Chiayi County’s Shueishang Township and other areas along the Bajhang River have now turned into a paradise for exotic reptiles, with countless brown anoles and close to 1,000 green iguanas infesting the areas as a result of owners abandoning their pet lizards, allowing them to proliferate and form groups. Many locals joke that the place is turning into a Jurassic Park.
The green iguanas became popular pets in Taiwan ten years ago, but it seems that in recent years many of them have been set free by their owners. The abandoned lizards have since inhabited the main gutter in Shueishang Township’s Neisi Village, living in groups and feeding on fruit and vegetables grown by local farmers. Their eggs are often found in local cemeteries. It is estimated that there are now close to 1,000 green iguanas living in Neisi.
Head of the Neisi Village Huang Wen-cheng notes that the green iguanas were first found in the village’s main gutter about 6 or 7 years ago when a villager saw them and reported this to him. Huang is now an expert at capturing the lizards, having captured over 50 of them. He sends the captured green iguanas to agricultural agencies and academic institutions for research.
(Liberty Times, translated by Tu Yu-An)
Did you know?
The green iguana is a herbivorous species of lizard native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean. It can grow to more than two meters long, with a bodyweight of up to 4kg. The species was formally introduced to Taiwan more than ten years ago and soon became a popular pet due to its bright colors and dinosaur-like appearance. However, taking care of the green iguana can be very demanding, as it requires special lighting, temperature control and lots of space. As a result, many green iguanas have been abandoned as adults.