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‘It’s a nightmare:’ Iguana causes power outage in Florida town for third time this year

<i>Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images</i><br/>A large green iguana ended up on a transformer at Lake Worth Beach's Sixth Avenue substation
Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images
A large green iguana ended up on a transformer at Lake Worth Beach's Sixth Avenue substation

By Melissa Alonso and Zoe Sottile, CNN

An iguana caused “a large-scale outage” in Lake Worth Beach, Florida earlier this month — the third iguana-triggered outage in the city this year.

The outage impacted about 1,400 customers in Lake Worth Beach in Palm County, city spokesman Ben Kerr told CNN. The power was restored within 35 minutes, according to a tweet from the city.

LWB Electric Utility responded to the “large scale outage” at the city’s 6th Ave Substation on December 7, said the tweet.

“Every utility agency in Florida deals with this. It’s a nightmare,” Kerr said about the animal-caused outages. “It’s happened three times this year because of iguanas” in Lake Worth Beach, he said. “That’s down 50% from last year.”

Kerr attributed the reduction in the incidents to added safety measures at substations. He said the city is actively working on improvement projects to mitigate the iguana outages.

Iguanas are extremely adept climbers and have large bodies — a combination which makes the reptile a bigger threat to electrical equipment than birds or squirrels, according to Kerr.

“Unlike birds, the tail and sheer size of iguanas” allows them to make a connection between two parts of the electrical system, he said. This was likely the cause of the latest outage, he added.

Green iguanas are not native to Florida but began to appear in the state in the 1960s, likely escaped or released from captivity, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The reptiles are considered an invasive species “due to their impacts on native wildlife” and legally can be humanely killed on private property, the commission said.

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