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Adventures with Lizzy and Albert

Update: Albert the Water Dragon is added to the family!

Meet Lizzy


February 10, 2001

When Toni got Lizzie for her b-day in May (what else would an 18 year old want!), I had no idea what we were getting into! These are not 'a little pet' that you can keep in a cage, feed & water and then play with when the mood strikes! 

They start off as cute little things but boy when you feed them right they grow, fast! In May Liz was only about 10 inches long. It's now February and she's 21 inches already! And to think, she could grow to be 4 to 6 feet long! 

We refer to her as a 'she' but we don't know yet if Liz is male or female. It looks to me like the pores on her(?) hind legs are getting larger. That would tend to make one think that she's actually a he but my daughter insists that her name will always be Lizzy. I usually just call her Izzy.

She's still a bit on the wild side but I'm hoping with free rein that she calms down.

We knew nothing about these creatures until we got her and then took a crash course on the 'net'. Thank goodness for Melissa Kaplan's site or we may have inadvertently caused her some deformities due to a poor diet.  The pet store clerk didn't seem to know much about iguanas and the bit of info she gave was mostly misinformation. Melissa's site has everything you wanted to know about care of an iguana on it. And believe me, there's plenty to know!

Lizzie is finally getting us trained as to what she prefers to eat and how she likes her veggies chopped. Green beans (for example) need to be sliced lengthwise as opposed to just broken into smaller pieces. Go figure! Rappini is her all-time favorite. She prefers her peas cooked instead of fresh and her macaroni a-la-dente. And I thought kids could be fussy!!! It's funny how my thinking has changed, I used to root out any dandelions growing in the yard, now I'm looking forward to spring so there will be some fresh dandelion greens for her!

Also this morning ritual of a bath or her toilette. Kind of grossed me out at first, putting her in the tub to defecate but it certainly is better than cleaning it out of the cage. It's easy to disinfect the tub following.

We've decided that it's not fair to keep Lizzie in a cage (she started to get grumpy). We are going to try just putting her in it for the nights and when my smaller grandchildren are here. But for the most part, she'll be out and about. Now we are busy fixing things up so she can get around to the various window ledges and Iguana-proofing other areas. So far she prefers to stay in the kitchen. But then again we are in Saskatchewan and not getting a whole lot of sun right now. The kitchen window faces west so gets some nice, warm rays in the afternoon. Soon all the areas in front of the windows will look like little tropical zones with the branches for climbing, plants for effect and the occasional snack. That's my next project, getting edible plants growing for her. 

My own children weren't as much work but at the same time I'm having fun learning. Every day there is something new to learn. 

Does it sound like I do most of the leg work of caring for Lizzy? You know, I think I'm becoming Lizzy's human slave! 

February 13, 2001

Well, Lizzie has been (mostly) free-roaming for almost a week now. So far, so good. For the first few days we were putting her back in her cage when little kids were coming over. Now we just leave her be to get used to extra people. Of course she hasn't yet been left out when the 1 and 2 year old come over! Mostly for their own good, wouldn't want them to startle her and maybe get scratched or whipped. 

She's been getting a little braver and doing a bit more exploring. She even went over to the dog's dish and had herself a feed of dog food! Animal protein is not good for iguanas but I guess the occasional snack won't hurt as long as she has her fill of 'good stuff' early in the day. And I always make sure she has her fresh food after her morning bath. She's like a child, just when you think you have their likes and dislikes sorted out, they change them. Now she seems to have decided she doesn't like green beans. She just pushes them out of the way and eats the rest!

Last evening I went to put her in her cage for the night and couldn't find her. After a little panic search I found her sleeping on the counter, in between the toaster and breadbox! I must be relaxing in my old age because I used to freak (when we still had a cat) if an animal went on the kitchen counter. Now it doesn't seem to matter (too much), I just give it a good clean with an antibacterial spray. We're very careful not to leave food out on the counter.

I think I'll leave her out for the night in the next day or two. Maybe we can get rid of the cage unless we have a houseful of company. 

Oh, and bye the way she is calming down. Just needed to be free!

February 15, 2001

Hi again. I said that I would be leaving Lizzie free for night soon. Well, I haven't been able to do that yet. You see I go for back surgery in a few days, so figured I'd wait until after that.

She has been doing great at being a free-roamer from morning until late in the evening. She has found a 'favorite spot'. On top of my breadbox! Better there than beside something that she could get burned on, like the toaster.

I've fixed up her lamp over a window ledge with a chuck of log underneath to bask on. Doesn't see to hold her interest but then again who wants to stare out at the snow! Today I found out that it is necessary to move the few pictures I had on the window frames. Lizzie was climbing on one and it started to fall. I caught her (only a few scratches on my hand!) and took the pictures down before she fell and hurt herself.

