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Rich Fields

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While many people love the green iguana, and actually have them as pets, they are not indigenous to Florida. And while Green iguanas have been in Florida since the 1960s, in recent years the numbers have really grown.. WAY out of control. The south Florida Iguana population has exploded and they have become quite a nuisance to homes and even a threat to small pets.

Typically, the warmer climate has allowed the iguanas to travel further north. With the very warm winter we just experienced and now record-breaking summer temps, its the perfect kind of weather iguanas thrive in, (unfortunately).

Biologists say iguanas cause,..“erosion, degradation of infrastructure such as water control structures, canal banks, sea walls and building foundations. They’re great swimmers, they’re great climbers, they’re great diggers. They can get on your roof, and they can dig under your house.”

So now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has declared open season on the exotic reptile. Below is statement is from their website:

“The FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible. Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 22 public lands in south Florida.”

The state’s call for “open season on iguanas” has resulted in business opportunities for some, with companies opening up specifically to control the iguana population.

Considering that green iguans can grow to five feet long, weigh around 17 pounds, and live for 10 years or more with the females ability to lay six dozen eggs at a time.. this is a serious issue either way.

Joseph Wasilewski is part of the University of Florida’s “Croc Docs” team of scientists who studies wildlife in Florida and the Caribbean. He as studied green iguanas for 40 years and says Florida needs to  get a handle on this soon. However he does recommend this:

“I’d suggest homeowners use professional removal services rather than having people go out and start shooting like it’s the wild, wild West. But if we don’t do something soon, they could literally take over.”

It appears it is definitely time to get control of this issue. The best solution would be for a humane way to remove the animals to another location, but the logistics of that may prevent it.

For more details about Florida’s green iguana infestation, go to the Washington Post.

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Rich Fields is a veteran radio broadcaster who is best known for having been the Announcer on the Price is Right. He is also an Emmy Award winning Meteorologist .