You are looking for a pet reptile and you narrowed your options down to two AMAZING lizards. Iguana Vs Bearded Dragon. But how could you possibly choose the PERFECT pet for you from two such stunning pet lizards? Worry no more because I am here to help.
There are several aspects you MUST consider when comparing these two amazing reptiles. In today’s post I am going to lay down for you the main differences between bearded dragons and iguanas so that you make an educated and responsible decision.
Fortunately, I have put together what I believe to be the ultimate comparison between iguanas and bearded dragons. Some of the aspects we’ll be looking at are temperament, price, diet, size, cage setup, etc. This is a facts-based comparison meant to help you choose the right pet lizard for you.
Main Aspects Compared
- Difference In Cost
- Difference In Size
- Difference In Lifespan
- Difference In Diet
- Difference In Behavior
- Difference In Cage Setup
- Iguana Vs Bearded Dragon: PROS For Each
- Iguana Vs Bearded Dragon: CONS For Each
Difference In Cost
Generally, where you buy your reptile will have a significantly affect the price. I recommend that you buy your reptile from reputable breeders as these guys can provide the animals with better conditions from housing to a stress-free environment, diet, handling, etc.
Meaning that the chances to get your hands on a healthier and happier reptile are MUCH higher when buying from a reputable, certified, well-known reptile breeder.
Bearded Dragons don’t cost a LOT to buy, but the cost to care for them is a bit higher than the cost of buying one. Expect to pay for a bearded dragon anywhere between $20 to $150, with baby bearded dragons being on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
However, the price can seriously fluctuate depending on the bearded dragon morph you would like to buy. Generally, the Classic Bearded Dragon Morph is one the cheaper end of the spectrum, whereas a more rare Bearded Dragon Morph such as the Red Bearded Dragon, Zero Bearded Dragon or Witblit Bearded Dragon will cost you some extra money to buy.
Iguanas can cost you anywhere between $10 to $550. Green Iguanas are the most common and therefore, the cheapest. Buying a Green Iguana can cost you anywhere between $25 to $70, depending on where you buy it from.
Some other, more rare types of Iguanas such as the Rhino Iguana are known to be WAY more expensive than the common Green Iguana with prices ranging from $400 to $600.
The most expensive Iguana I have seen so far is a Baby Translucent Albino Scaleless Iguana that was sold for no less than $3,000. Now, if you ask me, that’s a whole lot of money to be paying for a pet lizard.
The Red Iguana is another type of Iguanas that are popular as pets and they cost anywhere between $70 to $120. Least but not last, the Blue Iguana is another Iguana worth taking a look at since they’re more rare than the common Green Iguana while still affordable with prices ranging from $150 to $250.
Regardless of what you decide after reading this comparison between the iguana and the bearded dragon, I do recommend that you check out the link below and take a look at the morphs listed for sale on the website of one of the most reputable and trustworthy reptile breeders in the US.
Use the cbreptile5 code to get a 5% discount on your first order.
Difference In Size
When it comes to size, the bearded dragon can range anywhere between 18 to 25 inches in length and weigh around 0.5 to 1.5 pounds. Some specimens can grow larger than that but only slightly and that happens very rarely. But regardless of their species, bearded dragons generally don’t grow bigger than 25 inches.
Iguanas, however, grow WAY bigger than bearded dragons. It is important to note that there are a lot of species of Iguanas that can be kept as pets, from larger and popular ones such as the Green, Blue , and Rhino to smaller types of Iguanas such as the Spiny-Tailed, Desert Iguana & Fiji-Crested Iguana.
As a general rule, expect male Iguanas to grow bigger in size than their female counterparts. With that being said, the Green Iguana can grow anywhere from 3.7 ft to 5.6 ft [1.2 m to 1.7 m], whereas the Rhino Iguana is a bit smaller but can still get as big as 4.5 ft. [2.0 ft to 4.5 ft].
Another large species of Iguana that ca be kept as a pet, which is fairly popular as well, is the Blue Iguana which can grow anywhere between 2.3 ft and 3.0 ft [1.1 m to 1.5 m].
Taking a look at the smaller species of Pet Iguanas, the Spiny-Tailed Iguana can grow from 4.9 inches to 40 inches, while the Desert Iguana can grow to 16 inches in length and the Fiji-Crested Iguana can grow to 30 inches in length and weigh about 300 grams.
Difference In Lifespan
There’s really not much of a difference between the Iguana and the Bearded Dragon when it comes to how long they live.
The average lifespan of a well cared for Bearded Dragon is between 8 to 14 years, whereas a well cared for Iguana can live on average anywhere between 10 to 12 years.
Both lizards average shorter lives in captivity since they have to deal with plenty of predators, which is not the case in captivity. However, if you wish for your reptile – Iguana or Bearded Dragon – to live a long life you need to learn how to properly care for it.
Both Iguanas and Bearded Dragons can live WAY shorter lives than the average mentioned above if they are poorly cared for.
Difference In Diet
Iguanas are 100% herbivores, meaning that only need animal protein to survive, whereas Bearded Dragons are omnivores, meaning they need both animal and plant protein to live a healthy, happy life.
