Miami’s National Weather Service (NWS) issued an unofficial warning recently to look out for falling iguanas on Christmas Day thanks to a cold front.
“Iguanas are cold-blooded creatures, meaning they become stunned in cold conditions and sometimes appear dead,” Fox 13 reported Thursday.
When temperatures drop into the 40s, the green creatures become immobile and sometimes drop out of trees.
“Low temperatures in the 30s/40s and falling iguanas are possible. Keep up with forecast changes and stay warm!” the NWS wrote Monday:
Dec 21 – Brrr! Much colder temps expected for Christmas. Low temperatures in the 30s/40s and falling Iguanas are possible. Keep up with forecast changes and stay warm! #flwx pic.twitter.com/BRYfugIE5Q
— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) December 21, 2020
Wildlife experts advise residents not to touch the iguanas because they will eventually warm back up and move.
Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill says bigger iguanas can tolerate longer periods of cold compared to the smaller ones, CBS Miami reported:
He also commented that many iguanas in South Florida have adapted to digging deep burrows, so they are insulated from the cold. Iguanas also tend to live close to large bodies of water, which can be warmer than the air temperatures, so it can help them survive short cold snaps.
When temperatures dropped in January, WPLG reporter Parker Branton captured video footage of iguanas that fell from trees:
“Some might think these guys are dead when they see them laying like this, but they’re not,” Branton explained while sitting next to an iguana. “They’re still breathing. They’ll eventually thaw out and be on their way.”
In Florida, green iguanas are considered an invasive species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website said:
Green iguanas cause damage to residential and commercial landscape vegetation and are often considered a nuisance by property owners. Iguanas are attracted to trees with foliage or flowers, most fruits (except citrus) and almost any vegetable. Some green iguanas cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks. Green iguanas may also leave droppings on docks, moored boats, seawalls, porches, decks, pool platforms and inside swimming pools.
“This species is not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law,” the site concluded.