Seeing iguanas scurry around your yard can certainly make you wonder how you can get rid of them! Fortunately, there are quite a few easy and inexpensive ways to get rid of iguanas.
So, just how easy is it to send those iguanas scattering away forever? You can use simple homemade iguana repellents, clean your yard of things which attract iguanas, or choose an iguana trap to get rid of iguanas.
There are some really interesting ways you can repel iguanas. Because although iguanas are popular pets who have very interesting characteristics most people want them out of their yard due to the destruction they cause.
What Are Iguanas?
There are three main types of iguanas, with the green (or common) iguana being the most widely found.
Iguanas are lizards which have saggy skin and spikes which protrude all along their backs and tail. They generally have pointy tails and sharp teeth. Iguanas vary in length from 5 inches right up to over 6 feet. Iguanas are fairly light in weight however, with the average weight being about 11 pounds and the heaviest generally being about 30 pounds.
Can You Trap Iguanas?
Yes, you can trap iguanas! There are a few different iguana traps you can buy or rent.
Snare Traps. These traps will clamp down on the iguana, leaving only their arms and legs free, and prevent them from getting away. They are usually fairly effective but could harm the iguana.
Cage Traps. Setting a cage trap with bait and allowing it to close after the iguana enters, leaving it in there until you can relocate it, are a very common type of iguana trap.
You can find cages which trap only one iguana at a time or many.
Adhesive Trap. These are traps which will ensure the iguana sticks firmly to the trap until it is released – or dies.
These traps are quite inhumane as the iguana will get injured or die a slow death.
What Do I Do Once I’ve Trapped an Iguana?
You may be tempted to release a trapped iguana into the wild however this is illegal in most areas of the U.S. because they’re considered an invasive species. You’ll want to contact your local wildlife foundation or even a local vet or pest control company to see what the rules are.
What Works Well For Iguana Bait?
Any plant or fruit works well to draw in an iguana to capture it, but these work the best.
- Mustard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
How Can I Get Rid of Lizards?
If you have a problem with iguanas, or any lizard, in your yard there are a few ways you can encourage them to move on.
Spray Them With Water. Lizards hate water and they hate surprises. So, if you spray lizards with water they’ll run – hopefully far away.
You can either keep a spray bottle filled with water in your yard or with you while gardening to spray iguanas and other lizards as you see them. Or you can install a motion-activated sprinkler to go off when it detects a lizard darting through your yard.
Make Noise. Lizards hate noise and they strongly dislike being disturbed when they’re lounging around or foraging for food. So, chances are they won’t stay very long in an area where they experience a lot of noise.
Pick up a noise activated motion detector or just play some music in your yard. Chances are the iguanas and other lizards will pack up and move elsewhere pretty quick.
Lizard Repellent. You can buy commercial products you can spray around your yard to keep iguanas away. These put off a smell which iguanas and other lizards find extremely off-putting and they should move along to another yard.
If you choose to use a spray repellent you should look for ones which don’t contain pesticides or any other chemicals since they can put humans and pets in danger. And they can also damage the soil or even pavement you are spraying them near.
Contact Pest Control. Your city should have a pest control company who can get rid of iguanas for you and make it so it’s unlikely they come back.
Trap Them. As mentioned above, there are a few different, very effective ways you can trap iguanas.
How Can I Stop Iguanas From Coming Into My House?
Sometimes iguanas come into your house searching for food, or if it’s cold and damp outside they’ll be searching for warmth. Here’s what you can do to keep them out of your home.
Keep Your Home Cool And Clean. By keeping the temperature of your home lower the iguana or any other type of lizard may not find it as hospitable as one which is nice and warm.
And by keeping your house clean you’ll provide fewer places for an iguana to hide and create a nest for themselves.
Seal Cracks In Your Doors And Windows. Iguanas can squeeze in through some pretty tight spots! So, if you have any small cracks or gaps in your doors or windows, they can enter your house that way. Get some caulk or weather-stripping – it’s fairly easy to install it yourself.
And if you like to purposely keep your windows open to let in a nice breeze make sure you get screens.
Keep Food Put Away. If you’re leaving a lot of food out on your table between meals or your pet’s food is out you may want to consider putting the food away while you’re not eating. Leaving food out makes it pretty tempting for iguanas and other lizards to enter your house.
Ensure Outdoor Areas Beside Your Windows And Doors Are Clear. If you have long grass, plants, or piles of lumber underneath windows or beside doors iguanas and other lizards may make their home in there. And if you happen to open your door or window, they may feel the heat and be encouraged to scoot in.
If these areas are clean, they won’t likely be hanging out near your door, and you’ll likely see – and stop – them if they are.
Get A Cat. Iguanas see cats as predators so they typically won’t go into any area where they see one.
However, if a cat does come across an iguana or other lizards, they will likely catch them and kill them. Which would rid you of your iguana problem – but leave you with a mess to clean up.