However, if the thought of having to deal with live insects freaks you out, maybe the Iguana is a better option for you since they only need green leaf vegetables, combined with some fruits from time to time.
Both reptiles need supplements and vitamins in captivity, so not much of a difference here. Note that feeding a Bearded Dragon will cost you more than feeding a Iguana since they need to be fed live food as well.
Expect to pay anywhere between $10 to $25 to feed a Bearded Dragon. Baby Bearded Dragons need to be fed 80% animal protein and 20% plant protein, costing you more money to feed them in the early stages of their life since they need more live insects.
Iguanas are on the lower side of the spectrum when it comes to how much you have to spend on their food. Expect to pay anywhere between $20 to $40 per month feeding your iguana.
PRO Tip: Multiply those numbers by 12 to get a feel for much much will the food alone cost you on a yearly basis.
Difference In Behavior
By far the BIGGEST difference between the Iguana and the Bearded Dragon is the temperament.
The Bearded Dragon tends to be a very laid back, calm, easy going reptile, whereas it is not uncommon for Pet Iguanas to always be cranky, aggressive, downright irritable.
After reading 15 books [10 on Bearded Dragons + 5 on Iguanas] and hundreds of articles and forums, I can tell you for sure that the #1 reason Bearded Dragons are shooting through the roof in terms of popularity is due to their laid back attitude, which contributes to their reputation as one of the best and friendliest first-time pet reptiles.
Meaning that this is your first attempt to owning a reptile, I definitely recommend that you go for the Bearded Dragon. There’s no doubt that you will learn plenty of useful things about them, from feeding and habitat to behavior and handling techniques, which will help you going further in case you will EVER consider owning a more difficult, time consuming, cranky reptile.
The Iguana is an animal only seasoned owners should keep as pets. In fact, those very experienced owners are the first to say that new reptile owners should stay as far away as possible from Pet Iguanas.
Although a VERY smart lizard, the Iguana is not as loving, laid back, and docile as the Bearded Dragon. In fact, it’s no secret that 99% of Iguanas are cranky, aggressive, and don’t like to be handled…even the smaller ones.
PRO Tip: If this is your first attempt at owning a reptile, consider buying a Bearded Dragon. Iguanas are NOT beginner-friendly pets to own.
Difference In Cage Setup
If you’re looking for a reptile that requires a simpler cage setup, the Bearded Dragon is going to WIN this round hands down.
Adult Bearded Dragons can live just well in a 75 gallon tank [ideally 120 gallon], plus an UVB Light, a Basking Bulb, some basic substrate [you can even go for newspaper], basic decor and that’s it.
On the other hand, the Iguana is going to require a WAY much larger space in order to grow strong and live a happy, healthy life.
The for example the Green Iguana. The Green Iguana is going to require a 8 feet long, 4-6 feet deep, and 8 feet high cage to live healthy…at least. That’s a huge cage compared to a 75 gallon tank.
As you can expect, these cages aren’t cheap either. It is recommended that you build your own cage to house your Iguana, and if you don’t know how have someone help you. The cage alone can cost you at least $500.
It is imperative to remember that Iguanas are arboreal species [live in trees], meaning they need a high cage in order for them to be able to climb. The PERFECT Iguana Cage Height is at least 6 feet high, ideally 9 feet high.
Lastly, maintaining a proper temperature in a Iguana’s cage is WAY more difficult since these are way larger cages. Be prepared for a lot of work if the Iguana is what you choose to go for.
Iguana Vs Bearded Dragon: PROS For Each
Assuming you now have a SOLID understanding of what the MAIN differences between Bearded Dragons and Iguanas are, let’s quickly take a look at the PROS of owning each one of these stunning, amazing, astonishing species:
- Extremely Beautiful Lizard
- A LOT Of Fun To Watch
- Very Intelligent
- Big, Strong Body
- 100% Herbivorous [Easy To Feed]
- Live a LONG Life
Bearded Dragon PROS
- Docile, Laid Back Lizard
- Beautiful & Like To Be Handled
- Fun To Watch
- Don’t Require TOO Much Space
- Decent Size
- Live a LONG Life
- Easy To Handle
- Beginner Friendly
- Great For Kids
- Low Maintenance
Iguana Vs Bearded Dragon: CONS For Each
As much as I like each one of the these lizards, I like to believe I am able to be objective and come up with some of the CONS of owning each one of them. Let’s take a look at that next.
- Usually Aggressive, Cranky & Irritable
- Sharp Teeth & LONG Claws
- Not Beginner Friendly
- VERY Unpredictable Behavior
- NOT Good For Kids
- VERY Expensive To Own
- Require a LOT Of Space
- They’re ALWAYS Looking For Ways To Escape
Bearded Dragon CONS
- They NEED To Be Fed Live Bugs
- Somehow Costly Diet
I really hope that by now you have a BETTER understanding of which pet is more suitable for you and your family.
To sum all this up in a simple, concise phrase let me say that these two reptiles – while both amazing reptiles – could not be ANY different.
With the Bearded Dragon being VERY docile and easy to handle, while the Iguana has a very unpredictable behavior but mostly cranky and aggressive.
I hope you enjoyed this article or that least helped you make an educated and responsible decision.
Have a GREAT day ahead,
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