Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tacos, anyone? Iguanas are falling from trees, and people are selling the meat online

Tastes like Chicken!

Mango season may be months away, but if you live in South Florida today, your trees may be ripe for the picking — of iguanas.

Iguana meat, dubbed “chicken of the trees,” started showing up on Facebook Marketplace overnight, as the temperature dipped into the 40s. The green iguanas are an invasive species, stunned lifeless by South Florida’s occasional cold snaps, and they die if the chilly weather holds. The National Weather Service even tweeted to watch out for falling iguanas.

That apparently makes them easy pickings for backyard harvesters.

Several ads for skinned and butchered iguanas, looking like Peking not-duck, were posted in Miami, Doral and Homestead. Some of the ads, however, were posted days ago and show iguana meat that has clearly been frozen (though not by South Florida’s climate).

At least one ad showed what looked like freshly prepped garrobo — a name often used as interchangeable for iguana in parts of Latin America. (The animals may be slightly different species, but both are often found as invasive in South Florida.)
But can you actually eat them, or should you?

You absolutely can — as long as the food comes from a reputable processor, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They are commonly hunted in Central and South America and parts of the Caribbean and are an “economical source of protein,” according to the organization’s post.

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