Tegus lizard, invasive species from Florida. (Aguntín BA- Flickr).

Florida faces an unprecedented reptile invasion, among iguanas and 15 other species that threaten local species of plants and animals.

In the midst of this invasion, the state seeks to permanently prohibit the trade of this type of species, whose domestic purpose seems to have caused the invasion in most cases.

In this sense, species of iguanas and other lizards, especially the case of the Burmese python, the main pest in the state, seem to have had its origin in the domestic possession of these species and their subsequent escape into the ecosystem due to the carelessness of their owners. .

According to a report by National GeographicFlorida has not faced a reptile invasion of such proportions, with iguanas being an invasive species but not as big of a problem for local wildlife as it has been in recent weeks.

Green iguanas are peaceful, iguanas rarely come close to humans, eat certain small fruits and leaves, and generally choose habitats that exceed the average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, as they are cold-blooded reptiles.

However, tegus lizards, also known as overa iguanas, are omnivores, they eat all kinds of small mammals, birds and reptiles, as well as eggs and also fruits, so they pose a huge risk to the local fauna.

Because of its temperature and flora, Florida seems to be the best setting in the United States for an invasion of iguanas, but the problem has exceeded even the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The FWC decided to ban the sale and possession of 16 types of reptiles, with green iguanas and tegus lizards, which threaten local wildlife, of greatest concern.

From the end of March, iguana owners will have 180 days to comply with new regulations imposed at the state level, which require concrete outdoor reptile enclosures.

Although the invasion of iguanas – although not in such high numbers – and pythons have been a problem for several years, it is until now that the state has considered banning them.

Now the owners of the industry fear a precipitous drop in their income due to the stricter parameters demanded by the authorities, who, given the ecological damage they are causing, have no other option.

The commissioner of the FWC, Robert Spottswood, pointed out that allowing the proliferation of iguanas and tegus is a greater risk than the damage that its prohibition can cause to the entrepreneurs dedicated to their sale.

“These animals are doing a lot of damage. It is up to us to tackle it and do something. This may not be perfect, but it is the best I have seen so far, “said the official.

The damage that the FWC has recorded extends to beaches and lakes, where they have detected damage to the environment, almost irremediably, by consuming plant species that are food for local species, and in the case of the python, by consuming the fauna too.

The measures will be applied progressively, but the senior leaders of various hatcheries are already showing resistance.

In case the problem becomes even more complicated, the authorities consider giving special licenses to citizens to hunt them, as happened in Australia with feral cats that threaten local fauna, or as is already happening in Florida with the python. Burmese.

Categorized in: