April 10, 2021

I - Iguanas

Iguanas are very common in Florida, especially south Florida, but they are not native to our state. They were introduced to the wild here by irresponsible pet owners turning them loose. They thrive here in our climate, and with a lack of natural predators some areas of the state are being completely overrun. 

Photo taken in Fort Lauderdale Florida

Unfortunately they are troublemakers. They destroy gardens, leave big messes on decks and pool areas, but even worse they tunnel down and cause severe damage to seawalls, sidewalks, and even home foundations. 

It's a shame, through no fault of their own, that they are now considered such a nuisance. Killing them is not only legal, but sadly it's encouraged if they are on your property here in Florida. :(

I happen to love green iguanas. I had one as a pet years ago. They have so much personality, it's like having a really goofy green dog. 

An interesting fact, Iguanas can't tolerate cold weather. They don't exactly hibernate, but they become immobile when it gets really cold and will often fall out of trees. They appear to be dead, but they revive once they warm up. Over in Fort Lauderdale where they are really overrun with iguanas the weather service has to put out falling iguana warnings when our weather gets really cold.

When we visited Hollywood Beach in south Florida a couple years ago we came across this scary creature...

Photo taken at Hollywood North Beach Park

This is a Black Spiny Tailed Iguana. Talk about creepy! There were hundreds of them along the bay. The duck in the background was squawking like crazy at him and scared him away. Apparently the duck didn't like him any more than I did!

More Life in Florida on the way Monday for the A to Z Challenge.

Linking up with Eileen at Saturday's Critters.

106 comments:

  1. I don't like iguanas even the smallest ones because they look scary.

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  2. They look like aliens....kinda cute!

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    1. I love the green ones, the black ones are a little too creepy!

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  3. I like them. I have heard of the 'falling iguana' warning. They wouldn't do well here - we get some hard frosts.

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    1. They definitely need tropical weather. I like them too. :)

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  4. I know they need to go but I hate that fact. i have never understood why people just let critters go, cats and dogs, lizards and snakes. here in Bradenton we have aproblem with Pythons being let go, just like in the everglades

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    1. I think it's a problem all over our state. I don't understand it either Sandra. I can't even relate to the term unwanted pets, but we do at least have places people can take them. Why just turn them loose like that?!

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  5. Hello,
    I always enjoyed seeing the iguanas in Florida, they are cool looking critters. The male turns a pretty color in breeding season. Have a happy weekend!

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    1. They do Eileen! I really enjoy seeing them too. A happy weekend to you too. :)

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    1. They are just sweet little dinosaurs Anni. If you got to know them you would love them.

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  7. Wow I had no idea that iguanas were such a problem in Florida. That one in the last picture is pretty creepy. When I was little my cousins had an iguana for a pet. I was kind of afraid of it

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    1. I didn't know just how bad it was until we started making trips over the east side of the state a few years back. They are literally everywhere!

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  8. It's a shame that iguanas are so destructive, Martha. Otherwise, they are pretty fascinating creatures.

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    1. They really are fascinating, but it's such a shame things got this bad from people's poor choices. It's not the iguanas fault and now they're being killed because of it. :(

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  9. I have never seen an iguana except in zoos. That black one is really scary! Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

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    1. I agree, the black ones really scare me. They are the things nightmares are made of!

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  10. We only ever saw one iguana in Florida. Fascinating to see them. None here for sure.

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    1. They are only in some areas of Florida. They are literally everywhere you turn over in Fort Lauderdale!

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  11. I am glad we are not tropical!

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    1. I swear Anne, they are like green dogs. They aren't the least bit scary. The black ones are another story. Those I'm terrified of!

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  12. They are definitely ugly and prehistoric looking. We haven't seen any this far North in FL...and hope we don't!

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    1. I don't think they usually make it up that far north, and even if they were released locally they would probably make their way south.

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  13. Wow, I would faint if I ran across one of those! I have heard about the falling out of trees, that is crazy!!

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    1. Imagine getting hit in the head with one of those falling out of a tree - yikes lol!

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  14. I think the kitties would like to watch the iguanas running around!

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    1. It's funny but kitties pretty much seem to ignore them from any I've seen anyway.

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  15. Some of my grandchildren have one of those for a pet. He us kept in the house in an aquarium. He reminds me of what a dragon would look like. I wouldn't appreciate having one hanging out on my patio. They don't survive in our climate up north' so I really don't have to worry about that. Hope they find a way to control them there.

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    1. They do make great pets but I think a lot of people just don't realize just how big they get and how much work it can be to take care of them. I wouldn't mind having them hanging around my yard, but maybe not the black ones, those are just too creepy! I hope they find a better solution for controlling them too.

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  16. I have a healthy respect for all animals, and it is a shame idiots don't get the responsibility of having pets. There was an alligator found up here last fall by deer hunters. I didn't realize they were not native to Florida, and how much damage they can do. I recall the huge numbers in St Thomas when we stopped on a cruise.

