Iguanas can be quite tricky to handle and control since they are very adaptable animals.
Iguanas are medium-sized lizards with spiky skin and a long tail that is native to tropical regions of Mexico, Central America, and South America. In Florida, you can find iguanas in the most southern counties near the coasts. They have been introduced here from escaped or released pets.
An adult iguana is approximately 5 feet long from nose to tip of its tail. Females tend to be larger than males. They eat fruit, vegetables, flowers, and leaves but they also sometimes feed on dead birds and mice that might be found in their habitats as well as bird eggs if given the opportunity. The average lifespan for an iguana in the wild is 10 to 15 years.
The most important thing you need to know about this animals: They can and will climb walls and ceilings and they do so at night when you are not able to see them. This makes it very difficult for people trying to get rid of them since there’s no way they can find every single iguana when they’re sleeping somewhere overnight.
Another important thing to note about iguanas: They drink water from birdbaths, swimming pools, or any standing/pond water your home may have available. An established colony of large numbers of iguanas is especially dangerous because there’s a higher likelihood that some may cross paths with venomous snakes which could be deadly for both the snake and the iguana.
Iguanas can be evicted by hand if they’re not too many of them and you are able to catch your iguana with its head pointing down so it can’t bite you. You have to secure their mouth with one hand while grabbing their tail with another (yes, I know…). Once they are out of the ceiling or wall they will try to run away from you but as long as none is hiding behind you (this happens all the time) they cannot harm you. This is definitely an option for people who like catching lizards. Just make sure that no kids or pets are nearby when trying to evict iguanas because someone could get bitten by accident without warning.
The biggest health hazard from this animals is the parasites they carry. The most dangerous parasite they carry is called “cryptosporidium“, which causes severe gastrointestinal illness, similar to how the common “zoonotic” salmonella affects people. Salmonella can be contracted by humans in several ways – touching animals that carry it (which iguanas do), drinking water that contains it (which our waterways often do), or eating food contaminated with it (such as fruits and vegetables). People who are immunocompromised are at the greatest risk for some of these infections.
How can I protect my property?
The best way to protect yourself against crypto infection is not to keep iguanas captive on your property! If you have an existing problem with infestation, the most recommended way to remove them is trapping & relocating.
Traps are available at local hardware stores or you can do it yourself if you have the tools. The trap needs to be big enough to fit in but not so big that it will allow them to turn around when trying to get out. Longer traps work against upright fences while shorter traps work best against walls. If there are no trees near your home then using a longer trap against an upright fence is advised. It’s also important that the opening of the trap faces downwards because they don’t like climbing up when they’re trying to escape from something.
Once you’ve set your traps make sure not to touch any of them because any human scent on them will make the iguanas stay away. The best thing to do is to contact a wildlife trapper or a pest control company and ask them to check your traps every few days.
Iguanas are very territorial animals. Once they’re set free in their new environments they will return back to their original areas within 24 hours. This means that trapping and relocating is an effective way of dealing with small numbers of the iguana (to some extent). If you find yourself with a huge number of iguanas it’s best if you call an experienced wildlife trapper for assistance so you don’t hurt yourself trying to get rid of the lizards without proper equipment or guidance.
Once all the iguanas are trapped and removed the process of decontamination begins. You need to disinfect all areas where iguanas were hiding such as cracks, holes, and dark corners away from sunlight.
The last thing you should do is wait for at least six months until it’s safe enough again to let your pets play outside freely because they’ll be vulnerable without supervision.
There is a more drastic way of evicting iguanas on private property – humanely killing them. However, unless you’re an experienced hunter it’s very dangerous if not deadly to try this method alone. Instead, call a pest control company that can use professional tools and techniques for eradicating wildlife or any other trapper who is experienced with hunting large lizards. They will know what to do. You can check out one on this url here. There are too many house fires caused by amateur hunters using propane tanks to kill large numbers of iguana – if you try this on your own there’s a very high chance that you’ll either severely injure or kill yourself in the process.
Iguanas only pose a threat to pets and children when they’re close enough for the kids or dogs to touch them. But, even then it’s unlikely that serious injuries will come from their light bites – which often result in nothing more than superficial scratches. The most common injuries occur because of bitten fingers or toes that get stuck between small spaces where an iguana has retreated into (such as decks & wire fencing). “Mr. Iguana” usually retreats into his burrow when attacked but the fight is still not over – you need to check and make sure that he’s gone for good.