What’s Going On?

The green iguana is native to Central America, tropical parts of South America, and some eastern Caribbean islands. The reptile species was first reported in Florida in the 1960s, when they were accidentally brought from Cuba via cargo ships. 

Presently, green iguanas are found in multiple Florida counties, mostly along the coast in the southern half of the state. 

A phenomenon often associated with green iguanas in Florida is their tendency to fall out of trees during the winter months. 

When temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, iguanas appear to “freeze”, becoming lethargic and stiff, leading them to fall out of the trees they often spend time in. 

Why It Matters.

Green iguanas are considered an invasive species in Florida. This is due to the negative impacts they have on Florida’s native wildlife. 

Additionally, green iguanas are considered a nuisance by many property owners because of the damage they cause to commercial and residential landscapes. They will eat almost any kind of foliage, flowers, or fruit and dig burrows that can disrupt sidewalks and seawalls. 

What You Can Do.

  • If you come across a “frozen” iguana, do not disturb it. When the temperature warms the animal will likely become active again. 
  • Iguanas can be removed from private property (lethally or non-lethally) if done humanely and in a manner that complies with anti-cruelty laws. 
  • You can also make modifications to your property to deter iguanas, like removing attractant plants, filling in holes, and hanging wind chimes

For more information, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission website. 

Information from the FWC, UF IFAS, and WFLA.