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    1. I remember reading about the gator, that was a sad story too. Fort Lauderdale now looks a lot like St. Thomas when it comes to the huge numbers of them. It is so sad that things like this are caused by people and the poor animals are the ones who pay the price.

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  17. Hello Martha,
    I just wanted to stop back and say thanks for linking up and sharing your iguana post. They are cool critters! Have a great day and a happy weekend!

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    1. Of course Eileen. Glad I was able to link up today. :)

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  18. That's amazing! The first time I heard about the Iguanas in Florida was when you had a cold spell down there and they were falling out of the trees. I had a friend who had one. She loved hers and its personality. Too bad that people don't leave well alone, so many creatures have been introduced into areas they don't belong which only creates havoc. Sad that they have to pay the price.

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    1. Exactly Denise, I totally agree with you. I really loved my pet iguana too, and just hate hearing that they are needlessly being killed. There has to be a better way to get them under control.

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    1. I love the green ones, but the black ones are too scary!

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  20. Cool critters but not one I would like as a pet.
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. They are very cool. I really enjoyed my pet iguana. I would have never guessed how much personality they have until I had one. I hope you have a great weekend too! :)

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  21. I have only encountered iguanas in Mexico and soon learned they are very timid and run away from people when approached. I once "saved" two British girls from iguanas on a rainforest path -- they were terrified and wouldn't believe me when I told them the iguanas were more scared of them than they were of the iguanas. They wouldn't proceed down the path, so I walked ahead and of course, the iguanas scattered ahead of me. I felt like a superhero that day, LOL!

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    1. Lol, I love your story. You should have a cape with an iguana on the back! :)

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  22. I remember thinking those 'falling iguana' warnings were a joke. Honestly, I'm happy I never encountered one 'in the flesh.' 😱

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    1. Nope, definitely not a joke. I'm shocked that you never saw one when you lived here. I sure bet you would now if you ever come down to visit!

      How are you felling after the second vaccine Myra? I've been thinking about you.

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  23. I've read they are very high in protein, and residents are encouraged to eat them! No thanks. Something about eating reptile... The little ones may look fun as pets, but when mature they can be very aggressive. They can bite, and you have to watch out for their whipping tails. (I worked in an independent pet store and we had training on the different animals so purchasers could be told what to expect. They didn't usually pay attention.)
    I'd hoped you used "island" today, for the challenge scavenger hunt! Off to scavenge some more then...

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    1. People do eat them - ick! They can definitely be aggressive if they want to. My pet iguana was very gentle, but I've heard some horror stories from other iguana owners. It's a shame so many people purchase them and then just turn them loose later. Maybe I'll use island next year for the letter I :)

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  24. Me encantó el post, gracias por compartirlo.
    Besos.

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    1. Thanks and thank you for visiting. :)

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  25. That is interesting (and cool) that they have personalities. I wouldn't have expected that. I like their prehistoric look but wouldn't enjoy one falling on my head!

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    1. They have such great and really funny personalities Margaret! I would have never guessed that either until I had one as a pet. I definitely would not want one falling on my head either lol.

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  26. So much trouble caused, by humans, introducing non native species of everything, to places where they were not a natural happening. #&*$^)&*$^()%^*&*$$%

    🌷🌸🎀🌸🌷

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    1. Yep, it's a shame and the poor creatures have to pay the price.

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  27. When we were in the Grand Cayman islands there were iguanas all over the place. They told us on the tour bus they taste like chicken! I can't imagine one falling on my head!

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    1. People do eat them, but I sure wouldn't whether they taste like chicken or not! I definitely wouldn't want one falling on my head either!

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  28. The critters you see, I've never seen. The iguana is a first for me. Great capture and enjoy the weekend.

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    1. Thanks Bill, that's one fun thing about following people from all over the world. I see so many things on blogs that I've never seen before. :)

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  29. Florida really has been overrun by a huge variety of creatures that don't belong there, and once entrenched they are almost impossible to eradicate, at great detriment to native species unfortunately.

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    1. Exactly David, it's all such a shame.

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  30. Irresponsible pet owners... They make so much trouble, don't they? I wonder how many invasive species started off that way.

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    1. I wouldn't doubt if it's all of them!

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  31. Sad for the pets when owners abandon them ~ Xo ~ good post and photos ~ Happy Weekend to you ~

    Living moment to moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)


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    1. I totally agree Carol and especially just to turn them loose to fend for themselves. WE have so many shelters and places unwanted pets can be taken. Sad no matter what. I can't even relate to the words unwanted pets.

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  32. It's a shame how we have overrun our world with all manners of animals and plants that have no business living where they are - such as the starlings that some idiot introduced to the United States in an attempt to have the birds of Shakespeare live here. Or our many invasive plants. I've seen iguanas on trips to Florida mainly the one time we visited Palm Beach County. But not the one in your last picture!

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    1. I agree. I don't know why people have to mess with nature, it's horrible. I had never seen the creepy black iguanas either until that day at Hollywood Beach, and there were hundreds of them. I suppose they will be more common over in Broward and Palm Beach counties soon.

