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Are Iguana Trappers Necessary on the Suncoast?

Updated: Jan. 30, 2020 at 9:12 PM EST
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ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (WWSB) - Fear and then confusion took over two Englewood schools on Tuesday after they were put on lockdown for an armed man near the campus.

However, police learned man was actually holding a pellet gun and was hired to remove iguanas nearby. That left many wondering: Aare iguanas that much of a problem on the Suncoast that people are hired to kill them?

Surprisingly, the answer is: Yes, they have become a huge problem. Not just for us, but for all of Florida.

They’re mostly found in wooded areas and then travel near homes and businesses.

“They’re learning to adapt very well which is good for the iguana, bad for our wildlife,” Pamela Defouw, the Director of the Wildlife Center Of Southwest Florida, said.

Iguanas are multiplying so fast here in Florida, that officials are now encouraging people to kill them as they are non-native species that harm our wildlife and our homes.

“The quicker they can be removed and taken off your property, the better because they’re just going to multiply,” Casey Mcvey, the owner of Assurance Wildlife Trapping, explained.

These reptiles are also known to be very smart, so they can survive in any environment.

“They don’t have any natural predators, so it’s up to us to use discretion on what needs to be done with them and properly handle it,” Mcvey said.

Police and the iguana trapper in Englewood say that what happened on Tuesday was a miscommunication.

“It was purely a mistake or an accident. It will never happen again,” said iguanna trapper Ray Wathen.

But was he in the wrong? Or was he legally allowed to be shooting these reptiles?

“If he wasn’t where he was [near the school], it’s acceptable. FWC released a statement saying they will not get rid of them all, but you can’t just expect people to take it upon themselves and not have accidents happen,” Mcvey explained, “That being said, you have to hire a professional.”

Even though there aren’t concrete laws on how or where you can trap iguanas, there are regulations.

“We always encourage people to use human traps to try to trap them. There are places that will take them since they’re definitely not supposed to be in the wild,” Defouw explained.

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