Fla. officials clarify call for deaths of invasive green iguanas

State not ‘the wild west,' official says

By Michelle Lou, CNN

(CNN) - Florida wildlife officials are toning down their language after releasing a statement earlier this month that encouraged homeowners to kill green iguanas "whenever possible."

They admit that they may have gone a bit overboard in letting people know the non-native and invasive species can be killed anytime and without a permit.

"Unfortunately, the message has been conveyed that we are asking the public to just go out there and shoot them up," Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner Rodney Barreto said in a Thursday statement.

"This is not what we are about; this is not the 'wild west,'" Barreto added.

Florida Fish and Wildlife suggests people contact professionals such as a local animal control office or a professional nuisance wildlife trapper if they are not capable of safely removing iguanas from their property.

Florida's subtropical climate and lack of natural predators for the iguanas has allowed them to spread throughout the state.

Green iguanas can damage infrastructure and harm native, endangered species in the state, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife's website. In addition, their droppings can be found almost everywhere, including on sidewalks, patios and swimming pools.

To deter green iguanas, the commission suggests homeowners fill in holes to discourage burrowing, hang wind chimes or CDs with reflective surfaces or spray the animals with water.

CNN's Doug Criss contributed to this report.

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