Extracted Nails

Injuries to toes and nails are often caused by entrapment. This can happen when Iguanas that are nervous or frightened react spooked while walking or crawling.

Tough dressing of the terrarium with chicken wire, holes and gaps can cause the Iguana to get stuck and hurt his toe.
Sometimes the part of the toe or nail is still attached to the foot by a slice of skin or tissue. It depends on the amount of tissue it is attached to whether you have to call the vet to remove the part or you can do it yourself. When it is just a small part of tissue connecting the nail to the foot, you can pull it off with a quick jerk. When you are not sure, always call a vet. When a toe is unnaturally positioned it might be it is broken. Consult a vet when this happens.


Submerge the toe in a hand-warm deluded Betadine solution (dissolve until it has the color of weak tea). Keep the toe submerged for about 5 minutes, then treat the wound with an antibiotic ointment. Use the ointment three times a day until the wound is completely closed.

Re-growing the toenail

The extent of the damage to the nail base will determine whether the nail will grow back.
The growth of a nail will happen very slowly.


Make sure the toes of the reptile are free of hooks, if not remove these with a bit of sandpaper. When the nails do not wear of naturally, they need to be trimmed. Check the terrarium for gaps and other objects the reptile could get stuck in. Try to make sure there are no places a toe or a nail can get stuck.

Author: Evert Henningheim

Elliot R. Jacobson, DVM, PhD, DACZM (2003) Biology, Husbandry, and Medicine of the Green Iguana. Original edition., Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, USA.

Source: Dr. Marja Kik, veterinarian for reptiles