I met and stalked this beautiful green iguana on my visit to Vizcaya a few weeks ago. I had only been in Florida for a day or two and was excited to see him, but – as with all the wildlife I encounter, apparently – iguanas are an invasive species in South Florida. In addition to wreaking havoc on local ecosystems, they’re a huge pest and a thriving iguana-removal industry has sprung up.
South Florida turns out to be just slightly too far north for the cold-blooded iguanas, so when there’s a cold snap, the reptiles fall by the thousands out of trees all around Miami. And this is how big of a problem these iguanas are: a herpetologist interviewed about the rash of iguanas falling out of trees said that the cold snap “is a good thing” because it “will kill off a lot of them”.
I still think this guy is pretty beautiful, though.