While it is perfectly legal to kill green iguanas in Florida, a man who threw and stomped on the nuisance reptile will spend nine months in jail.
PJ Patterson pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty, months after a Palm Beach County judge ruled out his use of the “Stand Your Ground” defense at trial.
Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife. Like all non-native reptile species, green iguanas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law and can be humanely killed on private property with landowner permission. This species can be captured and humanely killed year-round without a permit or hunting license on 25 public lands in south Florida. According to FWC, you can shoot or hit an iguana with a hammer in the head to kill it. You can’t kick or throw it.
Patterson was caught on video kicking and throwing the iguana after it bit him. He claimed he was defending himself, but investigators say the man instigated the reptile by stepping on its tail and then kept assaulting it. He could’ve gotten five years behind bars if the case went to trial.