An iguana ended up inside a Florida woman’s toilet. Here’s how it got in — and out

·3 min read

Michelle Bennett had a really bad case of the Mondays last week.

The Hollywood woman told CBS4 she was entering her bathroom at around 5 a.m. when she spotted something in her toilet that shouldn’t have been there.

It was an iguana — a big one — and it didn’t seem to welcome relocation.

“I was getting up, I put my glasses on, turned on the light,” Bennett told the station, “and I threw the lid back down!”

At first, she tried to flush the reptile down the bowl. That wasn’t successful.

Then she called in the cavalry: trapper Harold Rondan of Iguana Lifestyles, who identified the unwanted guest as a Mexican spiny-tailed iguana, one of many invasive iguanas common to South Florida.

The horrified homeowner was wise not to snag it herself. Rondan said that would have been a risky maneuver.

“With a regular green iguana, if you catch it by the tail, it’s razor sharp, so you could cut yourself,” said Rondan, who added that this particular guy in the toilet packed even more punch.

“These have 16 rows of spikes and their tails are stronger and thicker,” he said. “If you grab it, it could slice your hand to the point that you could need surgery.”

The tail isn’t the only issue: Mexican spiny tails are much more aggressive than your garden variety iguana.

“If you grab it wrong, with not a firm enough grip, it could potentially bite you,” said the Puerto Rican native. “It will stand its ground and tear your flesh with its small, clear teeth.

“Not worth it.”

The iguana’s entry point to the home? The vents in the roof, which is why placing mesh over the opening is a good idea, the wildlife expert told the Miami Herald.

And it’s not cheap to have a professional remove an iguana. His services start at $300. Putting up mesh can be less expensive.

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“People don’t realize how they get in,” said Rondan, whose company is based in North Miami Beach. “All bathrooms have vents. You’ll see other things fall through like little frogs.”


On his YouTube page, Rondan shows just how he extracted the dark colored iguana, which is seen in his video (with dramatic soundtrack) calmly perched on the porcelain, its large tail in the toilet water.

The trapper, from about a foot away, reaches out a stick that hooks onto the iguana, then gingerly pulls it out.

Woman lifts toilet bowl lid to find an iguana lounging in the commode

So what happened to the uninvited bathroom visitor?

By law, Rondan had to humanely kill it with an air rifle shot to the head, double bag it and throw it in a dumpster. An iguana is nonnative to Florida and considered by the Florida and Wildlife Conservation Commission to be an invasive species.

“I get questions like, ‘Oh, it’s so cute!’ ‘What did you do with it?’” Rondan said. “The FWC says that the moment you trap it you are responsible for killing it. I could lose my license if I don’t.”

Same goes for the average, freaked-out homeowner. If you see one in your house (or toilet), don’t dispose of it. Either call in a pro or humanely kill it.

If a nosy neighbor sees you releasing one back into the wild and reports you to the FWC, you can be fined for introducing an invasive species back into Florida.

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