By Phil Autelitano
It’s an epidemic! Iguanas have invaded South Florida and there’s no end in sight. They’re everywhere — taking over backyards, crapping in swimming pools, eating our flowers and fruits, destroying landscaping, seawalls and foundations, stinking up the place and spreading harmful bacteria in the process.
Your first thought might be to kill them. Iguanas aren’t endangered or “protected” under Florida law, except under anti-cruelty laws, so whatever you do, it has to be quick and painless. You can’t shoot them, because in most Florida cities and towns, it’s illegal to discharge a firearm with their limits. Whatever you do, you’re then left with having to remove the dead beasts from your backyard and dispose of them properly. (You can’t just toss them in a canal, that’s illegal, too.)
You could build walls, or use bird spikes (which really have no effect on iguanas’ armor plated skin), maybe some poison, though I haven’t found one that works, and even if it did, you’re still left with dead iguanas in your yard, or dead iguanas somewhere nearby stinking up your yard.
Bottom line, it’s a problem we here in South Florida just can’t seem to get rid of, and until someone, somewhere, figures out at way to eradicate Florida of iguanas, the only “solution” to the problem is CONTROL.
Here are ten ways to control the pesky iguana problem plaguing your backyard:
- Do not leave food out, unattended. A bowl of fruit on the patio table unless you’re sitting there eating it, is not a good idea. Leftovers from a party should not be allowed to sit. Clean up your dinner mess right away. Iguanas are mainly herbivores but that doesn’t mean they won’t smell something good and want to eat it. They will TRY anything.
- Rid your lawn of dropped fruits. Iguanas love fruit. Even more so, they love low-hanging fruit, or fruit that’s easy to get to. If you have fruit trees or avocado trees, etc., take the time to pick up you yard and dispose of any dropped fruit. (If it’s good, keep it for yourself. If not, discard into a closed container/garbage can).
- Keep a lid on it. Iguanas will dig into your garbage looking for food. Keep a lid on your garbage can. Some iguanas are smart enough to lift that lid and slide in. So either put your garbage cans in a place they can’t get to, or put a cinder block on your can lid.
- Do not leave pet food out. Iguanas have been known to eat pet food. If you’re putting a bowl of dog food or a plate of cat food out for your pets, you’re inviting iguanas into your yard. Instead, feed your pets inside.
- Fill iguana holes. Iguanas like to dig. Wherever you see a hole, fill it. Best during the day when they’re out roaming. Don’t just fill it with dirt though. Stuff rocks into the hole first, then fill it with dirt and top it with sod. The iguana may return to dig again, but he won’t dig through large rocks. Any iguanas in the hole, won’t either. They’ll either dig another route out, or die in the hole. Eggs are less likely to hatch, too. (Sorry.)
- Do NOT feed the iguanas. It probably goes without saying, but the more you feed them, the more they will return. Don’t be friendly with them.
- Protect trees to prevent climbing. You can wrap trees with sheet metal guards, 18–36" inches from the base to prevent climbing. The slippery metal makes trees difficult to climb.
- Wire netting around plants. You can use wire netting, cages or screens to prevent iguanas from entering plants and shrubs. As the plants and shrubs grow, the netting becomes less obvious but is still effective.
- Spray then with water. When you see an iguana in the yard, spray them with the hose. They also hate loud noises. Constant harassment can keep them from returning.
- Keep your yard clean. Excessive overgrowth or thickets are great places for iguanas to hide. Those areas should be cleaned out. Also, stacks of lumber or building materials, an overturned canoe, any other places under which iguanas can hide should be removed.
- Mulch piles. Consider dumping a pile of mulch into an out of the way corner of your yard. Iguanas like to dig to nest, but prefer to dig where it’s softest and easiest. Rather than digging at the foundation of your home, this may encourage them to dig in the mulch. When you notice a hole, check for eggs. Discard any eggs in a sealed plastic bag.
- Use an iguana repellent. There aren’t very many products out there for alleviating the nuisance iguana problem, and most of them don’t work anyway. The only product proven to work is IGUANA GONE All-Natural Iguana Repellent (@IguanaGone) It’s safe and easy to apply, no harmful chemicals or pesticides, it doesn’t KILL iguanas (so there are no stinky dead iguanas to worry about), it just keeps them away. You can buy IGUANA GONE at www.iguanagone.com.
Hopefully these tips help keep your iguana problems to a minimum.
Phil Autelitano is founder/CEO of Mediarazzi, a leading developer and producer of TV channels and content for Roku and connected TV platforms. www.mediarazzi.com