How To Keep Iguanas Away From Yard?
Since they can carry bacteria and create destruction in your yard it’s best to try your best to ensure iguanas don’t bother to come into your yard in the first place. Here are some ways you can do that:
Fill Iguana Holes. If you are already seeing holes created by iguanas in your yard you need to fill them as soon as possible.
The best way to fill holes already dug out by iguanas is to fill them with rocks before you put the dirt back on top. This will discourage the iguana from digging another hole. They will return to their original hole(s) and not be able to enter it – nor re-dig the hole – and probably move farther along – hopefully to another yard – to dig more holes.
You also take the chance that you could be burying the iguana in the hole, where they will be trapped and die. Any eggs buried in the hole will not hatch and produce new iguanas either.
Clean Up Your Fruit. Iguanas do like to eat fruit and the sweet smell can draw them in. So, if you have fruit trees make sure to clean up all the fallen, rotting fruit as soon as you can.
Secure Your Garbage. Some garbage can put off a smell which is super appealing to iguanas. Although they are herbivores, they are still drawn to things that smell good. So, make sure you keep all your garbage put into a proper container with a secured lid.
Protect Your Plants and Trees. You can use cages or wire fencing to prevent iguanas from being able to get onto your plants and snack. If they can’t find a food source or a place to live in your yard they’ll hopefully move on to another yard.
Feed your Pets Inside. Pet food puts off a very strong odor. And although they don’t usually eat it, the smell will draw the iguanas in.
How Long Do Iguanas Live?
Iguanas who are kept as pets tend to live about 10-12 years. However, most live less than a year due to being improperly cared for.
In the wild, iguanas can live for 15 – 20 years.
Where Do Iguanas Come From?
Iguanas tend to live in the rain forests of Central America, the Caribbean Islands, Northern Mexico, and Southern Brazil.
They are found in some areas of North America. And are considered an invasive species in the States of Florida, Texas, and Hawaii.
Why Are Iguanas Popular Pets?
Iguanas are the most popular lizards to be kept as pets. And although it may seem strange to keep a reptile as a pet, they are extremely popular pets.
They are quite hard to care for and are a longer-term commitment than most people realize. However, iguanas can be trained to be very loyal pets who recognize their owners, and are affectionate towards them. They can be trained to sleep, eat, and go to the washroom at certain times and have a great memory!
However, in some areas of the U.S., the iguana population has grown significantly over the past decade or so because people dump their pet iguanas in woodsy and green areas once they realize they are hard to care for.
Why Do Iguanas Dig Holes?
Iguanas dig holes and burrow into the ground just about anywhere because they are looking for a place to lay their eggs. Some also simply do it to have a cozy place to keep warm.
Why Do Iguanas Turn Orange?
Although iguanas are green to brown colored male iguanas sometimes turn an orange or orange-red color when the breeding season approaches. The orange coloring generally occurs along the back of the body but can happen along the sides and other parts of the body as well.
Why Do Iguanas Turn Black?
Iguanas turn a dark brown to black color when they are under stress. This can be due to being threatened by another iguana or because their habitat is in danger. It can also help them draw in more heat if it’s cold outside.
Where Do Iguanas Sleep At Night?
Iguanas crave warmth so they often will sleep out in the open, on the top of branches, or in other clearings because they are mainly found in hotter climates. Iguanas are active during the day and sleep at night.
However, they will often be seen lazing around and sunning themselves during the day as well. Their green to brown color makes it easy for them to blend into the greenery and dirt they are often laying on.
What Foods Can Iguanas Eat?
Iguanas are herbivores so they mainly exist on plants, greenery, and fruit.
Although other types of reptiles eat crickets and other bugs to get their protein, iguanas do not need protein to keep them healthy so they generally avoid eating bugs and other insects.
What Are Iguanas Favorite Food?
As mentioned, iguanas are herbivores but mostly they will eat green plants. Fruits like bananas and mangos are favorites as well.
Why Do Iguanas Bob Their Heads?
It’s interesting to see iguanas bob their heads up and down – and sometimes they do it very quickly! They are doing this to let the other iguanas in their area know they are in total control. It’s a way of establishing their territory and attempting to move other reptiles out of their area.
Female iguanas will bob their heads, but male iguanas will bob more than females, especially after they reach sexual maturity.
Do Iguanas See In Color?
Iguanas have excellent vision and can see at long distances. They can see colors, shapes, and detect movement.
Where Do Iguanas Lay Eggs?
Iguanas dig holes to make burrows to lay their eggs during the spring. Since they like the sun they often do this in warm, sunny areas.
Depending on the type of iguana they will generally lay about 20 – 65 eggs. The incubation period is about 90 – 120 days.
If iguanas mate the female iguana will lay the eggs a few weeks later. Interestingly, even if mating does not occur, the female will still lay eggs – however, they will not be fertile.
Are Iguanas Intelligent?
Surprisingly, of all the reptiles, iguanas are the most intelligent!
