Uncommon iguana hunt caught on camera near Clearwater wows onlookers

Encounters with the invasive species rare for the area ... for now

By John Hett - Digital Editor

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A young male from Largo near Clearwater hauled in an iguana, a rarity for that part of Florida, officials say. The capture wowed onlookers. 

While a regular occurrence in South Florida, encounters with the green iguana in the region are far less common. So rare, in fact, that only 10 sightings combined were recorded in Pinellas and Manatee counties in 2018.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, however, for every one reported there could be dozens more. Wild iguanas can live up to 10 years in the wild and females can lay up to 76 eggs.

With the green iguana posing a threat to native plants and infrastructure, like sea walls and electrical boxes sought for their warmth, the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health has developed an interactive map to monitor the animal’s population expansion.

Under an executive order in 2017, iguanas can be caught and killed without a permit. One Tampa Bay area man took the hunt to the streets to the delight of two onlookers. 

The first video from a residential security camera shows the young male coaxing the lizard from under a vehicle and then chasing the animal across the street: 

The second video shot from a phone from a man shows the young male emerging from behind the house the iguana in hand, while a girl takes a picture: 

Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.