Invasive iguanas spread to Cayman Brac

| 21/11/2013

(CNS): People on Cayman Brac are being asked to report all sightings of the invasive green iguanas to the Department of Environment (DoE) as soon as they spot the pesky reptile and to try and keep track of their whereabouts until an official arrives. Last weekend, a member of the public saw a hatchling in the Spot Bay area, near the path to Long Bay, and all sightings like these must be reported as the iguanas can spread very quickly. They pose a threat to the indigenous population of rock iguanas and lizards, as well as other wildlife. The green iguana is now prolific on Grand Cayman and the DoE is hoping to prevent the same problem on the Brac.

“Green iguanas are very invasive and pose a serious threat to the island’s wildlife because of their size, feeding habits, and high reproduction rates," said DoE Research Officer, Jessica Harvey. "It is therefore extremely important to stop the growth of the green iguana population in Cayman Brac.”

When a sighting occurs, Brac residents are advised to contact the local DoE officers, Erbin Tibbetts or Robert Walton immediately. Call 926-0136 or 926-2342 or email erbin.tibbits@gov.ky or robert.walton@gov.ky. Where possible, the person reporting the sighting should try to keep sight of the iguana until a DoE officer arrives. If both DoE officers are unavailable, people are instead asked to contact Bonnie Scott Edwards on the Iguana Hotline at 917-7744. (Right: green iguana hatchling)

Anyone who spots a green iguana is also asked to record the description of the location and time of the sighting, the iguana’s approximate size, and whether or not it has a bead tag on its neck.

The DoE said that green iguanas should not to be confused with green anoles, or rock iguanas. Anoles are bright green and significantly smaller than iguanas, with a long, narrow snout. Also, they do not have spines on their crest, or a large, single-cheek scale.
Rock iguanas vary in colour between grey and brown and have different types of shading. They have black feet and smaller, more evenly spaced spines along their crest than the green iguana. They also do not have a single-cheek scale.

Green iguanas are easy to identify by the heavy black banding on their tails, as well as their large, single-cheek scale, and long, straggly crest spines.

Anyone who is uncertain as to what species he or she has spotted should send a photo via phone to bracbooks@gmail.com or Jessica.Harvey@gov.ky.

For more information, please contact the DoE at doe@gov.ky or call 949-8469.

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Kill them now, or kill them later.  But that is the answer.  But you better do it soon.  I have watched them crawl on the house, take over the yard, eat everything in sight.  And  they just look at you like….."what you lookin' at?"  Kill them, run over them on the road, don't spare any.  They are worthless invaders. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    The easiest method for culling green iguanas is an air rifle. But that opens up a whole other can of worms I guess

  3. Cayman Islander 3rd Generation! says:

    No worries now!  I saw them eating one of my soldier crabs!  That's it, they are now fair game!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Export them to other countries . Zoos pet shops and private sales. This could be our number one  export. Who will do it first and be the first iguana millionair?

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh my, say it ain't so. We need to cull them? Well 2 medium size dogs worked for me, including chickens. The dogs ate them by splitting them apart. I had 47 chickens in my yard and low and behold all dead in a month. So no problem dogs love them including cayman rat and rabbits. Just let them go in your fenced yard.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We need to deal with the iguana problem here in Grand Cayman!!  Maybe we need iguana hunters to solve this epidemic.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Government could put a bounty on their heads say $5 for each one brought in dead or alive. That would put a lot of people back to work and solve the problem very quickly…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, it would certainly spend a lot of money very quickly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually it would not spend a lot of money quickly if you think about it. 10,000 dead iguana (that is a LOT of dead iguanas and would make a huge difference!) would only be $50,000 thus the cost of one civil servant at middle management wages.

        Money well spent and would create a community project. Just think, as the iguanas are hunter out, people can look for standing water breeding mosquitoes , offer an island wide trash cleanup 

        I say put $100 k in an account and make DOE and DOA earn their fat salaries by counting dead iguanas!!! 

        This should not be a national problem.  It only takes a little common sense to solve, but someone in Govt needs to get their head out of their butt and take action.

