"My iguana just shook water out of her mouth!"

Sunday, October 4, 2009
The other night Iggy did something very strange. I was petting her while she was in her enclosure- as usual, she was really enjoying it and had both her eyes closed. About ten minutes prior, I gave her about 3 small pieces of a banana for a little snack. All of a sudden she shook her head back and forth very quickly while spilling out about 1 teaspoon of water, almost like she was vomiting but without any force. I was stunned and didn't really know what had just happened. She then stuck her head up in the air and kept swallowing.

Some of the liquid got on my arm- after smelling it and, yes, touching it- it appeared to be just water and maybe a bit of saliva. It was clear not cloudy, had no odor, and was runny like water. I stood there in shock for a minute before I ran to the Green Iguana Society message board and made a post asking for help.

I kept checking on Iggy and she seemed fine, as if nothing happened. When she shook the water out of her mouth there were no noises, no coughing or choking actions and it was over in a couple of seconds.

The first response I got made me even more scared but after thinking it over it just didn't make sense. Someone suggested she may have water in her lungs and I needed to go to the vet. This couldn't be right because she didn't cough it out- she just shook it out of her mouth, as if it were actually just sitting there. She is not sick and I had a feeling it was a freak occurrence- but why!?

The next few people who responded really helped me narrow down what it could have been. I am 98% sure that the banana pieces I gave her were too large. After gulping them up, they sat in her throat for a bit while saliva accumulated, then when it was too uncomfortable she opened her mouth and shook her head to shake the water/saliva out.

Some helpful posters told me that they had seen their iguanas do the same thing. Either after eating or drinking too fast, drinking and then changing their minds about it, or eating pieces of food that were too large. Others told me that sometimes if their iguana had been "snalting" a lot, it's possible for the snalt/saliva to gather before the igg shakes it out.

This is a picture of the liquid that came out, you can see it appears on both the left and right side which is the effect of her shaking it out of her mouth.

 After the head shaking, she put her neck up high and kept swallowing. I'd assume moving the bananas or other food out of the way.

Now, if you ever notice your iguana having difficulty breathing or they actually cough or make odd noises- this is most likely more serious. I was all set to take Iggy to the vet if she showed any more odd symptoms because I would never play around with her life like that.

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