Florida Keys

An iguana gets zapped at a power substation. Somehow, it walked away

This iguana was the culprit in causing a power outage in Key West on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.
This iguana was the culprit in causing a power outage in Key West on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Keys Energy Services

Do iguanas have nine lives?

One of Key West’s many iguanas clicked off the electricity on parts of the island for about 10 minutes on Monday — yet walked away seemingly unscathed.

Described by a Keys Energy Services official as “wayward,” the iguana wandered into the Key West Diesel Substation in Bahama Village and somehow caused a transmission line outage affecting 7,600 of the utility’s customers, starting at 1:36 p.m. Monday.

Customers lost power largely in the midtown and Old Town sections of the island. Power was restored to everyone by 1:46 p.m.

Although it got zapped by 69,000 volts of power, this iguana — unlike others in the past involved in power mishaps — lived to see another day.

“The iguana apparently walked away from the scene, non-worse for the wear,” Julio Torrado, director of human resources and communications for Keys Energy, said in a statement.

Iguanas are ubiquitous in South Florida. A year ago, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hired a trapper for the first time to focus on managing the population on public land in the Florida Keys.

The FWC also started holding workshops on management efforts to show homeowners how to work traps, protect yards and ward off the reptiles.

Iguanas have burrowed into sewer lines and under roads, popped up in toilets and shopping centers.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.


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