Iguanas were originally brought to Florida through the pet trade in 1960. Later, they were either released by their owners or escaped captivity, which resulted in a thriving Iguana population in Florida. Unfortunately, this has created problems for many businesses and homeowners as these invasive creatures can be troublesome.
Iguanas can often enter a property through small openings, likely drawn to the warmth of homes when the weather gets cold. They can consume plants, damage property, and get aggressive around humans and pets. If you have iguanas on your property, here are some tips to keep iguanas away and remove them if they appear.
Methods to Keep Iguanas Away
Prevention is always better than a cure, so you should consider methods to prevent iguanas from entering your property. As iguanas are not native to Florida, their overpopulation can cause issues with the region’s natural ecosystem. If you have iguanas on your property, here are a few methods to keep them away.
Iguanas are notorious for burrowing to enter homes in Florida. An effective way to prevent that from happening is to use barriers like netting wires so the iguanas cannot cross. However, ensure that the wires are installed at least 3 feet underground so the iguanas cannot dig under and enter your property.
Installing a barrier around your property has some upfront costs, but it can provide a long-term solution to keep away iguanas. This will help you protect your plants and keep yourself and your family safe from the diseases that iguanas tend to carry.
Cover the Pool
Iguanas are impeccable swimmers and are often looking for a body of water to cool down, such as a swimming pool. Even if the pool water has chlorine, these reptiles will enter the pool. To deter them, you should cover the pool when it’s not in use. Pool covers are made from different materials ranging from nets to waterproof cloth.
Don’t Leave Food Out or Try to Feed Them
Considering the weather in Florida, many people like to eat outdoors. But one mistake they make is leaving food scraps outside. This can attract iguanas to your property. Iguanas are herbivores, but they are attracted to all types of food. They are especially fond of vegetables and fruits.
It’s also possible that the iguanas stick around once they have found food in a location, as they can expect more to be found in the same spot. Do not leave food out if you want to prevent them from making your property their home. You definitely don’t want to feed them yourself.
Safeguard Your Trees
They tend to sleep in hidden and cold areas, making them difficult to locate. When iguanas are not eating the plants in your garden, they will likely be found in trees nearby. You can wrap a sheet around the trunk to prevent them from climbing the trees.
Use a metal or aluminum sheet that does not rust. You can hang wind chimes on the tree branches or fill in holes to discourage the iguanas from climbing the trees. You could also consider removing the plants or trees that the lizards feast on.
Can You Kill an Iguana in Florida?
Iguanas are excellent at hiding and bypassing preventive measures to enter your property. It can be challenging to keep iguanas out. This might make you wonder if you can legally kill an iguana in Florida.
Residents of Florida have to deal with these invasive species regularly and are often frustrated by the property damage caused by the iguanas. The law in Florida permits the humane killing of iguanas and the proper disposal of their carcasses. Iguanas can also be killed on private properties with permission from the property owner.
However, if you use cruelty when dealing with iguanas, you can face severe penalties. For example, a 43-year-old man in Florida beat and kicked an iguana. As a result, he was sentenced to five years in prison for animal cruelty.
Methods to Remove Iguanas
If your attempts to prevent iguanas from entering your property have been unsuccessful, you can try the following methods to remove them. Just keep in mind that iguanas are protected by anti-cruelty laws, so the reptiles should not be subject to any undue suffering.
Traps and Bait
You can use traps to remove iguanas. You will likely be able to catch them during the daytime, as iguanas are diurnal. Different traps can be used to capture iguanas, including cage and snare traps. They can also be captured using a catch pole, but that is more complicated than capturing iguanas in a cage.
Iguanas cannot bite through metal cages, so that is the safest type of trap. To trap them inside a cage, you should place the cage in areas around your home where iguanas are typically found. Once the cage is placed in a good spot, put something in the cage to attract the iguanas, like fruits, flowers, or vegetables.
When the iguana enters the cage, it should close automatically. If there is more than one iguana in your area, you can get repeating reptile cages that can hold multiple iguanas. Once the iguanas are captured, they cannot be sold or released into the wild because they can become a threat to other native wildlife in Florida. Instead, you should use humane methods that comply with the state law to get rid of them after they are captured.
Shooting an iguana should be the last resort, as there is always an inherent danger when dealing with a weapon. You should never use a firearm to shoot an iguana, as that may be against the law. However, you may be able to use a pellet gun. Just keep in mind that some cities don’t allow for pellet gun usage. It is best to check with local authorities before deciding to shoot iguanas. The local authorities can also guide you on whether there are any municipality ordinances that protect iguanas in your location.
Most people use a BB or a pellet gun, but be careful – you could be committing a crime if you don’t kill the lizard in one shot. The head or neck of the iguana is the best place to aim for. Iguanas are great at hiding, which is why it can be tough to shoot them. Also, iguanas carry bacteria in their intestines that are harmful to humans, so be careful when handling one after shooting it.
Catching Iguana in the House vs. Wild
To catch an iguana in the wild, you can find them mostly in sunny areas or near water resources. You can also check the branches of trees, rocks, and nests to find an iguana. When approaching the iguana, it is essential to be patient and approach them slowly, as they can easily get scared or aggressive.
Catching an iguana by hand requires experience because it can bite. If you do decide to catch the iguana by hand, try to grab them by the back of the neck so that they can’t bite you. Iguanas may look slow, but they can move fast when they want to.
The black iguana has been recorded moving as fast as 30 miles per hour. Green iguanas are more common in Florida, and they have been recorded to move at 21 miles per hour.
You can also catch them in a net, but ensure that the iguana does not get hurt while being trapped. Although Florida law allows you to remove iguanas from your property, causing iguanas to suffer can result in severe legal penalties. Ensure that you handle an iguana in the most humane way possible. Once the iguana is caught in the net, you can put it in a ventilation cage.
You can catch an iguana in your home by using several tricks. For one, you can corner them into a room, push them towards the window so they get out, and close the window afterward.
You should also look around the house for any iguana dens. If there are any holes, you can cover them to prevent iguanas from entering the property. It’s best to call a professional to catch an iguana.
Get Professional Help
If you have tried everything and cannot get rid of iguanas, you should call professionals like Iguana Control. Not only can the professional remove the iguana from your property, but they can also locate where the iguanas entered so that the passage can be blocked.
Once they catch the iguanas, they will also set up fences and barriers so other iguanas cannot get through. If you have managed to kill an iguana, a professional can help dispose of its carcass.