Florida Urges Homeowners to Kill Iguanas When They Can

'The FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2019 2:09 PM CDT
Florida Just Declared War on Iguanas
In this June 24, 2018 photo, iguanas gather on a seawall in the Three Islands neighborhood of Hallandale Beach, Fla.   (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Green iguanas love Florida's consistently warm weather, so much so that the invasive species is a massive problem in the state. "Iguanas have proliferated with such intensity in Southern Florida that they are now a common sight," a zoologist tells ABC News. And as a wildlife scientist explains, they can be problematic in a lot of ways: They're able to damage agriculture, roads, electrical transformers, seawalls, foundations, berms, canal banks, and landscaping; may be a threat to several native species; can transmit salmonella; and can pose a collision hazard at airports. That spurred the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to issue an advisory on its website urging homeowners to take lethal action against the lizards when they can and reminding them that no permit is needed.

If iguana-hunting sounds like your thing, the notice continues: "Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 22 public lands in south Florida." The only protection iguanas have in the state is under Florida's anti-cruelty law. Iguanas are cold blooded, but there hasn't recently been weather cold enough to curtail their population. In the past year and a half in Miami, temperatures have only dropped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit once. "As the climate changes, even slightly, they can be established into Florida counties beyond their present distribution," says the wildlife scientist. The zoologist notes that in iguanas' native Central America, they are considered a delicacy; if Floridians develop a taste for the reptile, they could become "cheap and tasty protein." (An iguana on a power line sent 20 people to the hospital in Florida.)

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