They have a great memory and are easily trained. And they remember the faces of people they see often.
Are Iguanas Solitary Creatures?
Iguanas are fairly social creatures who often travel in packs to forage for food and sun themselves. They often live together as well.
What Are Marine Iguanas?
Marine iguanas (also known as saltwater iguanas or sea iguanas) are iguanas which are found only on the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador).
These iguanas have a thicker body and shorter limbs than iguanas found elsewhere in the world.
They spend a lot of time underwater and they eat the exposed red and green algae found in subtidal zones. They only live about 5 – 12 years in the wild.
This type of iguana is not considered a suitable pet since they have to not only live in water – but a very specific climate and type of marine condition. The algae that they feed on is only available where it naturally grows.
Do Marine Iguanas Bite?
These particular types of iguanas are not at all dangerous – and they’re not afraid of humans either. However, you must use some caution because they do have sharp claws and teeth which can inadvertently hurt you.
Do Iguanas Carry Disease?
Iguanas sometimes carry salmonella and certain other bacteria which can make a human quite ill if they come into contact with it.
It can also be dangerous to pets and other animals and reptiles as well. And since its shed in feces, the bacteria can spread fairly easily.
Are Iguanas Aggressive To Humans?
Iguanas are not aggressive towards humans but they do have sharp spikes, long claws, and sharp teeth which they could use to harm a human if they are caught off guard or threatened.
They do have glands which produce venom. But it’s a weak venom which is unlikely to cause any harm even if it is passed along.
Since they do have such sharp teeth and they can pass along venom if you do get bitten by an iguana you should seek medical attention to ward off infection.
Are Iguanas Dangerous In Any Other Way?
Since iguanas do carry salmonella and other bacteria it’s dangerous to have them around – especially wild ones. They can pass it along to you and/or your pets. Their feces not only carry the dangerous bacteria but it has a very strong, unpleasant smell.
Iguanas dig burrows in your yard which can ruin your lawn and soil. And it creates a tripping hazard! Plus, since iguanas love to eat greenery your plants, shrubs, and certain flowers can be affected.
How Cold Can Iguanas Survive?
Iguanas are cold-blooded creatures. And as mentioned above, they crave the warmth and love to sun themselves to get warm.
They thrive in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If it dips below that iguanas become sluggish if they can’t warm up. If temperatures drop even lower iguanas can freeze up and become unable to move. If they stay frozen for more than a day or two, they generally will die.
Will Mothballs Repel Iguanas?
Mothballs have such a terrible smell they repel most animals and creatures – and some humans! So, keeping some beside your door or scattered around your garden may work to keep iguanas and other lizards away.
But please remember that they are filled with dangerous chemicals so they can harm to a child or animal which comes into contact with them. Plus, they can pollute the soil and areas they leak into.
Do Peacock Feathers Work to Repel Iguanas?
One great way which seems to work to keep iguanas and other lizards out of your home or yard is by sticking peacock feathers around your yard. Or you can place them in batches near doors and other areas which may appeal to iguanas.
It seems that iguanas see the peacock feathers and think it may be a predator so they shy away.
Peacock feathers are beautiful and add a decorative touch to your yard and won’t hurt anyone so it’s worth a try. Just please get your feathers humanely!
Do Eggshells Repel Iguanas?
Surprisingly eggshells can work to repel iguanas! Crumbling up eggshells and scattering them throughout your yard or placing them in areas of your yard which may attract iguanas should help to keep them away. It seems the smell of eggshells make iguanas think other animals may be around.
Plus, eggshells are thought to give extra nutrients to your garden and lawn, and since they won’t harm anyone, they make a great iguana repellent.
Can Iguanas Drown?
It is possible for an iguana to drown – but usually, they just look like they have drowned.
Iguanas can hold their breath for about 30 minutes (marine iguanas can hold their breath even longer!) and occasionally they lie very still on the top, or just under, the water – especially if it’s warm. Often it looks like they’ve drowned when in fact they’re actually relaxing.
Can You Kill Iguanas?
There are many rules around killing iguanas in the U.S. so it’s best to check with your local wildlife department or local vet to find out the rules for your area.
Can You Kill An Iguana In Florida?
Since iguanas (especially green iguanas) are considered an invasive species in Florida the state has no protections on iguanas. This means it is legal to kill iguanas in Florida, however, you must do it humanely and it is illegal to poison them or freeze them to death. Here are some ways you can humanely kill an iguana.
Pellet Gun. Using a BB gun is a great, quick way to kill an iguana. But you must be a good shot. Having to shoot it more than once to kill it is considered inhumane and can get you into some trouble.
Hit It. Same goes if you hit the iguana on the head with a shovel. You must kill it on the first hit.
Contact Your Local Wildlife, SPCA, or Veterinarian. Since there’s such a problem with iguanas a lot of animal services allow you to drop off (and some even offer pick up services) so they will euthanize the iguana for you.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare