Q&A – FWC's Decision To Encourage Killing Green Iguanas

Today’s entry -Yay!! These are getting bad. See them along all the canals now. How do they suggest we kill them?

Bottom Line: Last week the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission took a new stance on green iguanas. If you see them, kill them, with a few caveats. We’ve all seen the proliferation of them over the years in South Florida. Now they’ve reached the point of becoming more than just a nuisance. According to FWC, the status of green iguanas is "Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered to be an invasive species due to the damage they can cause to seawalls, sidewalks, and landscape plants". I knew about the plants but the seawalls and sidewalk damage is interesting new information, turns out they burrow in and under them. 

So, let's go back to today’s question. How do we kill them? According to the FWC, the first thing to know is that "this species is not protected in Florida expect by anti-cruelty law". Florida’s anti-cruelty law has a lot to it but it’s mostly logical. If you torment or torture the creature as a means of killing it, you're breaking the law. If you’re responsible in killing efficiently, you’re not. The FWC points out that because it’s an invasive species there isn’t any permit required to kill them. In fact, the exact guidance provided by FWC on iguanas is, "FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible".

That’s the policy change from last week. The one thing you do need to know is that killing them on public grounds could be a problem. There are 22 public land areas where it’s ok, but you better check FWC’s guidance if you intend to take them out on public property. Back to the question, how should you go about trying to kill them? There are two ways. First is trapping, if you trap iguanas and call animal control, they can euthanize them. Second is killing and this is the tricky and sticky part. Remember the cruelty thing? If you attempt to kill an iguana yourself, you have to be efficient in doing so. While the law is somewhat subjective, meaning that if you were charged it would be up to a judge to determine the outcome based on circumstance, there’s a clear legal way if you’re precise. Decapitation or the use of an air-riffle, if legal in your municipality/HOA - POA. I don’t want to be descriptive but think of the eliminating of a dangerous snake. The similar situation applies. Our only other hope is for another South Florida freeze this winter.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images



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