How To Keep Iguanas Out Of Garden

Green Iguana In A Garden
green iguana
(Image credit: artenex)

To those who live in cooler places, iguana control may seem like a trivial problem. However, if you live in a place where iguanas roam freely, the question of how to get rid of iguanas is a big one. These pesky reptiles can damage flowering plants and vegetables if left unchecked. Let's look at how to keep iguanas out of gardens and away from your pretty plants.

Iguana Damage

Iguanas are plant eating lizards and will eat a great many kinds of plants. In particular, they like flowering shrubs, like hibiscus, and berry fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, strawberries, and figs. They also dig burrows to live in. These burrows can damage lawns and walkways in the garden. Iguanas may also leave feces that is not only smelly and unsightly, but a health hazard as well-- iguanas carry salmonella.

How to Keep Iguanas Out of Garden

Most iguanas that come into the garden are domesticated pets that either escaped or were released by lazy owners who no longer wanted to care for them. This does not mean that you can simply go up and pick up the iguana or touch it. Many of these former pets have gone feral and can be dangerous if they feel threatened. The best way for eliminating iguanas is to keep them out of the garden in the first place. This form of iguana control means changing the environment some, so it is not iguana friendly. Some ideas are:

  • Do not leave food scraps, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, out in the garden or in open compost bins, as this can be an additional food source for iguanas.
  • Get rid of areas where iguanas can hide such as brushy, low growth plants and shrubs and piles of branches or stone.
  • Cover or get rid of flat warm surfaces, such as sidewalks and rocks, where iguanas can sun themselves.
  • Fill in burrows as you find them. Do not leave a burrow open. Try to fill burrows during the day when the iguanas will not be in them.

Making your garden more friendly to predators to help keep iguanas out of the garden is helpful. Owls, hawks, and crows will all eat young iguanas. Pet dogs will bark at and sometimes chase iguanas, which will eventually drive the iguana out of the garden. Be aware though that large iguanas can hurt your pet, so use caution when deciding if your dog can be out with a wild iguana. Low fences around gardens can be enough to keep iguanas out. On trees and shrubs, a slick metal collar of 6 to 12 inches (15-31 cm.) can be placed around the trunk of the plant to keep iguanas from climbing the plant and eating the flowers. You can try trapping or snaring iguanas. The best place to put traps or snares is at the end of recently erected fences. The iguana will walk along the fence and right into the traps as it looks for a way around the new fence.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.