Iguana Poop: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: September 15, 2022
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The Iguana is a member of the Order Squamata and the Family Iguanidae and it is mostly found in Central and South America. Iguanas are famous for their excellent sight and the complementary ability to communicate with visual signals. Like most other animals, iguanas poop, and this article details everything you need to know about their poop including what it looks like. Stay tuned! 

What Does Iguana Poop Look Like?


Iguana poop can be black, brown, or dark brown in color.


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Iguana poops, like a few other animals’ come in the form of pellets and can be brown, dark brown, or black in color. For little iguanas, it all drops in one ovate piece while adult iguanas have a fecal mass similar to that of a medium or small-sized dog. Iguanas may also excrete some urates in solid form as part of a fecal discharge as this helps them preserve water. The urates drop in the form of yellow and white pellets. 

On the whole, iguana poop can be black, brown, or dark brown in color, and the older the iguana, the larger the size of the poop. 

How Do Iguanas Poop?


The cloaca in iguanas is responsible for releasing waste.


Iguanas, like most other lizards and birds, have an opening called the cloaca which is responsible for ejecting waste- both pee and poop. Every time they need to do their business, all they have to do is pick a spot and let it rip. Like most other animals, they would have their hindquarters bent down a little bit which allows the feces to drop vertically.

Where Do Iguanas Poop?


Although iguanas live on land, they prefer pooping in water.


Iguanas are reptiles that live on the land which means they can poop anywhere they want. However, they do have a natural predisposition to pooping in bodies of water, including swimming pools. Iguana poop has been reported on docks, sea walls, and pool platforms. Some experts say this is a natural hygienic trait while others contend that it’s their way of not getting caught slacking by their enemies or predators. For people who have pet iguanas, if you are looking to potty train them, provide them with a body of water and watch them get comfortable. 

Why Do Iguanas Poop In A Pool?


Because iguanas prefer pooping in bodies of water, they can be found in pools.


Since Iguanas prefer to defecate in water, they often get into human swimming pools and defecate there. This has been a growing source of concern, especially for homeowners. Truth is, they don’t mean any harm; they just really prefer to do their business in a pool of water which is why they sometimes target swimming pools. When iguanas poop in the water, experts say it helps to stimulate their bowels and eases their stomach, especially if they are constipated. Some scientists have even posited that they poop in pools in an effort to conceal the smell. 

We understand how annoying it can be to constantly have to deal with iguana poop in your pool. There are a number of things you can do to prevent this including using a pool cover, installing wire barriers, setting up animal sprinklers, spraying them with a hose, and playing loud music/making loud sounds to scare them off. 

Is Iguana Poop Harmful?

One big reason people are so concerned with iguanas pooping in their pools besides the disgusting sight is possible infection. And, while we very much hold a soft spot for iguanas, the concern is valid because they actually carry an infection known as the Salmonella bacteria in their intestinal tracts and poops.

These bacteria, when transmitted, can cause Salmonellosis in humans, which is responsible for a range of symptoms including diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal pain, headache, bloody poop, puking, etc. Salmonella often lasts for about four to seven days and it’s typically not as severe as some other illnesses. However, in extreme cases, it could linger for a worryingly long time and may necessitate months of hospitalization. 

How Often Do Iguanas Poop?

As we mentioned before, iguanas poop like most other animals, and their poop gets bigger as they grow older. Adult iguanas, like a few other adult animals and even humans, also poop once or twice every day depending on how much food they’ve had. Hatchlings and little iguanas tend to poop multiple times a day and that’s because they often eat multiple times a day. A healthy iguana is not expected to go more than two days without pooping. If it happens, that might be a reason to suspect a number of problems including malnutrition, dehydration, stress, immobility, or point-blank starvation. If you have a pet iguana who doesn’t poop often enough, you should get a vet to come around and have it checked. 

What Do Iguanas Eat?

Much like most other lizards, iguanas are omnivorous animals. However, they are known to tilt more towards the herbivorous side as their favorite food includes buds, flowers, and leaves from fig trees. Young iguanas eat a lot more insects than older ones because they require high amounts of protein. Adult iguanas prefer and need a strictly vegetarian diet including vegetables, fruits, and flowers. 

Does Iguana Poop Smell?

Like feces from animals and humans, iguana poop does smell but not in an offensive or putrid way. You would have to take your nose really close to iguana droppings to actually smell it and even then, the smell wouldn’t be that bad compared to what is obtainable in humans or dogs. And that’s to be expected considering their predominantly vegetarian diet and the dearth of protein. We found that many people deem the smell “light and inoffensive.” Also, when iguanas poop in the water, the smell is likely to get submerged literally. 

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Maridav

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  1. Care Guides For Pet Lizards, Available here: https://www.lizards101.com/iguana-not-pooping-reasons-for-constipation-and-solutions/
  2. My Perfect Pool, Available here: https://www.myperfectpool.com.au/keep-iguanas-out-pool.html
  3. Our Reptile Forum, Available here: https://ourreptileforum.com/community/threads/excrement-of-healthy-iguana.12947/