         

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Then why doesn't your company put up the $50K bounty for the first 10,000 iguanas?

    • Anonymous says:

      And what would stop people from just breeding them to kill them pray tell?…

  8. Anonymous says:

    The biggest threat is to agriculture.  They eat all the blossoms from fruit trees, all the leaves off sweet potato vines, they eat young fruit such as tomato, sweet sop, papaya etc.  If Cayman want to get serious about food security, we need to eradicate them.

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    Jerk iguana…

    Anyone?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can we capture them and export them as pets all over the world? 500 dollars per head and we may have another industry established.  I see iguanas for sale in every North American pet store.  Just a thought. Not sure if it is feasible but it may be worth some research in my opinion.

    • Cayman Concern says:

      Sell them for maybe $5 a head chap. Your greedy math must come from Cayman kind ha ha 

    • Anonymous says:

      $500 a head? Not even a champion pedigree lineage top breed hunting dog goes for $500. Take off a few zeros 

      yes, sell them… Cull them, $5 a dead head bounty, just someone in Govt DO SOMETHING 

  11. Anonymous says:

    What about these screaming roosters. Can't we kill them too ?

    Is there any poison that will work ?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Bermuda cull their feral/wild chickens by sedating them, then catching and killing, it does occasionally kill other birds if they OD!

      • Anonymous says:

        Humans: the most invasive animal ever it inhabit the earth. Killing all other species for hundreds of years. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Build a chicken trap.   Catch them.   Eat them.   I do, and they taste great.    "Wild" chickens have very little body fat, so I usually pressure cook them for five minutes, and then you can do with them as you would any store-bought chicken.  

  12. G. W. Theron Bush. says:

    I love hunting and culling them. 

  13. Anonymous - Civil Enough says:

    Really!!!! The department of DoE is really going to do something about this? I am surely glad to hear this as they totally avoided my concerns back in 2003 – 2004 when I called several times to report a premise off Boltin Avenue, West Bay that had them caged by the thousands.  I was very concern but they did nothing to eradicate them; then came hurricane Ivan and of course the situation manifested beyond control. I am equally concern of the proposed Ostrich farm as they will become another nuisance and a possible threat to human life if proper containment is not in place to prevent escapes, especially in times of natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. If you think that iguanas are a concern, pray that the proposed Ostriches don’t run loose as they are known to shred and kill humans if feel threatened – especially when they are breading. Imagine meeting up with an aggressive 9 feet tall, 250 lbs, 2 inch eye-balls, 4 inch long claws and, legs that can stride between 10 to 15ft in just on leap – forget about trying to out-run them as they have a sustain speed of about 40mph.

    • Hoping for better days says:

      I'm with you. No ostrich farm. We can't even keep the pesky HUNDURANIAN iguanas under control, much less an ostrich farm? Which genius came up with that idea? LMAO

    • Anonymous says:

      That sounds like a freeking fantastic movie. Ostricane!: it came from Cayman and it  challenged the world!  Ostricane!! Only bobo and his shark gun stood between them and total destruction!  Ostricane!!!! Now available for Sunday evening viewing at a theatre near you! Ostricane!!!!! 

  14. CayBoy says:

    Isay if you can't bet dem, eat dem!

  15. Animaliberator says:

    Despite my personal feelings towards all animals, I understand and respect the general consensus towards the green iguana. We have them too in our yard to  my wife's great dislike also because of their rather destructive behaviour however, please note that they are not hard to catch, humanely that is, our gardener safely removed all 9 adults present in about an hour or so, gently secured them and placed them in a safe container, took them away and gave them to a friend of his who consumes them. Throwing rocks at them as I have seen on numerous occasions is not the answer. If more of us will do the same in our own yards, combine that with the untold amount that gets killed on the roads, perhaps there is a chance to have some sort of control over them and prevent over population as eradication is probably wishful thinking on most peoples part.

     

    More important is that there must be better control as to what types of non-indigenous animals we allow on island by allowing importers such as petshops currently do which includes but notlimited to birds and rodents.

