Using more affordable materials or simplifying the cage design may help you to reduce the costs of building a cage for your green iguana (Iguana iguana). Because iguana cages are usually custom built to suit the keeper, the lizard and the space available, each is somewhat unique. This means that few strategies, techniques or materials are suitable for reducing the costs in all cases. Accordingly, you must apply these strategies to your own situation.
Basic Cage Design
Most iguana cages are essentially large boxes, built from sealed wood, plastic, glass, metal wire or a combination of the three. The cage must be accessible and easy to clean, so smooth surfaces are preferred. As iguanas may exceed 6 feet in length, they require closet-size cages. Young lizards need 55- to 75-gallon aquariums; adults require 6-foot-tall cages with 50 square feet of space or more. The cage will have to be able to accommodate heat lamps, UV lights, thermometers, and large climbing branches and perches. Iguana cages require ventilation, but the amount necessary varies from situation to situation. A cage kept in an air-conditioned room will dry out with too much ventilation; a cage in a humid basement will need additional ventilation.
Savings by Design
While you must always provide for all of your pet’s needs and seek to give him the highest quality of life possible, your budget will play a role in determining the level of amenities included in the cage. Waterfalls and live trees are worthy additions for your iguana’s cage, but they are not necessary and they drastically raise cage cost. Additionally, such items take up space and require that you increase the cage size to prevent crowding. Keep your iguana's cage from becoming cluttered.
If you are building your iguana’s habitat yourself, the materials represent the majority of the cost; shop around for the best prices. Choose economy hardware over premium; consider purchasing “scratch and dent” materials and fixtures -- such as a heat lamp with a bent shroud. Because the cost of different materials varies from one geographic region to the next, substitute one for another: If the price of wood in your area is high, build the cage from plastic. Instead of purchasing expensive climbing branches, collect and prepare your own branches. Keep an eye out for sales on sliding glass doors, which you can use in place of cage walls.
Repurposing an Existing Closet
If you have a spare closet or bathroom, you may be able to convert it into an iguana cage. You will still have to provide the iguana with heating and lighting fixtures, climbing perches and water dishes, but you will also need to take steps to protect the room from damage. Nevertheless, because you do not have to construct a structural box, you can use thin materials, which will reduce the cost of the habitat. For example, while you may need three-quarter-inch plastic sheeting to construct a free-standing cage, quarter-inch plastic would suffice to protect closet walls from spills and damage.