Green igua­nas and hu­mans

When it comes to pulling up pave­ments, Godzilla’s got noth­ing on these guys

World of Animals - - All About Iguanas -

“In ar­eas where they are not na­tive they have be­come a ‘green plague’, wreak­ing havoc upon the land­scape”

In South Amer­ica, where igua­nas are na­tive, locals have kept pop­u­la­tion sizes un­der con­trol through hunt­ing them for their meat, some­times to crit­i­cally low lev­els. Con­versely, in ar­eas where they are not na­tive, such as Florida, they have be­come a ‘green plague’, wreak­ing havoc upon the land­scape.

These igua­nas are not small an­i­mals, some­times grow­ing to around 1.5 me­tres (five foot) and weigh­ing up to 7.7 kilo­grams (17 pounds). The sig­nif­i­cance of this is re­vealed in the dam­age they cause to hu­man-made struc­tures. Dense net­works of bur­rows can desta­bilise pave­ments, even­tu­ally caus­ing them to col­lapse. They have also been known to chew through power lines. Then there is their im­pact on na­tive wildlife. Their vast num­bers mean they of­ten push out small lizard species while also de­stroy­ing vast quan­ti­ties of plant life, which is needed to sup­port a va­ri­ety of an­i­mals.

It’s be­lieved in­va­sive igua­nas are to blame for the loss of the Mi­ami blue but­ter­fly, the rep­tiles hav­ing eaten the plants that the in­sects de­pended on.

Igua­nas have been able to thrive at such a rate in Florida be­cause they have no nat­u­ral preda­tors in the state. The only cur­rent form of pop­u­la­tion con­trol is dur­ing par­tic­u­larly cold snaps, as igua­nas are un­able to reg­u­late their body tem­per­a­ture, caus­ing them to fall out of trees, a phe­nom­e­non known as ‘rain­ing igua­nas’.

above As iguana pop­u­la­tions ex­plode in Florida, locals are wor­ried for their na­tive wildlife

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.