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Cold Snap Brings Falling Iguanas to Florida

Credit: Unsplash

Cold-blooded animals like reptiles, including iguanas, need external heat sources to survive and move. In extremely cold weather, their bodies go into a hibernation-like state to protect themselves. In warmer regions like Florida, this is less of an issue, but even Florida can experience severe cold snaps.

Currently, Florida is facing exceptionally low temperatures, with the mercury dropping to as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Local reptiles, especially iguanas, are seeking warmth by climbing trees to bask in the sun. However, when the cold renders them immobile, gusts of wind can dislodge them from their perches, causing them to fall, sometimes on unsuspecting individuals. This led the National Weather Service Miami-South Florida to issue a “falling iguana alert” over the weekend.

According to the service’s tweet, “Iguanas are cold-blooded. They slow down or become immobile when temps drop into the 40s (4-9 Celsius). They may fall from trees, but they are not dead.”

Stacey Cohen, a zoologist and reptile expert in Palm Beach, explained, “Their bodies essentially start shutting down due to the cold, causing them to lose function and fall from trees where they were perched for warmth.”

Due to their origins in warm climates of Central and South America, cold poses a severe threat to iguanas. Fortunately, the temperatures are expected to rise in the following days, and the immobilized iguanas are likely to recover fully. If you come across a frozen iguana on the ground, it would be helpful to move it to a safe place where it can warm up.

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