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 To help you understand the content of the following reviews faster, we have highlighted some of the main points covered. If you have more time, please read the entire text of all reviews, as they are very informative.



Reviewed in Bulletin of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV)
Reviewer - Nancy A. Carpenter, DVM

When I initially saw this book, I thought, "Here we go again, another iguana book by someone who thinks heís an iguana expert."  However, Mr. Hatfield does not claim to be an expert, and portrays himself as someone searching for the truth about iguanas.  He is a self-proclaimed iguana enthusiast that has gone farther than just writing a book for other iguana enthusiasts.  He has studied iguanas in Belize, Mexico and Costa Rica.  He has used a questionnaire about iguanas to poll over 800 iguana owners, veterinarians, pet stores, wholesalers, and zoos, and used that information in the book.  He has also raised his own wild caught male iguana.  Hatfield sought to write a book that filled the knowledge gaps about green iguanas.  It is obvious from reading this book that Mr. Hatfield is a very dedicated pet owner and that it was important to him to gather and portray accurate information in his book.

Hatfield uses an interesting format in writing this book that is a combination of information he has obtained from owning his own iguana Za, information from field researchers, and information and quotations from iguana owners that filled out his questionnaire.

Despite its over 600 pages, the book is very easy to read.  Hatfield has gone to great lengths to reference material that is presented in the book more than once by referring to the page(s) on which the information was previously found.  For those who absolutely canít (or wonít) read a full book, Hatfield has created what he calls "sidebars" which are set apart by black bars and bold lettering denoting an important thought or concept.

The focus audience for this book is people that are thinking of buying an iguana but have not yet done so.  It is intended to be very comprehensive so those people will learn and understand the complexity of owning an iguana.  We all know, however, that most people tend to buy the iguana first and the book second and probably only read the first few pages of the book.  I believe that because Hatfield uses ownersí actual experiences throughout the book, the new iguana owner will be captivated and read this book cover to cover.

One of the benefits of this book from a veterinary point of view is that it encourages the iguana owner to take the responsibility for learning how to raise a healthy iguana.  The book contains current accurate information regarding diet, lighting, care, etc.  The only major flaw that I found in this book was the anatomical sketch of the iguana on page 62 that shows the kidneys much too large and protruding well into the coelomic cavity.  In a normal iguana, the kidneys should not extend into the coelomic cavity from the pelvic canal.  It also shows a right testis that is larger and much more caudally positioned than I have noted in the adult male iguanas that I have necropsied.

From reading the table of contents, it is obvious that this is a very comprehensive book.  Topics covered include:  Chapter One: Natural history, with a detailed look at external and internal body parts.  Chapter Two: Iguanas as pets, are they right for you?  Chapter Three: Choosing an iguana.  Chapter Four: an extensive chapter on housing including habitat development and design, lights, heat, cooling, sensors and cagemates.  Chapter Five: Feeding, looks at their intestinal tract anatomy, what they should eat, do eat, will eat, right and wrong things to feed, supplements, and feeding frequency.  Chapter Six: Special Care, includes claw trimming shedding, bathing, defecation, etc.  Chapter Seven: Medical Troubleshooting, encourages iguana owners to find a knowledgeable reptile veterinarian.  Hatfield uses testimonials from iguana owners who, in conjunction with their veterinarians, have nursed their iguanas through long illnesses to emphasize the importance of a strong veterinary relationship.  Although he does cover some first aid methods that can be used at home, he does not suggest medications and always recommends a trip to the veterinarian.  Chapter Eight: Domestication: contains invaluable information on taming an iguana.  Chapter Nine: Breeding, discusses some wild breeding programs and also gives some eye opening descriptions on the tribulations of breeding these animals as pets.  The appendices are thorough and include bibliography, pet names, enclosure and nest box design.

I would recommend this book to anyone that is thinking of buying an iguana, anyone that owns an iguana and any veterinarian treating iguanas, no matter what level your expertise.  Now some of you might be saying, "What am I going to learn from another iguana book?  I have been treating iguanas for years and it is not a veterinary book."  However, I have always found that it is beneficial to know what our clients are reading and I donít think that we as a profession should ever take animal natural history and behavior for granted.  Without thorough knowledge of male iguana breeding behavior, female egg laying requirements, innovations in enclosure design and habitat development, we will have difficulty treating iguana diseases that have developed due to their captive environment.

If you have the opportunity to recommend reading material to someone who has not yet bought their iguana, this would be the book.  I enjoyed reading the book, and was interested in the ownersí anecdotes about their lives with their iguanas.  I think you and your clients will enjoy reading this book as well.




Reviewed in Reptilia -The European Herp Magazine
Reviewer - Steven Winchell

Here is a book that really feels like a proper manual.  The thick 670- page paperback is heavy in your hand, with the comforting solidity of a favorite dictionary or other trusted reference work.  The large iguana in the cover-photo is the perfect picture of health and contentment, nestled in the warmth of its owners handóapparent proof that this special man/beast relationship can be truly rewarding, and inviting us into the text to find out just how.

