Extended cold could kill invasive iguanas
Dropping temperatures slow down lizards
Photo credit Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
Creative Commons Official license
With this week’s evening temperatures falling toward the upper 30s, strange fruit may drop from South Florida trees: non-native, invading iguanas that many residents consider more pest than pet.
“It’s a big deal for me,” Jessica Morgan, a Margate homeowner, said as she watched a yard-long, bright orange male iguana roam near her butterfly habitat. The reptile has a slightly smaller green girlfriend.
“They climb up on the bank and will poop on my dock,” she said. “Fingers crossed that this cold snap will kill them. I don’t have the heart to beat one to death. I hope the weather does it for me.
Iguanas become immobilized when the temperature drops into the 40s, as it did Sunday night, said Tiffany Snow, nuisance-wildlife biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. While they usually revive when the temperature rises, they could die if it remains below 40 degrees for three days or so, she said.
It is legal to kill iguanas, but it must be done humanely. Among the options is decapitation. Some local animal control authorities will accept live iguanas that have been trapped, Snow said.
“If somebody is looking to trap them, I guess right now would be a good time because they’re not moving,” she said.