas occasionally feed on these types of insects for additional protein to help in their development, however, the nutritional values vary based on the insect.

House Flies

Houseflies believe it or not actually be a vital source of dietary variety for certain reptiles that need a smaller and softer type of prey to feast on. Which are perfect for feeding small iguanas that provide calcium


Iguanas will have no problem eating roaches, not only that but they provide more of the nutrition they require to stay healthy than other insects on the food chain.


Crickets are one of their favorite foods and they will eat them like no tomorrow. If your dragon is under 3 months old, then you should offer them crickets up to 5 times a day.


Worms are packed with healthy proteins and fats which again improve your reptile’s health. There are many different types of worms you can feed to a young iguana, typically the smaller short type worms are the best for young iguanas.


Grubs are a fantastic source of nutrients that are not only enjoyed by replies but by humans too. These grubs are great for young iguana and for gaining mass as they grow and not to mention being one of the most energy-dense macronutrients in food.

Nutrition From Insect Meat

So as you know insects can provide high amounts of nutrition for younger iguanas to help boost their development. If you have a pet iguana always feed insects that provide the highest nutrition “listed above” that they would eat in the wild.

Just remember to also feed them plant vegetation with these insects so they have a balanced diet, this way they get all the nutrients they require.

Nutrition From Insects

House FliesSource of calcium
RoachesRich in protein, low in fat
CricketsProtein and calcium
MealwormsGood source of Calcium
GrubsHigh in protein

Iguanas Diet

Typically an iguanas diet is made up of leaves, lettuce, fruits, and vegetables. However, as mentioned Iguanas do eat some meat if they are given the chance.

In the wild, adult iguanas will eat different types of plants, making up around 80 to 90 percent of their diet. If you already own a pet iguana then it’s always best to try and replicate their diet.

“But” with that said, depending on where you live in the world, it can be quite hard to find certain leaves and vegetation that iguanas eat in the wild

So to solve this problem there are other greens you can feed to your Iguana as a replacement, for example…

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Collard
  • Heart cabbage
  • Mustard greens
  • Dandelion greens

Now, there are some greens you can feed to your iguana “but” Let’s not forget about fruits which also healthy for your pet iguana. Just be sure not to feed your iguana any fruit that’s high in citrus as this can cause digestion issues.

  • Kiwis
  • Mango
  • Melons
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

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So now you know iguanas do eat meat, but as before only as a snack not as their main meal. However, red or cooked meat on the other hand is a big no!

If you want to treat your iguana it’s better to feed them live insects which will be much more beneficial to their health. Live insects can usually be found at any pet store.

Also, don’t forget you can feed them other fruits and vegetables just make sure you wash any fruit and vegetables and remove any skin that will be tough for the iguana to eat.

Washing vegetables is very important as this removes any pesticides that can be harmful to the iguana and it’s also recommended that you feed that food that fully organic.