Fiji Crested Iguana 101 – Care, Size, Lifespan, Diet & More

Fiji crested iguanas are small reptiles that hail solely from the Fijian archipelago. Though once spread out among many islands, they are now concentrated only on the Fijian island of Yadua Taba.

These iguanas are beautiful bright green lizards with distinct horizontal white stripes and a crest running down their back. They are typically less than two feet long and weigh only a handful of pounds. They are diurnal, arboreal, omnivorous, and have docile temperaments. Unfortunately, they are not legal to own as pets in the US due to their endangered status!

Still, Reptile Ninja looks forward to when their species is once again plentiful and safe to own. And in anticipation of that day, read on to learn everything about them as a species and how to keep them as companions!

Fiji Crested Iguanas At A Glance

Natural habitatTropical dry forests on Fiji islands
SizeLength: 2-2.5 feet Weight: 3.5-4.5 lbs
AppearanceBright green with white horizontal stripes or bands, sometimes outlined in black
Lifespan10-15 years in the wild, up to 25 years in captivity
TemperamentDocile but can fight back when aggravated
Breeding seasonMist tank twice daily for sufficient droplets. A small water bowl left in the tank is necessary.
Enclosure size 4’ x 2’ x 3’
Temperature requirementBasking area of 95 °F, cooler area of 75 °F. 
*Heating and UVB lamps required
Humidity requirementDaytime: 70-75% Nighttime: 80-85% 
DietOmnivorous but primarily herbivore
Water requirementsMist tank twice daily for sufficient droplets. Small water bowl left in the tank is necessary.
Tank cleaningComplete cleaning at least once a month. Recommended daily spot cleans.
Cost and AvailabilityDifficult to obtain. Can cost upwards of $1,000++

Fiji Crested Iguanas: An Overview 

fiji crested iguana

Fiji crested iguanas are only natively found in Fiji. They were scattered around fourteen Fijian islands in the past, but today, 98% of their population exists on one island–Yadua Taba. This island is a National Trust of Fiji reserve and is, therefore, protected.

These animals are typically found in tropical dry forests at high elevations, from 656 to 1,640 feet above sea level.

The striped iguanas are categorized as critically endangered and at extreme risk of extinction. There are only an estimated 8,000-22,000 left in the wild.

The biggest threat these iguanas face is habitat loss due to fires, agricultural development, storms, and competition with invasive wild animals such as goats and feral cats.


fiji crested iguana on tree branch

Fiji Crested iguanas are giant, stocky lizards. They have emerald green scales with white or cream bands or horizontal stripes, sometimes outlined in black. This color combination allows for perfect camouflage amongst the foliage.

While the reptile is typically bright green, their scales can quickly darken up to black depending on how stressed they are due to their circumstances. Common examples that cause an iguana to turn dark are feeling too cold or approaching predators.

In contrast to their skin, their eyes are hypnotizing reddish-orange or pinkish-gold.

These lizards hatch from their eggs with their long tails and distinctive crests, from which scientists drew their species’ name. These crests are a row of little vertical spines that begin at the back of their heads and run the entire length of their backs. Each spine can grow to a little over half an inch long!

Editor’s Note
The Fiji crested iguana is often confused with the Fiji banded iguana. However, the crested iguana has white stripes, while the banded iguana has broader, bluish bands. The banded iguana is also notably smaller.


fiji crested iguana

Because the species is so rare, there is little data charting their growth.

However, we know that hatchling Fiji crested iguanas emerge from their eggs a tiny 3.5 inches. From then, it takes them about two to three years to reach their full-grown size. 

The adult Fiji crested iguana is 2-2.5 feet long and weighs 3.5-4.5 lbs.

This is only a third of the size of another popular pet, the green iguana. Adult green iguanas can grow up to 6.6 feet and weigh 9 lbs!

Behavior in the wild

fiji crested iguana on tree

Crested iguanas are found in tropical dry forests and spend most of their lives in trees, hardly ever coming down to the ground.

Their long tails give them the balance and skill to clamber from branch to branch as they travel across trees in the forest.

These iguanas are diurnal animals, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. They enjoy spending time in the shade of trees but will seek out heat and sunlight on cooler days.

Fiji crested iguanas are generally docile but can fight back when threatened. If their sudden black skin doesn’t scare predators away, they will expand their necks, bob their heads, and pounce toward the threat.


old fiji crested iguana

In captivity, Fiji crested iguanas can live up to 25 years old. However, these lizards’ average lifespan in the wild is only about 10-15 years.


fiji crested iguana hatching

Crested iguanas’ courtship and mating season begins with the calendar year, in January. The female will then lay her clutch of four to six white, leathery eggs a few months later, in March or April. 