Thumbing through the book, we find relatively few photos and illustrations.  This is not a picture book.  It is a comprehensive, well-presented textbook, with plenty of clarifying headings, subheadings, sidebars, and boxes of special information.  Open to any page, and find an interesting point for easy entry into the world of iguanas, from essential basics to curious anecdotes and quoted comments by experienced iguana owners.  The book welcomes and satisfies the sporadic browser.  On the other hand, a responsible iguana keeper will want to read from cover to cover, and then keep the manual on a handy shelf for reference.

The table of contents is unusually extensive (9 pages!), providing clear and detailed information about what is to be found in each of the 9 chapters and 10 appendices.  With this outline, we can quickly see the logical organization of the text, and find sections in the book about numerous specific topics within the general areas of anatomy, physiology, behavior, adaptability to captivity, housing, feeding, grooming, health care, domestication, and breeding.

The amount and diversity of information collected in this single volume is impressive, making it hard to image that anything has been left out.  The tone of the text is that of a friend who, from many years of experience (both personal and gathering from others), knows what heís talking about.  A few dozen photos, drawings, and tables add useful and clear illustration.

If any book can claim to be the "ultimate" in its field, this manual for iguana owners certainly does a good job of living up to its name.  Anyone with any interest in iguanas, especially as pets, will surely find Green IguanaóThe Ultimate Ownerís Manual to be enjoyable reading and a veritable encyclopedia of valuable information.




Reviewed in Pet Reptile (England)
Reviewer - Fred Holmes

If you have ever considered owning an iguana, then donít, at least not until youíve read James W. Hatfield IIIís book "Green IguanaóThe Ultimate Ownerís Manual".

You may detect a lack of modesty in the title, but let me assure you, its contents more than back up the boast.  This book really is an excellent read, being both easy to understand and very well documented.

There are case studies from hundreds of owners, but most important of all itís fun to read.  Every aspect of iguana husbandry is documented in great depth with a user-friendly style of writing.  Coupled with this is a very agreeable and simple to use cross-referencing system meaning you can find the parts you need with the minimum of delay and frustration.

I thought I knew a lot about iguanas, but this book has put me firmly in my place.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and itís obvious that the author has a passion for his subject.  He cares about them intensely and if you buy this book, it wonít be long before you do too.



Reviewed in Reptilian magazine (England)
Reviewer - Tom Burgess, Editor

The green iguana, despite the fact that it is in many ways unsuited to the average household, remains one of the most popular of all captive reptiles. It is, therefore, surprising that until now there have been relatively few really good books published about this species and a decent manual on keeping iguanas has been long overdue. 

Now, however, comes the publication of the one book that every iguana owner should own a copy of: GREEN IGUANA - The Ultimate Owner1s Manual by James W. Hatfield III. The book is the result of 5 years of research and is the largest, most comprehensive, up-to-date and easy-to-read book on the subject. 

Hatfield, being a green iguana owner himself, decided to write the book after distributing a questionnaire to hundreds of iguana owners, veterinarians and people in the pet trade across the U.S., Canada and Europe. He also drew from his own field research in the jungles of Mexico and Central America. 

This work really lives up to its name as the "ultimate" manual on green iguanas. Covering areas that include: 
Choosing the right iguana - very important when one considers how many specimens look sick, emaciated or just downright dreadful Foods for your iguana as well as foods to avoid. How many people are feeding their iguanas a totally unsuitable diet, leading to a myriad of health problems? Habitat requirements and how to provide a suitable environment in captivity. 
What to do if your iguana gets sick or injured. 
Taming and training your iguana. I believe this is the first iguana pet care book to tackle this subject. 

The book is extremely well-written and informative and will surely help owners to provide the right conditions and care for their animals. It is also a very worthwhile buy for anyone considering buying an iguana, many of whom tend to do so on a whim, not considering the very exacting needs of these animals. 

The book has 16 pages of full-colour photographs at the back of the book with many black and white throughout. The book also includes detailed illustrations, drawings, graphs and charts. The book is cross-referenced, leading readers to other relevant sections. Sidebars are used to summarise key points and to highlight information, which makes the book very easy to read.

Iguana owners should find this book a must for the amount of reliable information provided. The way it is presented and packaged - if you own an iguana, you should definitely rush out and buy a copy. 



Reviewed in Reptiles magazine
Reviewer - Phillip Samuelson, Editor

Iguana owners will find plenty of sound advice and interesting information in the colossal book (655 pages) Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual. Author James Hatfield does a fine job of organizing an amazing amount of information under one cover. He is quick to remind us, through text, quotes and photos, that Iguana iguana is truly a fascinating creature. 

Hatfield found the inspiration to write his book from being a green iguana owner himself. He is very thorough in his presentation. The section on anatomy, for instance, takes up approximately 35 pages. Illustrations and photos help to illustrate many anatomical features. I found the black-and-white photos of the iguana skeletal system particularly interesting. 

