Monday, February 05, 2007

Iguana the Other White Meat

South Florida’s stock of iguanas has grown rapidly over the last decade. These tropical lizards were introduced to South Florida as pets. The iguanas escaped or released from captivity have managed to propagate with amazing effectiveness. There are several varieties a feral iguana, but the green iguana is most common and the tastiest.

Some areas of Florida have sufficient stocks of iguanas to allow avid sportsmen the opportunity to bag a new species. The iguanas called “pollo del arbor” by local Hispanic groups, or chicken of the tree in English, do have a remarkable similarity in flavor to poultry.

With the newness of iguana recreational harvesting, the Florida Wildlife Commission has yet to set bag limits and methods of legally taking the reptilian delicacy. While hunting methods have been approved by a few municipalities fishing methods of harvest are recommended for highly populated areas.

Iguanas are by and large vegetarian in nature and have exceptional color vision. The most effective color patterns for iguanas are bright red to hot pink. Hibiscus flowers are popular as natural bait. Tomato wedges and red bell pepper slices are also popular.

Fly fishermen are having good success with Mylar rose petal patterns with red buckskin streamers also being productive. When fly-fishing for iguana in dense brush a tippet over 15 pounds is recommended. Dry flies are most effect.

Iguana trapping is employed legally in many areas of South Florida. Live traps are recommend and have to be checked once in a 24 hour period. Snares and metal leg traps are legal but not recommended to avoid catching neighborhood cats and raccoons. Traps should only be set during daylight hours when the iguanas feed.

Concerns by various animal rights groups have led to strict standards for dispatching your catch in some counties. Freezing as a method of euthanasia is generally accepted as humane. In the field, a large cooler of heavily brined ice is sufficient. Be sure to have a solid locking mechanism for the cooler lid.

Iguana meat is considered a delicacy with meat prices as high $15.00 per pound. With iguanas being feral game in South Florida, sale of iguana meat is lawful. Once you have had a taste of fresh fried iguana it is doubtful that you will wish to sell any surplus meat. Iguana freeze well and keeps for up to six months.

Iguana sport fishing is great fun way to reduce iguana over-population in urban or rural areas. If you would like more information on iguanas please visit the University of Florida’s website Photo by Thomas Wright, University of Florida.


  1. I would like to try some of that iguana meat.

  2. im trying to find a place that will buy iguana meat. im up in broward county. do you know of anyone? my email is

    1. All American Gator 9548688100