Iguans On Sanibel and Captiva

Iguanas On Sanibel And Captiva

On Captiva or Sanibel, you might see iguanas in a tree or on a seawall. Huge iguanas are not as common as on the East Coast of Florida but they exist.  They are native to Central America, tropical parts of South America and some Caribbean islands. They were brought to Florida as pets or inadvertently on ships. 

Damage Caused By Iguanas

Damage caused by iguanas includes eating valuable landscape plants, shrubs, and trees, eating orchids and many other flowers. Some iguanas eat dooryard fruit like berries, figs, mangos, tomatoes, bananas, lychees, etc. Unfortunately, burrows of iguanas next to seawalls allow erosion and eventual collapse of those seawalls. Another issue are droppings of iguanas litter areas where they bask. As a result there is a possible source of salmonella bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning. (Read our Post on Holistic Fitness to get fit again).

Do Iguanas Bite On Sanibel And Captiva?

Adult iguanas are large powerful animals that can bite, cause severe scratch wounds with their extremely sharp claws, and deliver a painful slap with their powerful tail. Iguanas normally avoid people but will defend themselves against pets and people that try to catch them or corner them. Please note that biting iguanas are very rare on Sanibel and Captiva.

Iguana – What Do They Eat?

Adult iguanas are herbivores feeding on foliage, flowers, and fruit. Young ones eat daily whereas adult iguanas can go a few days without food.

Do Iguanas Eat Insects On Sanibel And Captiva?

Iguanas will occasionally eat animal material such as insects, lizards and other small animals, nestling birds and eggs. Juveniles eat more animal material, especially insects, and hatching green iguanas eat the droppings of adult iguanas to acquire the gut bacteria that help them digest plant material. 

Do Iguanas Have Preferred Food Plants?

Many people are wondering if iguanas eat bananas and/or pineapple. As a matter of fact, they like both especially bananas with skin. 

  • Hibiscus, Including rosellia 
  • Orchids  
  • Impatiens 
  • Pink Pentas Roses 
  • Bougainvilleas
  •  Nasturtiums 
  • Garden greens – Kale, broccoli, mustard, collards, sorrel, beets, lettuces 
  • Squashes and melons
  • Hong Kong Orchid 
  • Tree Purple Queen (Setcreasea sp.) 
  • Turf Grasses Weeds (Spanish needles, 
  • frog fruit, 
  • weed, 
  • Most fruits and flowers 
  • Most tender new growth
  • Other toxic plants 
  • Tough, thick leaved plants

What Do Iguanas Not Eat?

Iguanas do not eat citrus. 

Should You Feed Iguanas On Sanibel And Captiva?

Do not feed iguanas. The reason is that it will attract more iguanas and can create problems for both you and your neighbors. Feeding will also attract rats and raccoons.

How To Protect Plants From Iguanas?

Many residents want to know how to stop iguanas from eating plants. The best way to protecting valuable plants is to use cages or screen enclosures. For example, you can install sheet metal around trees to prevent them from climbing, about 18 in. from the tree base, or create a “L-shaped wire barrier to prevent digging.In addition, there are repellents  for preventing feeding damage from iguanas. 

Are There Iguana Resistant Plants?

  • Milkweed Some Pentas 
  • Oleanders 
  • Citrus 
  • Some Crotons 
  • Other toxic plants 
  • Tough, thick leaved plants

What Happens to Iguanas When It Gets Cold?

During winter cold fronts, cold-stunned iguanas can sometimes be simply picked from branches or picked off the ground after they fall from the trees. 

Shall I Report Iguanas On Sanibel And Captiva?

Both, the City of Sanibel and the Captiva Community Panel, monitor the iguana population closely. Thus your feedback after seeing an iguana is highly appreciated. 

Also recommended for you: Captiva Farmers Market and FISH Sanibel

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