How Did Iguanas Become an Invasive Species in Florida?

    The Everglades is home to a diverse landscape and one of the largest wetlands on earth. Sadly, invasive species disrupt the natural beauty of the environment. These creatures disrupt the natural food chain and can quickly overpopulate an area because they have no natural predators. The iguana is one of the nuisances to the Everglades. Keep reading to learn about iguanas in Florida, why iguanas are an invasive species, and what you can do to help control the population.

    How Did Iguanas Get There?

    Let’s start by talking about how these invasive iguanas invaded the Sunshine State in the 1960s. Some arrived by sneaking into fruit crates and making the journey to Florida. 

    After arriving, some Floridians found them and kept them as pets. However, when these reptiles started to grow, their owners released them into nature. Other iguanas came to Florida with the help of an exotic pet dealer who released well over 300 iguanas into the wild.

    In both instances, the iguanas wasted no time once they discovered areas that resembled their natural habitat. Since the iguanas had no natural predators in Florida, it was easy for them to breed and increase their numbers. This added to the problem because a single iguana can lay over 40 eggs. It’s no wonder there are well over 10,000 iguanas living in Florida today.

    The Problem With Iguanas

    Some people may wonder how iguanas can be a problem. While they don’t pose the same dangers as a Burmese python, these herbivores still disrupt the ecosystem. For example, iguanas eat hibiscus, orchids, and other plants, which decreases the area’s butterfly population. The native Miami Blue Butterfly now risks going extinct.

    Iguanas also destroy the land because they burrow into the ground to dig out their homes. This can impact infrastructure if they dig too close to homes, canal banks, or sidewalks because there’s no longer solid ground to support the structure.

    You can see invasive iguanas in all sorts of places across the state; some strut the streets of Miami, and others like to get a little sun on the docks. This is problematic because they use public spaces as their private restrooms. This can be a big problem because their feces sometimes contain salmonella. These reptiles may also bite people when protecting themselves, and their serrated teeth leave quite a mark. 

    A Solution: Iguana Hunting

    Knowing how iguanas became an invasive species is one thing but dealing with the iguana problem is another. Hunting iguanas is legal in Florida and provides the thrill of a lifetime! The state allows people to hunt these reptiles because it helps control the population in a humane way.   

    Woods to Waters Outfitters

    Looking for the best iguana hunting tours in Florida? Want to learn some hunting trip tips? Woods to Waters Outfitters can help you begin your incredible outdoor adventure. Go iguana hunting to help us keep the state beautiful, and we’ll ensure you have the adventure of a lifetime!


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