South Florida is a great place to live. The sun, the water, the fun! Who wouldn’t want to be here? Apparently, it is such a great place to live, that swarms and swarms of green iguanas (mostly green) are overrunning the area. It is like a full takeover.
Packs of green iguanas are roaming backyards, hanging out in parks, swarming seawalls, and leaving a path of filth & destruction in their wake. The red-hot, Florida summer sun has stoked activity in these cold-blooded creatures, which many experts believe is now at record numbers.
The iguanas which multiply way too fast are causing phone and power outages, internet problems, damage to landscapes, seawalls, roofs and patios, and the filthy poop that is contaminating pools.
Richard Engeman, a biologist for the National Wildlife Research Center says, “There’s no real way to come up with a valid estimate of the number of green iguanas in Florida. But the number would be gigantic,” says. “You could put any number of zeros behind a number, and I would believe it.”
In South Florida, iguanas are the second leading cause of power outages, behind squirrels. About 8 percent of power outages, or 9,200 a year, are caused by animals and birds, says Florida Power and Light.
Iguanas can grow up to five feet long and are quite fast on both land and in water, making them difficult to catch. They also have no natural predators. This is how an animal can continue to thrive.
So what can be done to bring down the iguana population if they pose such a problem? Some residents and companies are taking to eliminating the iguanas altogether. Basically playing judge, jury and executioner
It is legal to shoot iguanas in the head with a pellet gun, you can even stab them in the brain or decapitate them as long as the iguanas don’t suffer, according to state law. University of Florida researchers say that bashing in an iguana’s head and destroying its brain quickly is the most humane way to kill one. It’s a crime to drown, freeze or poison iguanas. With poisons especially, the animals die a slow death. That is inhumane.
Many times, people’s pets have suffered due to the infestation. Dogs wind up in hospitals with injuries from getting bit by iguanas or slashed by their tails
The iguana species is native to Central and South America and the Caribbean and thrive in Florida’s subtropical climate. They reach sexual maturity in 18 months, laying an average 40 eggs per clutch per year.
Florida’s iguana problem truly began in the 1960s after the reptiles escaped from captivity during hurricanes and as unwanted pets released into the wild.