Like other iguanas, the mother crested iguana will deposit her eggs in a hole in the ground to keep them safe while incubating for the next eight or nine months. This is one of the most extended incubation periods in the entire reptilian family!

Only the female typically stays to guard the nest during that period.

A month or two before hatching, a brown oval spot appears on the egg, marking where the baby iguana’s head will emerge. And finally, sometime in October or November, the hatchlings come alongside the beginning of the wet season.

Hatchling crested iguanas have dark green scales, which lighten to their standard bright green after a few hours.

Fiji Crested Iguanas As Pets

fiji crested iguana in tank

Many people are interested in having crested iguanas as pets because of their small size and docile nature. However, remember once again that they are momentarily illegal to own.

If you are considering getting one for yourself, read on to learn their requirements as pets.

Enclosure size

fiji crested iguana enclosure

Ideal Fiji crested iguana enclosures are roughly 4’ x 2’ x 3’ (width x length x height). This ensures enough space for them to have a warmer basking zone, a cooler area, and enough height for climbing.

Because these arboreal iguanas require plenty of plants and decorations to climb, explore, and crawl around. These plants also offer hiding spots when your pet needs a break from the light.

As with all reptile pets, your iguana needs plenty of fresh, moving air. Ensure there are ample vents on their enclosure’s front and back sides.

Editor’s Note
Use the same tank for your crested iguana throughout its life using decorations! Give younger, smaller iguanas plenty of plants to lessen the open space. Slowly remove the decorations as they grow to give them more room to move.

Enclosure substrate

Iguanas do not need any fancy substrate. 6-12 inches of simple, clean soil will work well as the flooring of their enclosure.

The natural soil helps absorb humidity and will be a perfect place for a nest should your pet be an egg-laying female.

Temperature and heating requirements

fiji crested iguana enclosure with lighting and heating

Crested iguanas love warmth! However, they also need a cooler zone to balance their body temperature. 

Therefore, two zones are necessary within your iguana’s enclosure: one side must be a basking area of 95 °F and the other side a cooler 75 °F.

All iguana tanks must have a heating lamp and a UVB light to control these varying temperatures. These lights must be kept on for 10-12 hours during the day but turned off at night to give your lizard clear night and day signals.

Install a simple reptile thermometer in its tank to ensure your iguana’s enclosure maintains its ideal temperature.

Difference between basking light and UVB light

Basking lights mainly provide heat for your pet using incandescent or halogen bulbs. 

On the other hand, UVB lights emit a particular light that allows your reptile to synthesize Vitamin D3, which they need to absorb calcium from their food. 

If you want to purchase only one bulb, several UVA + UVB bulbs, such as the Repti Zoo Reptile Heat Lamp, are available.

Humidity requirements

Crested iguanas in the wild live in high-humidity environments and will require the same in captivity.

Keep your pet’s humidity between 70-75% during the day and 80-85% at night.

However, remember that crested iguanas need lots of ventilation, too? This ventilation might blow your pet’s humidity away.

To compensate, mist or spray your pet’s enclosure at least twice daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to increase its humidity.


Fiji crested iguanas are omnivorous and need a diet of insects and greens.

Most of your iguana’s diet should be leafy greens rich in calcium. But they may quickly get bored if you repeatedly feed them the same things, so ensure you offer variety.

Greens you can feed your iguana include collard greens, kale, swiss chard, romaine, bok choy, and parsley.

You can also feed them escarole, alfalfa, turnip greens, beet greens, mustard greens, and dandelion.

Fresh greens must be provided daily, with the old greens discarded to avoid bacterial growth.

Iguanas enjoy the occasional insect, also. Popular insects for pet iguanas are crickets and locusts. These are typically dusted with supplement powder for an additional punch.

As a treat, iguanas will enjoy waxworms, mealworms, cockroaches, and grubs. However, since these are high in fat, they should only be given twice a week maximum and only as a treat.

These worms and cockroaches should only be given to older iguanas, one-year-old and up.

Editor’s Note
Should you get a supplement with Vitamin D3? If you are sure that your UVB lighting set up in the enclosure is perfect and your iguana is getting all the Vitamin D it needs, you can get a calcium-only supplement. However, if you aren’t sure, adding vitamin D3 powder to its insects is best.

