Green iguana

Alert

Have you seen Green iguana?

Be on the lookout for Green iguana and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Green iguana.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to Central and South America, green iguanas are large lizards with prominent dewlaps and spiny backs. In Florida, USA, escaped and released iguanas have established feral populations that damage vegetation, dig burrows, and can be aggressive if confronted by pets or people.

Green iguanas are an illegal pet in Queensland and no wild populations have been recorded in the state. However, they are suited to the climate throughout much of Queensland and could become a pest if introduced. Green iguanas could have adverse impacts on many native species, particularly native lizards.

To prevent green iguanas from establishing in Queensland, restrictions apply to their import, possession and sale.

The green iguana is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Iguana iguana

Description

  • Large lizard up to 2m long (including tail), average weight 4-6kg but can reach 9kg.
  • Dewlap under throat is prominent, larger in males.
  • Crest of robust dermal spines runs from neck to tail.
  • Head has set of large scales on each side.
  • Tympanum (hearing structure) has membrane covering.
  • Tail is long, tapering, variably ringed.
  • Colour ranges from green to brown, orange and bluish-green.

Habitat

  • Prefers tropical and subtropical rainforest, riparian vegetation and urban parks with readily available water source.

Distribution

  • No feral populations recorded in Queensland.
  • Limited number of green iguanas kept under permit by zoos.
  • Illegally kept green iguanas are occasionally detected and humanely destroyed.

Life cycle

  • Life expectancy 8 years for wild animals, 20 years for captive.
  • Sexually mature at 3-4 years.
  • Females can store sperm for several years.
  • Eggs are laid once a year in clutches of 20-70.
  • Eggs hatch after 90-120 days.
  • Juveniles stay with family groups for 1 year.

Affected animals

  • Native reptiles

Impacts

Environmental

  • Can compete with native species such as eastern water dragons for resources.
  • Can overgraze native flora and spread weed seed.

Social

  • Can injure people with tail slaps, bites and scratches.

Control

  • Early detection is essential for preventing pest establishment. If you have seen or are in possession of a green iguana please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Legal requirements

  • Green iguana is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be kept, moved, fed, given away or sold without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Green iguana escaping until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information