Iguana Information & Control

 

The Village understands the impact of the invasive green iguana in our community. This is an issue the state is currently studying as it impacts many of Florida’s warmer regions. The Village currently does not possess an effective means of eradicating this species. We encourage our residents to follow the recommendations below to help deter green iguanas from private properties. Much of this information is useful for spinytail iguana species as well.

Iguanas are an invasive species in Florida and can be a nuisance. They are a regional concern regulated by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Assistance is available from the South Regional Office located in West Palm Beach that covers ten counties in South Florida. The regional office can be contacted at 561-625-5122.

 

The University of Florida was recently contracted by FWC to research effective methods of humanely purging the pests.

First-the Facts!

  • Three members of the iguana family are now established in South Florida and occasionally observed in other parts of Florida: The green iguana, the Mexican spinytail iguana, and the black spinytail iguana.
  • These iguanas are not native to South Florida. Green iguanas were first reported in the 1960s in Coral Gables, Hialeah and Key Biscayne.
  • Their main diet consists of a wide variety of vegetation, including leaves, blossoms and fruits of plants. Species of spiny iguanas are omnivores and may eat eggs and small animals as well as vegetation.
  • Green iguanas are regulated by the FWC as a Class III wildlife in Florida, meaning a permit is not required to possess them as personal pets but is required for exhibiting or sale.

Potential Impacts to the Community

  • Green iguanas can cause damage to residential and commercial landscape vegetation, and are often considered a nuisance by property owners. Iguanas are attracted to trees with foliage or flowers, most fruits (except citrus) and almost any vegetable.
  • Some green iguanas cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks.
  • Although primarily herbivores, researchers found the remains of tree snails in the stomachs of green iguanas in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, suggesting that iguanas could present a threat to native and endangered species of tree snails.

What Can I Do as a Homeowner?

  • Green and spinytail iguanas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty laws and can be removed from private property year-round.
  • The FWC encourages removal of iguanas from private properties by landowners.
  • All species of iguana may be humanely captured and removed from private property without a permit at any time.
  • Captured iguanas can be kept as personal pets or can be humanely euthanized, but cannot be relocated and released at other locations in Florida.
  • Homeowners that trap iguanas on their property can obtain euthanasia services from local exotic veterinarians, humane societies or animal control offices.

Deterring Iguanas from Frequenting Your Property

  • Deter the iguana by modifying the habitat around your home or humanely harassing the iguana using the following methods:
    • Removing plants that act as attractants
    • Filling in holes to discourage burrowing
    • Hanging wind chimes or other items that make intermittent noises
    • Hanging CDs that have reflective surfaces
    • Spraying the animals with water as a deterrent
  • Never feed iguanas directly or inadvertently by leaving pet foods or ripened fruits outside.
  • Avoid planting vegetation that iguanas eat. Iguana-resistant plants include
    • Milkweed
    • Some pentas
    • Citrus
    • Some crotons
    • Other toxic plants
    • Tough, thick leaved plants
  • Protect valuable plants or gardens with cages or screened enclosures.
  • Place a piece of sheet metal around a dock piling or tree trunk approximately 18 inches from the ground to prevent iguanas from climbing.

Additional Information

  • Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website at myfwc.com
  • An informative FWC Iguanas in Florida Brochure is available here (PDF).
  • A FWC Iguana Technical Assistance for Homeowners Presentation is available here (PDF).
  • The FWC has hosted workshops concerning python and iguana species in the recent past. Currently, there are no workshops scheduled. Please visit the FWC website for future announcements.

 

 

 

 

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© 2013 Village of Key Biscayne   |   88 West McIntyre Street   |   Key Biscayne, FL   |   33149   |   (305) 365-5511   |   feedback@keybiscayne.fl.gov

 

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