Miami-Dade County Declares War on Iguanas with $700k Extermination Plan

Miami-Dade County Declares War on Iguanas with $700k Extermination PlanSource: Unsplash/ Kotagauni Srinivas
Carlos Mendez
Published on December 06, 2023

It's open season on green iguanas in Miami-Dade county parks, and county officials are itching to take aim at the invasive species crowding the landscape. They've announced plans for iguana control services that, according to a Tampa Bay Times report, could reach up to $700,000 annually. Private companies are being called to set traps and dispose of the reptiles off-site—no guns are allowed in this battle against the reptile invaders.

The urge to crack down is driven by numerous complaints. Iguanas are causing infrastructural chaos with their burrowing habits, defacing seawalls and roadways, and besides the infrastructural damage, residents are fed up with the mess they leave behind, as they've been known to climb into gutters and make an unwelcome splash in swimming pools. An internal memo details an email from a Parks administrator emphasizing that this step is in line with efforts by the Fish and Wildlife Commission to humanely remove iguanas due to their destructive impact on native wildlife and the environment.

The description of the issue extends to iguana droppings, which Ron Magill, communications director at Zoo Miami, described as "a tremendous amount of feces," bigger than that of a dog, he relayed to Tampa Bay Times. Meanwhile, businesses and homeowners appreciate the county's new stance, as Michael Ronquillo, owner of Humane Iguana Control, expects to make a bid for the contracts when applications open, recognizing the need for action against the iguana problem.

While some throw their arms up in exasperation, others take to their kitchens. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission promotes iguana recipes, like "Chicken of the Trees"—just don't attempt an iguana ceviche, warns the University of Florida's agriculture extension office in Broward in a newsletter obtained by Tampa Bay Times. As for the cost, Jamie Guirola of NBC Miami reports that the iguana control could dent taxpayers' wallets by $700,000 a year.

Commissioner Raquel Regalado spoke to residents' readiness for a concerted effort against the reptiles in her district, which includes Key Biscayne and other green suburbs around Miami, supposedly devoid of iguana lovers, she mused to Tampa Bay Times