Invading Iguanas in Florida

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Invading Iguanas in Florida


Iguanas are not native to South Florida. Lacking a natural predator, the population is soaring. Because they feed on bird eggs and vegetation, iguanas pose a serious environmental threat.

Iguanas also carry salmonella, which doesn't doesn't sicken them, but can be transmitted to unwary humans.

The iguana invasion is blamed on impulse shoppers who abandon the pets when they get too big.

Concerned residents are asking the State to classify iguanas as "reptiles of concern." This would require an implanted microchip in the reptile and a $100 licensing fee, making the iguana a less likely purchase by impulsive shoppers who release the pets when they get too big.

If you don't want to handle a nuisance wildlife problem yourself, you can hire a private trapper to solve the problem. The Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Division does not handle nuisance or healthy wildlife calls.

A University of Florida report offers detailed information on Iguanas:

Due to Florida's prominence in the exotic pet trade, iguanas imported as pets have escaped or been released, and are now established in South Florida. This has created unique problems for Florida's homeowners and businesses.

South and Central Florida's subtropical climate allows these large herbivorous (plant-eating) lizards to survive, reproduce, and become part of the Florida environment. Three large members of the iguana family (Iguanidae) have become established in south Florida. These are the common green iguana (Iguana iguana), the Mexican spiny-tailed iguanas (Ctenosaura pectinata) and black spiny-tailed iguana (C. similis).

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