Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife. Like all nonnative reptile species, green iguanas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law and can be humanely killed on private property with landowner permission. This species can be captured and humanely killed year-round and without a permit or hunting on 25 public lands in south Florida.
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Learn how this impacts pet owners and other entities. Green iguanas are large, typically green lizards, though they can sometimes be brown or almost black in color. Some adults can take on an orange or pink coloration during certain times of the year. Hatchling and young green iguanas usually have bright green coloration.
Green iguanas have a row of spikes down the center of the neck, back, and upper portion of the tail, and have dark black rings on the tail. Mature male iguanas develop heavy jowls and a throat fan or dewlap that are much larger than those of female iguanas. Larger throat fans can make male iguanas appear bigger, repel rivals, or warn predators. Female iguanas may choose to breed with male iguanas that have larger dewlaps. The throat fan can also help iguanas regulate body temperature. Male green iguanas can grow to over five feet in length and weigh up to 17 pounds.
Females can also reach five feet in length but usually do not exceed seven pounds.
Females typically reach reproductive maturity at two to four years of age. Green iguanas typically mate in October through November in their native range, and nesting occurs on riverbanks, beaches and other sandy areas.
Females dig egg chambers that may contain nearly 80 feet of interconnected tunnels and multiple entrances and lay clutches of anywhere from eggs. Green iguanas can live up to 10 years in the wild and 19 years in captivity. Green iguanas can live on the ground, in shrubs, or in trees in a variety of habitats including suburban developments, urban areas, small towns, and agricultural areas. They are excellent swimmers, tolerating both salt and freshwater and can submerge themselves for up to four hours at a time.
Green iguanas feed on a wide variety of vegetation, including shoots, leaves, blossoms and fruits of plants such as nickerbean, firebush, jasmine, orchids, roses, Washington fan palms, hibiscuses, garden greens, squashes and melons. Their tendency to eat ornamental plants can make them a nuisance to homeowners. Adult green iguanas can also feed on bird eggs and dead animals.
Juvenile green iguanas feed on vegetation, insects and tree snails. The native range of green iguanas extends from Central America to the tropical parts of South America and some eastern Caribbean islands. Lucie Counties. However, individuals observed in more northern counties are likely escaped or released captive animals and are unlikely to establish populations, as iguanas are not cold hardy. In cleared habitats such as canal banks and vacant lots, green iguanas reside in burrows, culverts, drainage pipes and rock or debris piles.
Green iguanas 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. Green iguanas may also leave droppings on docks, moored boats, seawalls, porches, decks, pool platforms and inside swimming pools.
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. In Bahia Honda State Park, green iguanas have consumed nickerbean, which is a host plant of the endangered Miami Blue butterfly.
As is the case with other reptiles, green iguanas can also transmit the infectious bacterium Salmonella to humans through contact with water or surfaces contaminated by their feces. Green iguanas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty laws and can be humanely killed on private property year-round with landowner permission.
The FWC encourages removal of green iguanas from private properties by landowners. Members of the public may also remove and kill iguanas from 25 Commission-managed public lands without a or permit under Executive Order Captured iguanas cannot be relocated and released at other locations in Florida. If you are not capable of safely removing iguanas from your property, please seek assistance from a professional nuisance wildlife trapper. A permit is required to possess live captured green iguanas for eradication and control purposes.
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If you have an iguana frequenting your area, you can take steps to deter the animal such as modifying the habitat around your home or humanely harassing the animal. Examples of effective habitat modification and harassment include:. Escaped or released pets remain a primary source of introduced species in Florida, although it is illegal to introduce nonnative species into the state.
A permit is now required to maintain pet green iguanas possessed prior to the effective rule date as pe rsonal pets. Surrendered pets are adopted to new owners who have been pre-qualified and who have any required permits. The program helps reduce the of nonnative species being released into the wild by pet owners and fosters responsible pet ownership, giving pet owners an ethical and ecologically sound alternative to releasing an exotic animal.
Report Issues Report fish kills, wildlife emergencies, sightings, etc. Go Outdoors Florida! Green Iguana Iguana iguana.
Regulatory Status Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife. Description Green iguanas are large, typically green lizards, though they can sometimes be brown or almost black in color. Diet Green iguanas feed on a wide variety of vegetation, including shoots, leaves, blossoms and fruits of plants such as nickerbean, firebush, jasmine, orchids, roses, Washington fan palms, hibiscuses, garden greens, squashes and melons.
Native Range The native range of green iguanas extends from Central America to the tropical parts of South America and some eastern Caribbean islands. Impacts Green iguanas cause damage to residential and commercial landscape vegetation and are often considered a nuisance by property owners. Frequently Asked Questions Can I remove iguanas from my property?
How can I deter green iguanas from frequenting my property?
Examples of effective habitat modification and harassment include: 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 What if I own a pet iguana that I can no longer care for?