I applaud the section on diet. The recommendations for a proper iguana diet are right in line with what most experts currently believe. Warnings against excessive animal-source protein will no doubt improve the longevity of pet iguanas if their owners heed this advice. Quite a bit of attention and detail is given to the diet section and all green iguana owners would benefit from reading it. 

Similar detail is given to the other sections of Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual. Hatfield uses quotes from various people--some renowned researchers; others everyday iguana owners--to support much of the information and ideas presented. These quotes are fun to read and add a unique dimension to this book. A few of the quotes might be a bit too anthropomorphic for some people's taste, but are interesting to read nonetheless. 

The main text of this book is peppered with nice quality black-and-white photos (I thought the photo of the 29-year old pet iguana with owner Don Burnham was particularly impressive). Graphs and illustrations also contribute much to the layout. A moderately sized color photo section at the end of the book provides a pleasing conclusion to this fine book. Iguana owners should find much to like in Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual. The amount of reliable information provided is staggering, and it is presented in an attractive package. If you own a green iguana, you really should pick up a copy.



Reviewed in Vivarium magazine
Reviewer - Sean McKeown

Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual is the culmination of nearly six years of research. James W. Hatfield III has assembled up-to-date and accurate information through the distribution of his own questionnaire to hundreds of iguana owners and veterinarians across the U.S., Canada, and Europe; searching through both herpetocultural and scientific journals; talking with many of the world's top iguana specialists; doing field research in Mexico and Central America; and learning from his own pet iguana, Za, pictured on the front and back covers of the book.

This work truly lives up to its name as the "ultimate" book on green iguanas. It is packed full of information, with nine chapters and ten appendices covering all aspects of what is needed to manage these lizards, and what owners can expect to encounter as their iguana matures. The book conveys the author's view that green iguanas have specific care requirements for maintaining their health and well-being in captivity, and only those people serious about doing it right, and who have substantial space available, should even consider green iguana ownership.

Hatfield has analyzed, compiled, and organized his extensive research into a book that is as fun and easy to read as a good novel, but which has the accuracy and authority of a scientific journal. By achieving a balance between readability and accuracy, he has achieved his goal of helping all readers, whether beginning or advanced herpetoculturists, to feel comfortable and in charge.

Much of the success of Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual lies in its clear, crisp, direct, and colorful writing style. What makes this book unique is that Hatfield peppers his words with more than a thousand quotations from private iguana owners, veterinarians, zoo reptile staff members, as well as references from existing literature. Each quotation helps to support his point as well as adding interest and humor to his presentation.

The book has 16 pages of full-color photographs (placed at the back of the book, in manual format) as well as 16 black-and-white photos found throughout the text. Additionally, there are more than 35 detailed illustrations, drawings, graphs, and charts. Present as well are numerous sidebars (little kernels of information slightly out of the main flow that emphasize some important or interesting point) and "At-a-Glance" sections (which provide an overview of some upcoming topic), and a comprehensive index.

Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual includes a number of useful features. Hatfield paints a vivid picture of green iguanas in the natural world. He follows with a very readable discussion of key anatomical components, each one succinctly and clearly described. After reviewing this section, many readers may find that they have a better understudying of lizard physiology. Included in this part are six previously unpublished (black-and-white) photos detailing a green iguana skeleton from various angles.

Several other chapters focus on the basics of green iguana care, housing, feeding, and there is even one on medical troubleshooting. There are other sections on acclimating and training ("taming") green iguanas as well as one on breeding. Hatfield tells how and where to choose the best pet green iguana. Always, his emphasis is on what is best for the green iguana rather than compromising the lizard's overall health by catering to the whims and conveniences of the humans involved.

One of the most poignant sections of the book deals with what to do when an owner's green iguana dies including such practical considerations as whether or not to have a necropsy (animal autopsy) done. Most importantly, this section provides supportive words to help long-term iguana owners through what is frequently a deep grieving process.

The appendices describe Hatfield's questionnaire methodology and results; provide detailed plans for building habitats, habitat equipment, nesting boxes, and incubators; list references and sources for additional information; and even take a whimsical side trip into real-life green iguana personalized names. These are sorted into categories (e.g., names based on food, plants, mythical figures, movie and book characters, derivations of "iguana" or "lizard," and more human-type names).

In addition to the facts and figures covered in Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual, there are countless off-beat, humorous, touching, serious, and engaging stories about green iguanas, their world, and their human owners. The book has a size befitting its "ultimate" name, with 656 pages and weighing almost 2-1/2 pounds. The production and printing quality is first-class throughout, from the stunning, eye-catching cover photo and elegant text design to the high-resolution printing (i.e., 1280 dots per inch vs. the more typical 600 dpi of text as well as illustrations).

In both content and presentation Green Iguana--The Ultimate Owner's Manual sets its own high standards. Most readers will consider it the definitive work on management, care, and personality traits of green iguanas in captivity. If you own a green iguana or if you are thinking of getting one, you should buy this book."


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