Green Iguana

Iguana iguana

A close up of a rreen Iguana.

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Why is it important to report green iguana?

The green iguana is not native to Australia and if given the opportunity could populate a wide range of temperate landscapes within Victoria and northern Australia. The species ability to establish outside its home range is evident by the establishment of new populations across southern United States and several Caribbean islands. If introduced into Victoria it could impact on native species and potentially introduce new animal disease.

Green iguanas in Victoria

Green iguanas are classified as a Controlled Pest Animal under the Victorian Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. The importation, keeping, breeding and trading of this species, without appropriate permits, is illegal and penalties apply.

Reporting a green iguana sighting

Reports of green iguana are critical to Agriculture Victoria’s efforts to protect Victoria from the establishment of the species. If you think you have found a green iguana, report it immediately.

Please provide clear photos and descriptions of where and when the animal was sighted. Do not attempt to approach or handle the animal.

All reports are responded to as a priority and may result in trapping, surveillance and the removal of confirmed animals.

How to identify a Green Iguana

A close up image of a iguana.


Green iguanas can grow up to 1.7 metres in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres with bodyweights upward of 9 kilograms.


Despite their name, green iguanas occur in different colours and types. Depending on their origins, they can appear blue, red or orange.

Distinctive Features

Green iguanas possess a row of spines along their backs and tails, which helps to protect them from predators. In addition, iguanas have a well-developed dewlap, which helps regulate their body temperature.


The native range of the green iguana extends from southern Mexico to central Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia and the Caribbean, They are a tree-dwelling species, predominately found near water.

A close up image of a green iguana.


Green iguanas are predominately herbivores. While they may often be found in trees, these animals are well-known burrowers. During cold, wet weather, green iguanas prefer to stay on the ground for greater warmth. Green iguanas are by far the most globally traded reptiles, representing 46% of the total reptile trade in the US from 1996 and 2012. A proportion of these inevitability escape or are released resulting in breeding in the wild.

The combination of this propagule pressure and the history of establishing outside its home range makes this an invasive species in many parts of the world.

The Exotic Pet Trade

Green iguanas have the potential to fall victim to the illegal pet trade in Victoria where they are selectively bred and traded on the black market. The illegal keeping of green iguanas poses one of the greatest risks of the species establishing in Victoria. The illegal exotic pet trade can be cruel with animals suffering from starvation, dehydration, and injury during transit. Animals can be concealed in luggage where they are often bound, bagged, and gagged to prevent unwanted detection during transit. Illegally buying a green iguana only encourages this illegal pet trade.


This publication may be of assistance to you, but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

More information

For more information visit the Agriculture Victoria website or call the customer service centre on 136 186.

Authorised and published by Department of Energy, Environment & Climate Action, 8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne. September 2023.

If you would like to receive this publication in an accessible format, such as large print, audio or in another language, please call DEECA on 136 186, email customer.service@agriculture.vic. or visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Page last updated: 15 Nov 2023