It's so cold in Florida, iguanas are falling from trees
By Jennifer Kay
From Associated Press
January 04, 2018 4:02 PM EST
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It's so cold in Florida that iguanas are falling from their perches in suburban trees.
Temperatures dipped below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) early Thursday in parts of South Florida, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.
That's chilly enough to immobilize green iguanas common in Miami's suburbs.
Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino tweeted a photograph of an iguana lying belly-up next to his swimming pool. WPEC-TV posted images of an iguana on its back on a Palm Beach County road.
The cold-blooded creatures native to Central and South America start to get sluggish when temperatures fall below 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius), said Kristen Sommers, who oversees the nonnative fish and wildlife program for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
If temperatures drop below that, iguanas freeze up. "It's too cold for them to move," Sommers said.
They're not the only reptiles stunned by this week's cold snap: Sea turtles also stiffen up when temperatures fall. The wildlife commission's biologists have been rescuing cold-stunned sea turtles found floating listlessly on the water or near shore, but no such rescue is planned for iguanas.
Well-meaning residents finding stiffened iguanas are advised to leave them alone, as they may feel threatened and bite once they warm up.
"Don't assume that they're dead," Sommers said.
Green iguanas are an invasive species in Florida known for eating through landscaping and digging burrows that undermine infrastructure. They can grow over 5 feet (1.5 meters) long, and their droppings can be a potential source of salmonella bacteria, which causes food poisoning.