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The FWC’s recommendation to kill them “whenever possible” on private properties, issued on July 3, didn’t spell out exactly how to do it.

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And unlike the Burmese python, another invader that poses a well-documented threat to the Everglades and has wiped out entire populations of small mammals in the threatened ecosystem, the mostly vegetarian iguana is only a problem to a select number of native critters, owing to its appetite for certain plants and bird eggs. ", More:An Ohio man threw an iguana at a restaurant manager. DNR wildlife biologist John Jensen said there is fear that the reptiles will “displace” the gopher tortoise, a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing, if they continue to spread through the state. They build complex and extensive burrow systems that can become deeper when females are nesting, undermining docks, seawalls and canal banks. Why hasn’t some restaurant starting selling iguana burgers or steaks or tacos? There have also been reports as far north as Alachua County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. SOUTHERN FLORIDA IGUANA CONTROL THAT IS SAFE, EFFECTIVE, AND GUARANTEED, Who will run Miami’s $1B government? Green iguanas wreak havoc on Sunshine State 04:17. The head-bashing technique has been described by Florida’s wildlife officials as being quick and humane, and within the bounds of the state’s anti-cruelty laws. “You can give them salad, you don’t need to worry about feeding them live prey as is the case with the Nile monitor lizards or snakes,” said Todd Campbell, a biology professor at the University of Tampa whose research focuses on invasive species.

While nobody’s counting them today, it’s fair to guess that there are easily that many on Key Biscayne alone. The commission issued a directive describing the green iguana as an invasive species, citing damage they wreak on seawalls, sidewalks and plants.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which protects crocodiles and places strict guidelines on hunting deer, has put the scaly, yardlong-or-more creature also known as the green iguana on its hit list. If a deadly pandemic, Asian murder hornets, and giant gypsy moths weren’t enough, 2020 has something new in store for the US — giant, invasive lizards that could wreak havoc on local wildlife. The population of invasive green iguanas in Florida is increasing exponentially, and authorities want locals to do something about it. The conservation commission recently announced its "Python Action Team" had captured its 500th invasive Burmese python from the wild, a "significant milestone for this program.". Pardon the American iguanas residing in sunny Florida for not feeling very patriotic on this Fourth of July. The green iguana is the most in-your-face invasive species in South Florida. They eventually die if a serious cold snap sticks around for more than three days. Females can lay nearly 80 eggs per year, and the animals can live up to 10 years in the wild. That allows us to determine where to focus our trapping efforts in an effort to eradicate this species,” Jensen said. North Florida is a bit too cold, however, so no issue there. “Total elimination isn’t the goal because it’s just not possible,” said Blake Wilkins, co-owner of Hollywood-based Redline Iguana Removal. Male green iguanas can grow to over 5 feet in length and weigh up to 17 pounds. “At that moment it became a health hazard,” he said. Citizen complaints about the invasive reptiles had become so numerous that they made a tentative stab at doing something about it early this year, giving the green light for residents to “humanely kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible.”, Get unlimited digital access for just $3.99 a month to #ReadLocal anytime, on any device.GET OFFERPlay VideoDuration 1:46Green iguanas, a nuisance by property ownersWhen it comes to invasive species, the green iguana rivals the Burmese python as the poster child for animals that shouldn’t naturally be hanging out in South Florida. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. “Attempting to reduce iguana populations without addressing the root causes of the problem will only result in a continuous cycle of killing, with no end in sight and no genuine relief from conflicts residents are experiencing,” wrote Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society US. “People have a hard time treating them as the pests they really are.”. Mayor gets tochoose but approval could be rocky, Florida wildlife managers know they’re a problem. The population of invasive green iguanas in Florida is increasing exponentially, and authorities want locals to …

To tackle the spread of green iguanas, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is now encouraging residents to kill the animals on their own property, as well as 22 areas of public land. "They will destroy agriculture, undermine roads, cause electrical transformers to fail, they can transmit salmonella and can be a FAA safety hazard.".