     

    Chickens on the other hand are much more useful then people might think even though they can be a bit of a nuisance by scratching a flower bed here and there but at least there are healthy eggs to be found, meat if one really insists and they happily consume all the bugs they can find as the cockroach is one of their favorite snacks besides all the other types so that should be like music to our ears having virtually bug free premises not to mention free fertilizer on your lawns as they clear your precious lawn from chinch bugs that destroy it in no time at all. I call it biological warfare but certainly beats the use of chemicals which may kill all of us one day.

     

    Some food for thought I hope.

  16. Diehard says:

    Total failure by DOE and DOA. Thisproblem should have been dealt with on Grand Cayman 20 years ago.

    To allow them to reach and take hold on the Sister Islands is reprehensible.

    Just another example of the uselessness of all these expensive govt departments.

    DOE can’t track a fast moving conch. So to expect them to catch a green iguana is too much.

    Disgusted.

  17. Anonymous says:

    They are also in LC hopefully the authorities are aware of this as well. As we all know LC is the home of lots of Blue Iguanas.

    CNS: There are no blue iguanas on Little Cayman. Both Sister Islands are home to rock iguanas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why isn't there a hefty fine for anyone  bringing them into the islands? 

      • Anonymous says:

        Why would anyone bother to bring one here? That's like taking cow paddies to the LA. The old LA that is. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is all immigration's fault.

     

    Those expat iguanas should have never been given status in the first place. 

    • Anonymous says:

      They weren't. They are here running around having illegally entered the country commiting crimes against the native iguanas and pushing them off their territory.   

    • Anonymous says:

      "Paper" iguanas.  meh. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    Like other iguanas, green iguanas can spread as population by natural means, often for example by being carried on floating objects.  If the greens are superior in terms of survival than other species then it is contrary to evolution to support the weaker at the expense of the more effective.

    • Anonymous says:

      On that basis there should never be any protection for any endangered species. After all it is just survival of the fittest.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn't consider hitching a ride on the barge as "natural".

      Floating in on a 100lb bag of ganja…maybe.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps. But, as the obvious conclusion in this case is NOT that they got there naturally … kill them before they become established. And take any from people that have them before they have a chance to escape. And don't let any more onto the Island. (And LC too.) – Yes, the green iguanas are that bad. (Though for Gradn Cayman I agree its too late/expensive for Governemnt intervention.)

      • Anonymous says:

        I don't think its too late to eradicate them from Grand Cayman although it may be a bit expensive. Government could offer a small bounty for the dead females only (as its very easy to tell the difference between male and female) as the males don't lay eggs and when there is a shortage of females the males will fight and kill each other and eventually die off of old age. If the DOE put a program like this in place they will all be gone in about ten years. But what do I know, I'm just a dumb Caymanian and we only take advice from smart expatriate experts.

        • Anonymous says:

          I'm a dumb Caymanian too. How do you tell the males and females apart? Other than the size of their femoral pores and hemipenal bulge of course, but I'm not looking that closely at them when I catch them I must admit. Whats an easy way, other than the big ugly ones probably (but not necessarrily) being males?

        • Diogenes says:

          My advice if they introduce a bounty is catch a few and start a breeding program!

    • Anonymous says:

      The imported Green Iguanas are a pesk and should be controlled.  They are every where since Ivan and being nuisances.  Kill them or send them off island where they will be used for food.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to launch a proper culling program on the green iguanas on Grand Cayman.  They are making a terrible mess of everything. We are overrun with them.  It is aweful.

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      Lionfish is now on the menu of local restaurants.  Why not iguana too?  

      • Anonymous says:

        taste better than sea turtle too

      • Ptolemy says:

        You surely do not expect people to eat lizard meat. It is just like its cousin the turtle.

        • Anonymous says:

          What an illogical statement. If it is just like turtle, as you say, which many people do eat then obviously we would expect people to eat it as well. Of course many people outside of Cayman e.g. Honduras, do eat iguana meat. You are just showing your ignorance.

        • Hoping for better days says:

          Please explain the similarities with turtle meat and iguana. I have never heard this one before. DO share!!!! Knowledge is power!