Florida restricts sales of reptiles amid fears of invasive species

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is restricting the sale, breeding and possession of Tegu lizards and green iguanas.

The proponents of the ban said the reptiles have overrun Florida’s native ecosystem. The restrictions also apply to Burmese pythons, which are already banned as pets.

There was pushback from breeders and sellers who argue they’ve been helping to get rid of the invasive species since the business is an incentive to keep hunting them.

Near Homestead, Rodney Irwin, a Tegu hunter, said he is on the fence about the new rule. He has been in contact with other breeders around the state to figure out what to do next to stay in business.

Those who already have a Tegu lizard or a green iguana as pets will be able to get a license, authorities said.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.