Hints From Heloise

Saturday, June 12, 2010; 12:00 AM

Do You Want an Iguana?

Dear Readers: If you or your family is considering purchasing or adopting an IGUANA, there are a few things to seriously consider beforehand. Caring for an iguana can be time-consuming and expensive. They require a very special diet of greens, vegetables and fruit. Do not feed the iguana any animal protein, such as dog or cat food or dairy foods.

A full-grown iguana can weigh more than 20 pounds and measure up to 6 feet in length! Our source, the Green Iguana Society, recommends a cage of about 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall, with a heat source (called a basking light). With the room temperature at around 85 degrees, misting the cage will help with humidity. Artificial turf is a good choice for flooring.

Cleanliness is a must for iguanas. They require regular baths, which help them shed their skin. Make sure the water and food bowls are kept tidy, and clean the enclosure every day. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling the iguana.

Find a special reptile veterinarian (also called a herpetological or "herp" vet) to care for your iguana.

Handling the iguana also is important. They are, after all, wild animals, but interaction, human contact and playtime are vital. However, males still can become very aggressive during mating season! This is vital to know.

Check to see if there are iguana rescue organizations in your area. No matter where you get your iguana from, please understand that it is a huge responsibility.

These are just a few hints if you are thinking about welcoming an iguana into your home. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Evelyn Fitzsimmons of South Williamsport, Pa., sent a photo of her black-and-white cat, Meka, and her neighbor's black-and-white cat, Harley, greeting each other with a nose touch. Evelyn says, "Harley occasionally visits Meka, and he always greets her this way." To see Meka and Harley, visit www.Heloise.com. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: My mini schnauzer, Cabbie, greets my secretaries each day with a cheerful "woof" (or several) because she knows they will give her a treat (or several)! Speaking of treats, some grain-based biscuits can contain weevil larvae that may hatch later on. Freezing the cookies will kill the bug eggs. Pop them in the freezer for 48 to 72 hours. If you buy the snacks in bulk, break them into smaller portions in zip bags or mayonnaise jars, and freeze. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I use wire hangers to hang my hummingbird feeders. To keep the ants from getting into the feeders, I rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the top of the hanger and the neck. It works great. -- D.P., Seguin, Texas

And how to clean the oddly shaped feeder? Drop a spoonful of rice and some water into the glass bowl, and agitate carefully. The rice grains will scrub the sides and remove any mildew buildup. Rinse and refill. -- Heloise

(c)2010 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company