© 2023 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wildlife Officials Declare Open Season On Iguanas

Cold blooded green iguana clings to a palm tree as he warms himself in the sunshine.
Adobe Stock

Next time you’re in South Florida beware of Iguanas. The states animal protection agency has now given its approval to kill the  lizards without permits. 

Iguana's aren't harmful to humans, but they're invading South Florida. The problem has become so bad the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is encouraging people to kill the reptiles if they spot them on their property, as well as in 22 public land areas in the region. 

Iguanas can grow to at least five feet long and weigh nearly 20 pounds. They cause damage to seawalls, sidewalks and can dig lengthy tunnels. The commission says females can lay nearly 80 eggs a year, and South Florida's warm climate is similar to the reptile's native homes Central America, tropical parts of South America and some Caribbean islands.

The long green creatures are allowed to be kept as pets in Florida but are not protected by any law except anti-cruelty to animals. They've been in South Florida since the 1960s, but their numbers have increased dramatically in recent years.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.