Residents of South Florida have seen a massive infestation of green iguanas creating major problems as the creatures reproduce and leave a trail of destruction in their paths. The hot, humid summer weather has resulted in a spike in their population, which officials fear may reach record numbers according to the Sun-Sentinal.
The invasive species damage "landscapes, levees, seawalls, roofs, and patios" while "contaminating swimming pools with their poop." They have also been linked to internet outages and are responsible for around 9,200 power outages every year.
The green iguanas can grow up to five feet long and have no natural predators. They are extremely fast on both land and water, making them very difficult to catch.
The iguana infestation is believed to have started in the 1960's after some of the animals were released into the wild after they escaped captivity during hurricanes. The iguana's population usually dies off in the winter, but Florida has not had a winter cold enough since 2009 to help keep their numbers in check.
Instead, the effort to keep their population in check is left to pest control companies, many of which specialize in killing the invasive iguanas. Under Florida law, it is legal to kill iguanas by shooting them in the head, or decapitating them, as long as they do not suffer. It is a crime to use poison, drown or freeze the pests.
One town came up with a simple solution after the invasive lizards continued to destroy the plants used to decorate a welcome sign. The town decided to use plants which the iguanas do not like to eat. The plan worked and town officials said that the iguanas left their landscaping alone after the switch.
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