Can Turtles and Iguanas Be Friends?

Yellow Foot Tortoise & Iguana

Yellow Foot Tortoise & Iguana

This was a question I’d never thought to ask – until yesterday, when Allen and I visited our friend AJ, an iguana rehabber. We see AJ at every reptile show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. (Another show coming up this Sunday, July 13.)

She’s usually there with one or more iguanas who need homes, along with Merlin, an iguana who has the run of her Connecticut home, which she shares with her husband, two sons and approximately 35 other iguanas. (I didn’t get an exact read on the lizard population — the number may be higher, though I doubt lower.)

Just as many turtle lovers start out with one turtle, AJ started with one iguana, a birthday present from her family 12 years ago. Then, a friend wrote a story for a local publication about her iguana, and included AJ’s phone number. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since,” says AJ.

I knew that we’d be seeing a large number of lizards; I just didn’t realize that AJ also keeps turtles, tortoises (and frogs). Or, that her tortoises coexist quite nicely with her iguanas, as you can see, above and below.

The iguanas also coexist (for the most part — gotta separate the dominant males) very well with each other. And many enjoy a swank picture window habitat.

The turtles in our house should have it so good!

Fast friends

Fast friends

Red Foot Tortoise and Iguana
This is the life!

This is the life!


Turtle & Iguana Habitat



Filed under iguanas, Turtles, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Can Turtles and Iguanas Be Friends?

  1. AJ

    Lovely photos! The numbers are about right; the other half of the population consists of frogs, turtles, and other lizards. I’ve always found tortoises to be quite affable and to take great delight in companionship with their fellow reptilians of all stripes. I’ve had many a rhino lay her eggs in a tortoise habitat, but my best chelonian-iguanid interaction tale features Daliah, the Florida River Cooter and Bronte, the “Marine Iguana.” Before Daliah moved into her current 150-gallon home, she lived in the 75-gallon tank against the back wall – the one that you see when you look through the front door of the house. During Bronte’s extensive career as the Beta male Green Iguana on the main floor, he would often hang out and pretend he was a Bearded Dragon and bask in their tank, or go and take a swim in Daliah’s tank. He would sit perfectly still at the bottom of the tank for lengthy periods and anyone looking through the front door would exclaim: “there’s a dead iguana in that tank.” “Oh that’s just Bronte. He and Daliah are good buddies and like to hang out together.”

    : ) AJ

  2. Kelsey Nay

    I live in fishers indiana and i have an 8 year old tortoise and a 4 month old iguana! we would love to put them together when are iguana gets a little bit larger. Do you have any tips for introducing them to each other without conflict! Are tortoise is very friendly and is used to being around other animals, he is extremely spoiled! hand fed most of the time! But also i am strongly considering starting a tortoise rescue and i was wondering if you had any tips on that? Thank you so much for all of your help!


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