Iguanas Are Falling From The Sky And Causing Chaos In FloridaMatthew Russell
Florida has seen its fair share of natural disasters in the last few years, but it’s the more unnatural ones that are causing a stir in 2018.
Want some good advice? Don’t walk near trees.
Iguanas have been falling from low limbs in the Sunshine State, stunned into a torpor from low temperatures. As the mercury dipped into the 30s, more and more South Floridians have been finding the lizards laying belly up.
But they’re not dead.
The scene at my backyard swimming pool this 40-degree South Florida morning: A frozen iguana. pic.twitter.com/SufdQI0QBx— Frank Cerabino (@FranklyFlorida) January 4, 2018
The iguanas are just experiencing a temporary state of hibernation and often fade back into lucidity in the warmth of the sun. They climb up into the trees to sleep at night, but the cold has been flipping an instinctual switch that tells their bodies to get ready for a long winter.
“When the temperature goes down, they literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees,” Ron Magill, communications director for Zoo Miami, told the New York Times. “Which is why you get this phenomenon in South Florida that it’s raining iguanas.”
Larger iguanas tend to be injured less from the fall, Magiull said. But most of them have a problem coming to after coming down.
“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,” he said. “The ones that survive that cold streak are basically passing on that gene.”
Natural selection is winnowing out the lizards that can’t survive the cold snap and seemingly ensuring a future of heartier lizards. They may even make their way north.
Until then, they’re causing no shortage of havoc down south.
“They’ll fall out of trees. They’ll end up in areas where your cars are, parking lots, areas where they’re cold stunned,” Emily Maple, reptile keeper at the Palm Beach County Zoo, told WPEC.
As Florida’s iguanas face their own cold crisis, many other species are being threatened by a removal of governmental protection. Click the button below to make a difference!