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  33. I really loved learning about them, especially what happens when they get cold! Sad that killing them is encouraged!! So you have them around your house?

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    1. It is so sad Ginny. I've never seen any around my area but they are probably around. From the rate they are multiplying in some areas I wouldn't doubt if we will have lots of them around here soon.

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  34. I am sure I wouldn't want one of those iguanas in my garden! LOL. There were monitor lizards in the yard, when I was growing up and I have regular garden lizards in my garden, now. The cats will occasionally leave me one or two as offerings!

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    1. They would sure eat up your entire garden and fast. I can't believe you had monitor lizards in your yard growing up, those things are gigantic! They would sure scare me. We have lots of cute little garden lizards here too. :)

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  35. Iguanas are so ugly they're cute. Too bad about their habit of tunneling. Ages ago someone here decided it would be a good idea to bring in mongooses to take care of the rat problem. They didn't take into consideration that rats come out at night when the mongoose is sleeping so both have free reign of the island.
    https://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com

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    1. People can sure be idiots. How could they possibly do something like that without thinking it through?!

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  36. It is a shame how many non-native species are taking over in Florida. Thankfully, they hadn't made their way as far north as we were, but we did have a friend that had problems with their dryer. When the repairman came he found a monitor lizard in the vent. Anyone in Orlando missing a big lizard?????

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    1. That's crazy Dee, those things are gigantic! We don't have any weird things around my area yet, but there all all kinds of different creatures I've seen on the other coast that were not there back when I lived there.

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  37. Such a shame that people just abandon these animals like that - causes so much trouble. Interesting to learn those facts about the iguanas.

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  38. ...non-native plants and animals can quickly become a nightmare.

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    1. Very obvious so from things I'm seeing here. *sigh*

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  39. It's a shame they have turned into a nuisance. They are kind of cool. I'm heard about the issue of falling iguana's in the cold.

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    1. They are really cool. I always wished they were in my area too until I heard about all the damage they can cause.

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  40. Falling iguanas, wow! How much creepier could it get?

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    1. It is pretty creepy, especially if you happen to get hit in the head with one of those scary black ones! Either way, they aren't lightweights, it would really hurt or even knock someone out!

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  41. Our news talked about the falling iguanas. It looked kind of funny. To bad they are a causing problems. That is great picture of the iguana and the duck!

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    1. Thanks Susan, thinking of iguanas falling out of trees even sounds comical but it reality it's sad and also dangerous. That duck was definitely very bold, but you can see he wouldn't get too close either lol!

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  42. It is a beautiful creature if you observe in detail.

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    1. They are seriously like little dinosaurs!

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  43. it is seldom good to introduce animals to wrong habitats. As for this iguana. :(

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  44. Loving your posts of the scenery, plants and critters Martha!

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  45. That angry duck is scarier than that iguana!

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    1. LOL Nance, he was definitely very angry!

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  46. I had to laugh at the ‘falling iguana warnings’ when it gets cold, though I doubt it is funny for the iguanas.

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    1. Exactly lol! Guess it wouldn't be funny to get hit in the head with one either!

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  47. I had NO idea that they were such a nuisance nor that they weren't indigenous to the area. You're right though - it's not their fault.

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    1. It's not a huge problem statewide but they have caused so much damage in some areas like Fort Lauderdale. It's so sad that they are being killed and all because of stupid people!

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  48. I do not miss these. They creep me out a bit. Luckily we didn't have many where we lived. But I saw enough.

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    1. I didn't even know they were around in Fort Myers. I guess it won't be long before we'll have them here too.

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    2. I don't think I remember any in Ft. Myers but I do remember seeing them on Gasparilla Island/Boca Grande.

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    3. I've heard they are all over the place there, but someone else commented and said these days the are in Fort Myers and Cape Coral now too!

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  49. I think they look a bit like a dragon or perhaps a dinosaur don't they.

    All the best Jan

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  50. Lots of iguanas and other big lizards in Fort Myers and Cape Coral too. I enjoy them, even though knowing they are invasive. I am even more fond of alligators. Something about all these prehistoric-looking creatures fascinates me.

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    1. Someone else from Fort Myers mentioned that yesterday. I guess we'll have them here in my area soon too. Knowing me I'll be feeding them so they stick around. I did alligators for letter A of the challenge. :)

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  51. I swear I thought I had left a comment here...I am glad they don't live in the wild here. But would be interesting to watch.

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    1. They really are very interesting to watch, although most of the time they are just stretched out sunning themselves. I had always wished they were in my area until I learned about how much damage they can cause.

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  52. I love seeing photos of Iguanas, but Martha, I don't think I could handle touching one...my issue lol...but I think it's sad that it's legal to kill any animal because they are a supposed "nuisance"...we are the ones who invaded THEIR land...grrrr...one of my pet peeves about humanity. Rant over lol! ;)

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    1. I feel the exact same way as you do Rain. I think it's horrible and it makes me very sad. :(

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