The National Weather Service on Monday warned Floridians to beware of falling iguanas as temperatures drop in the state’s southern regions.
The alert comes as southern Florida will be facing its chilliest Christmas since 1999, according to USA Today.
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
“At about 50 degrees, iguanas can become lethargic,” Chris Michaels, a meteorologist at WSLS 10 News, said. “It’s when the temperature drops to about 40 degrees or lower that their blood doesn’t move around as quickly. As a result, they can stiffen up and fall out of the trees in which they frequent.”
The stiffened reptiles then lying on the ground after falling from the trees they climb to rest on at night are not dead but immobile, FOX 8 reported. Once the sun comes up and temperatures get warm, they will “bounce back.” If not left alone, they can grow aggressive, scratch, and bite after thawing, according to FOX 8. (RELATED: Bandana-Wearing Iguana Allegedly Jumps Fence, Attacks Bystander)
“Even if they look dead as a doornail — they’re gray and stiff — as soon as it starts to heat up and they get hit by the sun rays, it’s this rejuvenation,” Ron Magill, Zoo Miami communications director, told The New York Times in 2018. “The ones that survive that cold streak are basically passing on that gene.”
Iguanas, native to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and introduced in South Florida through the pet trade, are notorious for eating valuable landscaping, plants, shrubs, and trees, burrowing, and damaging infrastructure, FOX 8 reported.