Frozen iguanas falling from trees during cold snap in Florida
It’sin Florida that iguanas are falling from their perches in suburban trees. Temperatures dipped below 40 degrees Fahrenheit early Thursday in parts of South Florida, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. That’s chilly enough to immobilize the green iguanas common in the region. Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino tweeted a photograph of an iguana lying belly-up next to his swimming pool. But well-meaning residents finding stiffened iguanas are advised to leave them alone, as the animals may feel threatened and bite once they warm up.
“Don’t assume that they’re dead,” said Kristen Sommers, who oversees the nonnative fish and wildlife program for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The cold-blooded creatures native to Central and South America start to get sluggish when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, Sommers said. If temperatures drop below that, iguanas freeze up. “It’s too cold for them to move,” she 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 effort is planned for iguanas.