Water requirements

Like many other reptiles, iguanas lick the leaves’ moisture in their enclosure to get hydrated. This is another reason why misting twice daily is vital!

Leave a small or medium-sized water bowl in your pet’s enclosure. This is not just for drinking–your iguana may take a quick bath to cool off or loosen its skin for shedding.

This water bowl must be kept on the cooler side of the tank since the heat from the basking end may cause the water to evaporate quickly!

Tank cleaning

Experts recommend thoroughly cleaning your tank every four weeks or so. This calls for removing your pet, all decorations, and all the substrate and thoroughly cleaning the enclosure with a reptile-friendly disinfectant.

All decorations should also be wiped down to ensure no bacteria stay alive.

However, if you are able, daily little cleans will be extremely helpful. At the very least, remove all uneaten food and any waste material at the end of each day!

All cleaning should be done during the day while it is warm outside and your iguana is awake. Ensure you return them to their tank at least an hour before you are scheduled to turn their basking lights off for the evening so they can reacclimatize.

These steps will ensure your pet iguana will have a clean, healthy environment to thrive in.

Typical behavior and temperament

Fiji crested iguanas are diurnal animals active during the day. They are primarily docile but can snap back if agitated or startled. They very rarely bite their owners.

As arboreal animals, they love hanging in trees and branches.

Like most reptiles, they don’t particularly enjoy being handled, but they can slowly be trained to be more tolerant of your touch. 


Fiji iguanas are rare and difficult to find. Should you find one from a breeder, expect to spend a few thousand dollars to obtain this iguana as a pet!

Generally, younger iguanas will always cost less than fully grown adult ones.

However, note that owning one in the US as a pet is illegal due to the species’ current conservation status.

Cheaper and more accessible iguana species you can consider as alternatives include the green iguana, desert iguana, red iguana, and blue iguana.

Common health issues 

Common issues of pet iguanas include

  • Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is caused by calcium and vitamin D3 deficiency.
  • Fungal skin infections caused by improper humidity conditions and a dirty tank
  • Mouth rot (infectious stomatitis) is caused by minor cuts and food stuck in your pet’s teeth.
  • Parasites (external and internal) caused by a dirty tank
  • Respiratory disease is frequently also caused by improper humidity conditions or insufficient ventilation

All these diseases can be prevented by ensuring your pet’s tank is always clean and receiving a healthy, well-balanced diet.

The only exception is MBD, which also calls for checking your reptile received adequate UVB lighting or calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements.

Be vigilant with your reptile’s temperament. Any sudden changes in behavior, whether sudden lethargy or sudden aggression, may be a sign of discomfort and an underlying disease.

Do Fiji Crested Iguanas Get Along with Other Pets?

two fiji crested iguanas on log

A pair of one female and one male crested iguana can live together without any problems. If you hope to breed them, this is an ideal setup!

However, you can only house one male iguana per tank. Male iguanas are territorial, and two males in one space may become aggressive with each other.

Pros & Cons of A Fiji Crested Iguana

Pros1. A smaller iguana species, easier to handle
2. Relatively cheap diet requirements
3. Docile temperament
4. Long lifespan
5. Low to moderate maintenance level
Cons1. Currently illegal to own in the US as a pet
2. Expensive 
3. Relatively large enclosure requirement

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is The Fiji Crested Iguana Important?

All animals are essential. Each one makes its unique contribution to the survival of the ecosystem of their natural habitats.

That said, the Fiji crested iguana has gained extra importance as the symbol of Fiji biodiversity conservation.

The Fijian government is working on a Species Action Plan for its three iguana species focusing on invasive predator control, habitat protection, education, and improved forestry and agricultural practices.

Where Can I Find Fiji Crested Iguanas Legally In The US?

Fiji crested iguanas have been granted zoo-export permits to the US from Fiji. Therefore, if you are curious to see a Fiji crested iguana with your own eyes, visit zoos such as the San Diego Zoo and Denver Zoo!


Fiji crested iguanas are small, docile reptiles that will add not only companionship but a literal burst of cheerful color to your life because of their emerald green skin.

Despite the temptation to keep one for yourself, Reptile Ninja urges interested owners to wait awhile. With conservation efforts running at full speed, their conservation status may soon lower to Species of Least Concern. Only then will they likely be available to be owned legally.

Until then, consider other popular iguana pets such as the green iguana, red iguana, blue iguana, desert iguana, and many more!

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