Green iguanas are one of several exotic reptile species introduced to the south Florida area over the last 40 years. Hatching from their eggs at about 6 inches long these lizards can grow over one foot per year, reaching a maximum length of around 6 feet.
After hatching, green iguana’s diet consists mostly of insects, this will provide the protein required for their first year of rapid growth. After this initial growth spurt, green iguanas “go vegetarian” and switch over to a plants only diet.
In Miami these vegetarian pests have a reputation of destroying ornamental landscaping and raid flowerbeds entirely of blooms. Green iguanas are not typically aggressive but will defend themselves by biting and scratching if an attempt to handle the animal is made. Bites to people are rare and only occur when animals are harassed (grabbed, poked, pushed etc.) or fed. Wild iguanas should not be fed as they cannot tell where the food ends and your fingers begin.
Green iguanas become nuisance animals when destroy landscaping, soil seawalls and docks, boats, etc. with their droppings. Just like bird droppings iguana feces may contain forms of the Salmonella bacteria (a common form of food poisoning). Occasionally green iguanas may even take up residence in someone’s attic.
Trapping nuisance iguanas in the most reliable solution to these problems. Trapping iguanas can be complex and frustrating. Exotic animal trapping is based on the knowledge and experience of the trapper. There is no specific “iguana trap” made to capture only this species.
Pet, Touch or Keep a Pet Iguana… bad decision:
Iguanas are notorious for being harbingers of Salmonella, it is present in the guts of MOST iguanas! Any inflicted bites can become infected with staph (as with any animal bite).
Proper care and cleanliness prevent the danger of disease, but just to warn you iguanas are naturally aggressive and territorial animals that pack a mean bite and can scratch when they get big.
They are also high-maintenance because of their varied and balanced fresh food dietary needs, huge space requirements, and need for basking spots and full (not broad) spectrum w/o lighting. They also need pretty high humidity which can breed bacteria, so you need to make sure the enclosure is humid but still has some air circulation and clean really often to avoid breeding diseases!
Also, direct contact with the animal is not necessary to get salmonella. Apparently, just contacting someone who has been exposed to an iguana trao or cage, cage can sometimes transmit the bacteria.
Salmonella Bacteria that exist in pretty much all wildlife droppings and several serotypes are pathogenic to humans and other animals. Salmonellosis can lead to severe cases of gastroenteritis, enteric fever septicemia (blood poisoning), and death. Food poisoning, the most common malady, is characterized by a sudden onset of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. One common means of transmission is through food contaminated by rat or mouse feces that contain Salmonella organisms.