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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages killing iguanas

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Posted at 10:39 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 10:59:21-04

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Non-native iguanas are multiplying so rapidly in South Florida that a state wildlife agency is now encouraging people to kill them.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says people should exterminate the large green lizards on their properties as well as on 22 public lands areas across South Florida. It doesn't say just how civilians should try to kill them.

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Iguanas aren't dangerous or aggressive, but they damage seawalls, sidewalks, landscape foliage and can dig lengthy tunnels. The males can grow to at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weigh nearly 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

The commission says female iguanas can lay nearly 80 eggs a year. They are allowed to be kept as pets but are not protected by any law except anti-cruelty to animals.

FWC spokesperson issued this statement to WPTV:

We updated the language on our website within the past few months to clarify options for removing iguanas.

The FWC has consistently advised homeowners that iguanas can be removed from private property. Iguanas, like all nonnative, invasive species, are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law (Florida Statutes § 828.12). They can be captured and killed on private property at any time with landowner permission. It is illegal to release or relocate captured iguanas (Rule 68-5.001, Florida Administrative Code). The FWC encourages the removal of iguanas and other invasive species from the wild; however, landowners are not required to remove iguanas from their property.

WPTV contributed to this report.