KEY WEST, Fla. (FOX 13) - The Florida Keys is a common destination to relax and let loose – and maybe let invasive iguanas eat your leftovers?
Barbie Smith, from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was vacationing in Key West with her boyfriend during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. One day during their stay at Ibis Bay Beach Resort, they ordered food at the resort. When they couldn't finish it, something else did -- the uninvited iguana.
Smith said the iguana is seen there almost every day, sometimes even going inside the restaurant. One of the employees shooed it away, but then 30 minutes later, it came back, jumped on the bar, and helped itself to their leftovers.
She recorded the bizarre, yet, very Florida moment, showing the iguana stretched out on the bar, munching away.
When it was done with Smith’s salad, it moved onto another plate.
“He ate that whole chicken bone,” one person is heard saying in the video, which was posted on Facebook.
“I’m impressed,” another person said.
“Go ahead and drink that Bloody Mary over there too, dude. Wow.”
Smith said everyone at the pool were laughing and became entertained with the iguana’s actions. However, the employees informed guests that the iguanas are a “real nuisance.”
“They cannot keep pretty flowers and plants around the resort because the iguanas constantly eat them,” she said. “Most of the visitors, including us found the iguanas to be entertaining and kind of cool!”
“But I imagine the resort owners do not,” Smith added. “I just happened to be there to catch this experience for myself!”
Green iguanas are an invasive species in Florida, and their sightings have recently increased during the hotter summer months. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials told FOX 13 that the agency has consistently advised homeowners that iguanas are not protected and can be removed from private property.
A 2017 executive order has since allowed residents to humanely kill them with permission of the landowner on which one is found.
FWC said the species were first reported in Florida in the 1960s. Their numbers have since increased, becoming a nuisance in many South Florida counties. Green iguanas can be kept as pets, but are not allowed to be released into the wild.
They can damage landscape vegetation, and can damage infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundation, seawalls, berms and canal banks.
LINKS: For more information on green iguanas, visit FWC's website. To report a sighting of a green iguana, visit https://www.eddmaps.org/report/. First-time reporters will be asked to sign up and create a profile.