The Miami-South Florida National Weather Service warned last Sunday that immobilized iguanas could fall from the trees due to the unusually cold temperatures throughout the region. “Iguanas are cold-blooded. I know slow down or they become immobile when temperatures drop. They may fall from trees, but they are not dead,” the service said on Twitter.
It’s officially raining iguanas in South Florida pic.twitter.com/9ecBQELUUE
– Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) January 30, 2022
Temperatures in South Florida reached a low of -4C on Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service, and high temperatures on Sunday were expected to remain between -10C and -15C.
The northeast of the country was hit on Saturday by a deadly winter storm that brought several states to declare the emergency and forced the cancellation of more than 1,400 flights.
Zoologist Stacey Cohen, a reptile expert at the Palm Beach Zoo (Florida), explained the iguana phenomenon to the WPBF television network.
“Their bodies basically start to fade where they lose their function and then they’re up in the trees on the branches sleeping and then because it’s so cold, they lose that ability to hold on and then they do fall out of the trees a lot,” Cohen said.
Although it is likely that most reptiles survive Due to this period of immobilization, Cohen said that frigid temperatures are a threat to their survival and pointed to a cold snap in 2010 that wiped out large numbers of the population.
“The cold is a very, very threatening thing for them because they are from parts of Central and South America, near the equator, where it always stays cold. very hot“, He said.
Green iguanas are not native to Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They were accidentally introduced as stowaways on cargo ships and are considered an invasive species. They can weigh up to 7.5 kg and measure more than 1.50 m in length.
These iguanas are not the first animals to suffer from the cold this winter. Hundreds of thousands of farmed fish have died from heat shock in a lagoon in northwestern Greece after a heavy snowstorm brought the country to a standstill last week.