You can kill iguanas in Florida, just don't shoot them

FWC issues clarification on invasive species policy

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (Associated Press)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Yes, it's legal to kill invasive iguanas. No, you can't shoot them.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials this week issued a clarification about how to deal with iguanas wreaking havoc on landscaping and infrastructure.

“Unfortunately, the message has been conveyed that we are asking the public to just go out there and shoot them up. This is not what we are about; this is not the ‘Wild West.’ If you are not capable of safely removing iguanas from your property, please seek assistance from professionals who do this for a living,” FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto said.

According to the agency's website, the rampant reptiles can cause property damage that includes collapsing sidewalks, eroding building foundations and digging into canal banks. Because they are not native to Florida, they can also throw off the delicate balance of the natural ecosystem.

[RELATED: Florida researchers bashing in heads of overpopulating iguanas | Invasive species wreak havoc on Florida ecosystems]

The site also does explain that it's legal for the public to kill iguanas if they're unable to take them to a veterinarian for humane euthanasia, but no extermination methods are listed. Iguanas are protected by the state anti-cruelty law, so it's illegal to cause them any undue suffering.

For those looking to deter the loathsome lizards, FWC recommends hanging wind chimes, filling in holes to discourage burrowing and removing plants on which lizards could feast. Spraying iguanas with water could also keep them away.

For more information about iguanas in Florida, click here.

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