HomeOutdoorsNewsFlorida man discovers spiny-tailed iguana ‘splashing and hissing’ in his toilet

Florida man discovers spiny-tailed iguana ‘splashing and hissing’ in his toilet

by Caitlin Berard
Mexican spiny-tailed iguana similar to individual in Florida toilet
(Photo by Jeremy Christensen via Getty Images)

An exterior door in the bathroom is a handy addition to any home, particularly one with a backyard pool. There’s just one thing – it’s crucial to keep the door closed, you never know what might find its way inside. One Florida man learned this lesson the hard way when he entered his bathroom to find an angry spiny-tailed iguana occupying his toilet bowl.

It all started when John Riddle, a resident of Hollywood, Florida, noticed that the door from his pool to his bathroom was ajar. So, as anyone would do, he walked toward the door to close it.

As he approached the bathroom, however, he heard a strange splashing coming from the toilet. Looking down, he locked eyes with an iguana, the hissing reptile nearly sending him running in fear.

“I thought I was in Jurassic Park or something,” Riddle told WSVN. “He was splashing and hissing at me. I was scared. I’m not a reptile fan.”

There’s no need to fear spiny-tailed iguanas

Finding an errant animal in your toilet is no doubt a shocking experience, but there’s no need to be afraid of iguanas. Like most reptiles, spiny-tailed iguanas are only a threat to the things that fall into their list of preferred meal choices.

In this case, that means leaves, flowers, and fruit, for the most part. That said, they will also munch on fish, spiders, insects, and eggs now and then. So, if anything, you’ll notice fewer bugs in your yard if you have a resident iguana.

This particular iguana was using threat displays to keep the curious human at bay. Again, like most reptiles, its primary method of self-defense is to flee. Since this one was trapped in a toilet bowl and unable to run, however, it might have attempted to bite or swing at Riddle with its tail.

Should the Florida man have suffered an iguana bite, he might have experienced some pain, but spiny-tailed iguanas aren’t venomous, nor do they have particularly large teeth. He would, of course, need to thoroughly wash the wound, though, as iguanas can carry salmonella.

Thankfully, Riddle decided against trying to pick up the iguana by hand. At least, he did at first. As the iguana hissed and thrashed in the toilet, he came to the (correct) conclusion to leave it be for the time being.

“It turned around and opened its mouth,” Riddle explained. “And that’s all I needed to see to, like, back off for a minute and figure out what was going on.”

Never attempt to handle wildlife by hand

Choosing to give both himself and the iguana a moment to catch their breath, he wisely blocked off the bathroom from the rest of the house. Sort of.

Riddle put up a baby gate to prevent the iguana’s escape, likely not realizing that spiny-tailed iguanas are excellent climbers. If the iguana wanted to venture out of the bathroom and into his home, it would’ve just scaled the gate.

After he had a chance to collect his thoughts, the Florida man returned to the bathroom. This time with the inadvisable intention of pulling the iguana from the toilet by hand. Luckily, for both the iguana and the man, the iguana had other plans.

“I came back probably a little less than an hour later, and there he was again, splashing around,” Riddle said. “This was my chance, and I was trying to work up the nerve to grab him and throw him out. But before I did that, he crawled out, and crawled behind the toilet, and that’s when I grabbed the strainer and shooed him out.”

Fleeing from the bathroom as quickly as possible, the iguana lept into the swimming pool before sprinting off into the backyard. “It’s a story to tell, for sure,” Riddle said. “Hopefully, we can avoid any instances in the future.”