Antler and Fin Podcast: Coconut Mango Iguana Tacos and Invasive Iguanas

Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are an invasive species in Florida and are not native to our state. They can cause considerable damage to infrastructure, including seawalls and sidewalks. 

This species is not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law. So, as long as you harvest them humanely and safely, which we do, then you can take as many as you want. 

In addition to damaging infrastructure, the iguanas eat pretty much all plants, fruits, and vegetables available to them. 

Personally, I think they taste amazing and should be eaten more frequently just out of principle and to keep numbers around my home low. 

This recipe is quick and easy, using tropical ingredients to form a delicious taco.

Read the written version of this recipe as prepared by Dustyn Carroll


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About Invasive Iguanas:

There are three types of iguanas found in Florida and all are invasive. There’s the black spiny-tailed iguana, the Mexican spiny-tailed iguana, and the green iguana. Of the three, the green iguana is the most… pervasive invasive. 

Green iguanas are native to South and Central America, as well as Mexico and some Caribbean islands. 

Green iguanas tend to be, you guessed green, though some verge on brown, or even black in color. Some may temporarily sport bright orange or pink highlights as well. 

They have a row of spikes down their back and tail with black rings. Large male iguanas can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh 17 pounds and will often have a large fan or dewlap at the throat which they can puff up to attract mates or scare off smaller males. 

Most iguanas come in under 7 pounds and females tend to be much smaller than males. 

They didn’t arrive in Florida until the 1960s when several were thought to come on shipping freighters from the Caribbean. 

At the same time, many were bought as exotic pets and released into the wild once they got too big to handle. 

Eventually, these stowaways and escapees formed colonies in southeastern and southwestern Florida, where they bred like wild. Researchers estimate that there are well over 20,000 iguanas in South Florida today. 

About Adam Berkelmans:

Adam Berkelmans, also known as The Intrepid Eater, is a passionate ambassador for real food and a proponent of nose-to-tail eating. He spends his time between Ottawa and a cozy lake house north of Kingston, Ontario. When not cooking, he can be found hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, reading, traveling, and discovering new ways to find and eat food.

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