For a northeast born and bred boy like me, moving to South Florida was a bit of a change.
I don’t miss the weather, in fact I have come to love the heat and humidity, it makes me more cantankerous at times, but it’s better than cold and snow.
I always hated fall even though the fall foliage was beautiful, the smell of burning leaves and fireplaces lit for the first time was just downright depressing.
Living in a subtropical climate you get to see things that aren’t seen in Pennsylvania. Like feral iguanas. Yes, the green, prehistoric looking critters that you may have had as a pet at some point in your life are everywhere. Drive down a street or an interstate on a sunny day and look at any grassy area and you’ll see their heads up as they sun themselves.
These aren’t your normal iguanas though, some of these feral ones are 6 feet long or longer. Since they are a protected species, it’s illegal to kill them, but they can be trapped and humanely disposed of. The city of Boca Raton knew they had an iguana problem, but didn’t know how bad it was until one night the temperature dropped below freezing and the iguanas started falling from the trees as their cold blooded bodies started shutting down. Once the temperature rose, the critters were up back in action.
Here’s some photos I took of iguanas at Watercolors Restaurant at the Bridge Hotel in Boca. These critters hang out with diners on the outside deck and are fed quite well.
Pythons seem to be the latest problem in south Florida, enough so that an all out war is on to get rid of these snakes, some of them over 20 feet long. Snakes and I don’t get along, in fact they freak me out, so before I have nightmares tonight, enough of the snakes.
Both the iguanas and pythons are non-native to south Florida and have made their way here, whether we like it or not, because of irresponsible pet owners. People get these animals thinking they’re going to make great pets, but realize they aren’t and they just let them go in the wild.
Then the iguanas are left to eat up gardens and plants while the pythons threaten native species in the everglades and even try to match wits with alligators, often times unsuccessfully.
For as intrusive as some of these non-native species are, I find it hard to accept the fact that they need to be euthanized. But there isn’t any other way to protect the native species that belong here. I wish that there was a way to simply relocate the animals to an island full of the irresponsible pet owners who caused the problem in the first place.