You may have seen one of our newest Zoo family members, Emerald the green iguana, in her habitat on the Caribbean Trail. This stunning reptile has had quite the journey to the Zoo.
After being found in a parking lot in Rockledge by a local, Emerald was brought to our conservation partners at Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary. This organization could not release the iguana because it is a nonnative species, so they reached out to us to see if we could provide a home for Emerald.
Fortunately, we had a spot perfect for her, and she quickly adapted to her new home and can now be seen climbing or relaxing alongside neighbors Yasiel the Cuban amazon and Zippy the blue-crowned parakeet.
Green iguanas originated in Latin America and the Caribbean and were first documented in Florida in the 1960s. They are considered invasive and can cause considerable damage to infrastructure like seawalls and sidewalks, and consume plants on which native species depend.
Pet owners who are unable to care for their animals can surrender them without penalty to the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program, which helps reduce the number of nonnative species being released into our fragile ecosystems.