Iguanas in the Everglades

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Green iguanas are originally from Mexico and South America, but came to the United States in a number of ways. They stowed away on ships, escaped from private homes, were intentially released by exotic pet owners, or were brought to the States through natural disasters (like hurricanes).

These reptiles are primarily herbivores, feeding on leaves, fruit and flowers. Green iguanas might look clumsy, but they are fast and sprightly runners. When threatened, a green iguana will leap onto a branch, jump into water, whip its tail or bite a predator. They can even detach their tail when attacked.

For these reasons, there are signs in the Everglades – usually near beaches – that read Do Not Feed the Iguanas. But besides these signs, the green iguanas here are mostly ignored and tolerated. Once upon a time these invasive animals were compared to meandering docile peacocks, but because the population in the Everglades has been left undisturbed, green iguana numbers are on the rise.

Invasive animals disrupt delicate ecosystems, and Florida’s alien animals and plants are wreaking havoc in the Everglades. Read more about how giant, hungry pythons are taking over this national park.

On tonight’s Python Hunters: Everglades Under Siege, follow Greg and Shawn as they investigate this park’s invasive species and evaluate predator-prey relationships.

Watch Python Hunters: Everglades Under Siege TONIGHT at 8P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild!