The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued a directive encouraging Florida homeowners to kill green iguanas they find on their property. “It might sound a bit barbaric, until you better understand the threat these reptiles can cause,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.

Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are an invasive species from Central and South America.  The reptiles damage structures such as seawalls, sidewalks and roofs. They also destroy landscape plants with flowers and foliage as well as some fruit and any vegetable plants. The creatures can also transmit salmonella to humans through contact with water or surfaces contaminated by their feces.

“It is important to check your pools to prevent contamination,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

No permit is required to kill green iguanas on your property, however they are protected by Florida’s anti-cruelty law, so the execution must be considered humane. A hard blow to the head- a quick death, is recommended. It is illegal to poison, drown or freeze the reptiles as well as relocate captured iguanas. You cannot kill or set traps in common areas in communities and condos owned by an HOA. In these instances, it is best to contact a professional removal service.

The Miami Herald reports iguanas have burrowed into sewer lines and under roads, popped-up in toilets, and shopping centers.

The FWC website says, green iguanas can live on the ground, in shrubs or in trees in a variety of habitats including suburban developments, urban areas and agricultural areas. The reptiles are excellent swimmers and tolerate both fresh and saltwater. They can submerge themselves for up to 4 hours at a time. Contrary to their name, the retiles are blue, brown, orange, black and pink. The males can grow to over 5 feet long. Their population is difficult to control, since they can lay over 70 eggs a year and have no known predators.

If you have green iguanas on your property you want to get rid of the FWC has some advice on how to drive them from your place.

Fill in holes to discourage burrowing.

Hang wind chimes or other items that make intermittent noises.

Hang CD’s or décor with a reflective surface.

Spray the animals with water or use a sprinkler.

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