Iguanas capable of damage show up in Marco Island

Julie Salomone

Iguanas capable of damage show up in Marco Island

CREATED May. 16, 2012

MARCO ISLAND- Some scaly reptiles capable of major damage are showing up around Marco Island.

As Four In Your Corner's Julie Salomone discovered there is now an effort to catch them before they can cause problems.

Mary Newman works at a Marco Island inn and it's not just hotel guests who enjoy her beach.

"So many people including guests out here took photographs of it and it still didn't move," said Newman.

A few days ago an employee snapped photos of an iguana catching some rays on a hotel beach.

"Again, the iguana is looking to stay near the water incase anything comes after it then it
dives into the water," said Thomas Portuallo, Iguana Control owner.

Tom Portuallo with Iguana Control did not find any iguanas at the inn on Wednesday, but the city contracted his Coral Springs company to help trap and control the iguana population in Marco Island. Tom says he has received dozens of complaints from homeowners about these reptiles.

"The goal isn't to eradicate the iguana because that's unattainable, but the goal is to try and curtail it," said Portuallo.

On an overcast day, iguanas might be hard to catch, but Tom shows signs iguanas have been in a Marco Island neighborhood off of Tigertail Court.

"The iguana typically makes a hole that's oval in shape. Here is a hole that goes down 2 feet and curves to the right, perfect example," said Portuallo.

Iguanas can mess with burrowing owls nests and be a nuisance to small children and pets.

"Smalls dogs can get hurt. Large dogs chase the iguana or catch and bite it and then there can be issues of getting salmonella poising," said Portuallo.

Iguanas don't have any predators so the population can quickly grow especially in warm weather.

"As a proactive approach, the city contacted residents asking them if they do see iguanas contact the city and they'll send out Iguana Control," said Portuallo.

Tom suggests there could be an iguana problem if you see one in the same spot for at least 4 days out of the week.

If you are having issues with the reptile call Iguana Control at 855-525-5656 or call the city at 239-389-5003.

Julie Salomone
Fox 4