Yesterday she was walking across the counter and stepped on the metal drain plug for the sink and fell off when it wobbled. she fell to the floor but didn't seem to hurt herself.

Only thing is she's not been eating very much for the last couple of days. Can't even tempt her with rappini and that's her favorite. I guess I'll just make sure that fresh food is always available and hope she eats a good meal soon. Maybe iguanas are like children and occasionally go off food for a few days.

She is unpredictable when it comes to handling. One time she seems to like being held, the next time she has no interest in being picked up. I won't let her get away with whipping me though, I still hold her until she calms down and then talk to her as I return her to a perch. Every time I go into a room she's in I spend a few minutes just looking directly at her and talking for a minute or two. Doesn't show her beard as much these days.

Just took a few pictures of her today and as soon as they come back from the shop, I'll put them on the site.

February 17, 2001

Getting braver, our Lizzie is!  We're finding her everywhere! 

We also have a dog, Echo. She's a dachshund/terrier cross about 8 years old. It's been very interesting watching her with Lizzie. Yesterday afternoon Lizzie decided to venture into the living room. Considering the difference in size between the two of them, it was very comical the way the dog ran and hid as soon as Lizzie entered the room. Now I know why Echo hasn't been eating much lately, she's afraid of going into the kitchen to eat because Liz is running loose in there! I wonder how long it will take her to get used to the iguana? Only time will tell.

February 27, 2001

Hi again, it's been a few days since I've been able to sit at the computer. had my back surgery on the 19th and have been home for a couple days now. What a change in Lizzy since the last time I've written!

We were putting her in her cage at night and then letting her loose after her morning bath. Well now she crawls into her cage herself when she's ready to sleep, usually about 9 pm.  I've even stopped closing the lid at night and she usually doesn't leave the cage until her morning bath is ready and she is taken to it. 

Congrats Lizzie, you're growing up!

The last week or so she hasn't been eating all that great and now I know why. She had been eating her fill at the dog dish! Well I've fixed that. Since the dog prefers to eat at night, now I put her bowl away in the day and replace it with Lizzie's bowl of veggies. You should have seen Liz the first couple of days when she'd get to the floor and there was no dog food! She'd just sit there and stare at the space the dish had been in for about five minutes. Then she'd finally give in and eat her greens.

Getting much braver about venturing throughout the house. Never know where she'll turn up next!

March 18, 2001

Oh, major shed happening! 


April 1, 2001

Boy, is this little one growing  and getting into mischief since last I wrote! She's had 3 major sheds in the last month! 

Lizzie still keeps to her regular bedtime of 8:30 or 9pm. On Saturday my grandson had a sleep-over (3 noisy boys!) and I guess Lizzie decided that she was staying up too. Didn't crawl into her cage until !! pm. Just that one night because the next she just carried on with her regular schedule. She's also begun using a little blanket at night to keep her warm. Made one from an old t-shirt. She even stays under it all night! Go figure!

Her appetite is growing tremendously. I now use a cat dish, fill it with greens and MK salad and she wolfs it down right after her bath. I've also begun growing greens for her at home since the grocers here don't usually carry what she needs. We have turnip greens, chicory and endive growing in pots all over the house! Now I just need to find collard seeds. Adds a nice bit of green to any room.

Lizzie is becoming the most pampered pet since I've been home. I'm always fussing with her food and such. Gives me something to do.

Still haven't got my film up for developing but will do so soon. So stay tuned for recent pics.

April 6, 2001

Well the sweet thing has decided that she is no longer going to sleep in her cage but rather on her log in the kitchen window! To each his own. Actually, it was nice to get rid of the cage. One less thing cluttering up the house! 

I'm setting up that area specifically for her with a heating pad for warmth since the window can be pretty cool at night. She has her basking light there already so that's no problem. Her food and water on a table under the window for easy access.

Now she's become a true free-roamer!

April 12, 2001

Lizzie is doing wonderful as a free-roamer! No little accidents around the house. I take her to the tub somewhere around 11 AM. She does her job and is fine until the next day.

She had a little accident this evening. got up into the piano windows and knocked a pile of pictures off the ledge. During this she took a tumble off the window herself, landing under some frames. I hadn't taken the pictures off those windows because I didn't think she could reach them but she climbed up the front of the brick fireplace and then took a flying jump. No apparent injuries noted, just scared. Scared us too because when she fell it was behind the TV stand and we couldn't reach her right away.

All's well now.

April 23, 2001

I was in the pet store the day before Easter. In a corner of a little aquarium sat a brown barely moving Water Dragon. He was all covered in a brown fungus and did not look happy at all. He appears to be about 6 - 8 weeks old.  I asked the clerk to take him out so i could see him. once I touched him, his name was Albert and he was coming home with me!

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