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City suspends green iguana removal program

By Staff | Apr 22, 2020

The city of Sanibel reported that due to budget cuts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is suspending the green iguana trapping services until further notice. The option for property owners to hire nuisance wildlife trappers directly to remove the iguanas from their property is still an option.

Green iguana sightings should no longer be reported to the city; however, if you suspect you have seen a Nile monitor lizard or a spiny-tailed iguana, contact the Sanibel Police Department at 239-472-3111.

Unlike the green iguana, which is primarily an herbivore that feeds on exotic flowers, Nile monitor lizards and spiny-tailed iguanas are omnivorous predators, known to feed on a variety of food sources including bird and turtle eggs and may occupy burrows of other species, such as the gopher tortoise.

Although neither is currently documented on Sanibel, a reproducing population of Nile monitors or spiny-tailed iguanas could have serious impacts on a number of the island’s native wildlife species.

If you are having problems with green iguanas, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers the following information on iguana prevention, exclusion, deterrents, habitat modification, and capture:

-FWC technical assistance for homeowners:

myfwc.com/media/3092/iguanatechnicalassistance.pdf

– FWC iguana posters:

myfwc.com/media/17472/iguanaposters.pdf

– FWC “Iguanas in Florida” brochure:

myfwc.com/media/3090/iguanabrochure.pdf

In accordance with the FWC and state wildlife laws, the city recommends that interested property owners hire a nuisance wildlife trapper for assistance with trapping and killing iguanas on their property. The FWC does not license trappers, but does allow them to register-advertise on the FWC Nuisance Wildlife Trapper Registry online at public.myfwc.com/HGM/NWT/NWTSearch.aspx.

Trappers are required to follow all applicable rules and regulations concerning removal. Contractors working on Sanibel are also required to have a Sanibel Business Tax Receipt or Registration.

For assistance with exotic lizard identification, view the following materials:

– What You Need to Know About Green Iguanas brochure:

files.constantcontact.com/97af97e6001/d79c617f-004a-4ad5-8d80-a2770bd09d92.pdf

– Exotic Lizard Identification guide:

files.constantcontact.com/97af97e6001/de15dd9d-d300-4a6d-b50e-2a31c64a3f81.pdf

For questions, email holly.milbrandt@mysanibel.com.