Iguana Information

The City of Miami Beach is aware of the impact of the invasive green iguana throughout our community. Iguanas are an invasive species in Florida and can be a nuisance, they are a regional concern regulated by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Residents are encouraged to follow the recommendations below to help deter green iguanas from private properties. Additional Information and assistance are available from the FWC South Regional Office located in West Palm Beach, the regional office may be contacted at 561.625.5122.

Potential Impacts to the Community

  • Green iguanas can cause damage to residential and commercial landscape vegetation and are often considered a nuisance by property owners. Iguanas are attracted to trees with foliage or flowers, most fruits (except citrus) and almost any vegetable.
  • Green iguanas can cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks.
  • Although primarily herbivores, researchers found the remains of tree snails in the stomachs of green iguanas in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, suggesting that iguanas could present a threat to native and endangered species of tree snails.

What Can I Do as a Property Owner?

  • Green and spinytail iguanas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty laws and can be removed from private property year-round.
  • The FWC encourages the removal of iguanas from private properties by landowners.
  • All species of iguana may be humanely captured and removed from private property without a permit at any time.
  • Captured iguanas can be kept as personal pets or can be humanely euthanized, but cannot be relocated and released at other locations in Florida.
  • For the welfare of any caught animal, traps should be set in a shaded area.
  • Homeowners that trap iguanas on their property can obtain euthanasia services from local exotic veterinarians, humane societies or animal control offices.
  • Iguanas are protected by anticruelty laws, and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.

Deterring Iguanas

  • Deter the iguana by modifying the habitat around your home or humanely harassing the iguana using the following methods:
    • Removing plants that act as attractants
    • Filling in holes to discourage burrowing
    • Hanging wind chimes or other items that make intermittent noises
    • Hanging CDs that have reflective surfaces
    • Spraying the animals with water as a deterrent
  • Never feed iguanas directly or inadvertently by leaving pet foods or ripened fruits outside.
  • Avoid planting vegetation that iguanas eat. Iguana-resistant plants include
    • Milkweed
    • Some pentas
    • Citrus
    • Some crotons
    • Other toxic plants
    • Tough, thick leaved plants
  • Protect valuable plants or gardens with cages or screened enclosures.
  • Place a piece of sheet metal around a dock piling or tree trunk approximately 18 inches from the ground to prevent iguanas from climbing.

Additional Resources:

  • Homeowners who capture other nonnative species and need help should call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-483-4681.
  • Click here to view the FWC’s Iguanas in Florida Brochure (PDF.)
  • Click here to view the AFWC Iguana Technical Assistance for Homeowners Presentation (PDF.)