“The idea is to make things manageable.”, Follow Adriana Brasileiro on Twitter @AdriBras, Source:

“If you’ve come to a point where you no longer want this animal, there are reptile adoption groups that may take it and try to find a home,” he said. “There are numerous sources of information on the internet regarding specific methods to trap and remove iguanas,” Kipp Frohlich, director of habitat and species conservation at FWC, said in e-mailed responses to questions. But not everyone has lethal injections handy to painlessly dispatch a pest iguana. The green iguana is the most in-your-face invasive species in South Florida. But that hardly ever happens in South Florida and with climate change raising average temperatures, extended cold snaps may occur even less frequently. ", Green iguanas aren't the only invasive species whose populations are growing exponentially in Florida. Burmese python invasion: Fighting invasive sp... state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released a statement, For many climate change finally hits home, Largest wildfire in Colorado history burns over 167,000 acres, Amy Coney Barrett's views on climate change – and why it matters, Fierce storms and wildfires to dramatically spike, U.N. agencies say, The conservation commission recently announced.

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They get big.

“They are in paradise,” said Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife biologist and reptile expert. They dig egg chambers that may contain as many as 80 feet of interconnected tunnels and multiple entrances, and lay anywhere from 14-76 eggs.

They’re a big headache for Floridians, as they cause damage to seawalls, sidewalks, and gardens.

PETA said that humanely killing an iguana “requires immediate destruction of the brain in order to avoid prolonged survival and suffering for as long as one hour,” according to the letter.

They scurried away and hid under the deck of a neighboring house as a trapper approached. Unlike the infamous but elusive Burmese python, iguanas freely mingle with people — and often act like they own the place. Understandably, some Floridians may feel uncomfortable about having to perform the deed themselves, particularly if a baseball bat is involved.

If a deadly pandemic, Asian murder hornets, and giant gypsy moths weren’t enough, 2020 has something new in store for the US — giant, invasive lizards that could wreak havoc on local wildlife. “Females dig egg chambers that may contain nearly 80 feet of interconnected tunnels and multiple entrances and lay clutches of anywhere from 14-76 eggs,” noted the FWC.

The only thing wildlife managers and scientists can say for sure is that the iguana population has come back with a vengeance from a freeze that killed off many of them a decade ago. They also compete for space with vulnerable native species, such as burrowing owls and gopher tortoises. Believing that the lizards spread after pet owners released them into the wild, the reptiles are now considered to be “established” in parts of Florida and Georgia, the DNR warns. With more mail-in ballots, officials urge patience on election night, Americans and the right to vote: Why it's not easy for everyone, Why some mail-in ballots are rejected and how to make sure your vote counts.

George is a senior staff reporter at Gizmodo. Residents are being encouraged to kill the animals "on their own property whenever possible.".

BY ADRIANA BRASILEIRONOVEMBER 24, 2019 06:00 AM, Play VideoDuration 1:40How to humanely kill an iguanaBrian Wood, from Iguana Catchers, explains how to humanely kill an iguana in Florida.

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“Randomly killing these wonderful animals is not only cruel but also foolish, as it won’t curb their numbers in any significant way and will lead only to untold suffering at the hands of laypersons unqualified to ensure a humane death,” the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said in a letter to FWC in July.

The animal rights organization said that, if authorities want to continue telling the public to kill iguanas, they should properly inform them of the most humane methods to do so.

"It saddens me that all of these magnificent animals, along with multitudes of other invasive reptile species have to be put down," he said. Once, two fierce iguana males were fighting over territory and blood was shed. The FWC said iguanas also can also be killed on 22 public lands in South Florida without a permit but they are protected by state anti-cruelty laws so only “ legal methods” are allowed. “If a person is not comfortable or capable of safely removing iguanas from their property, the best course of action is to seek assistance from professional wildlife trappers.”. In that assessment, the lizard ranked 15th out of 37 problematic invasive reptiles and was designated a “high management concern.” But the study also classified it as having a narrow potential range and suggested that no research on control methods was needed. Green iguanas are normally found in Central America, some eastern Caribbean islands, and the tropical portions of South America.

This is not what we are about; this is not the ‘wild west.’,” FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto said at the time.

Climate change is greatly exacerbating the threats posed by invasive species. But climate change threatens to open up new territory for foreign flora and fauna to take over. “They busted through the foundation and caused the pipes to collapse,” said Braeseke, who runs Cooper Colony Country Club in Cooper City.