Florida Issues Warning on Falling Iguanas

They were immobilized by cold snap
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2022 5:45 PM CST
Iguanas Are Falling From the Trees in Florida
This image from video provided by Stacy Lopiano shows an iguana lying in her yard in Hollywood, Fla., on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. Low temperatures across the state often cause iguanas to fall from trees.   (Stacy Lopiano via AP)

In Florida, falling temperatures have created a potential hazard to cars and people: falling iguanas. The National Weather Service's Miami office warned Sunday that cold weather can cause the cold-blooded reptiles to go into a coma-like state and lose their grip while resting in trees, BBC reports. "Did you really think with the coldest temperatures in over a decade we would not warn you about falling iguanas?" tweeted the NWS.

The NWS explained that the cold-blooded reptiles slow down and can become immobile when temperatures drop into the 40s—but they're not dead when they fall from trees. In most cases, they remain alive in a coma-like state and become active again when temperatures start to rise. The service says temperatures reached a low of 25 degrees Fahrenheit early Sunday and rose to the 50s later in the day, per Reuters. There were no reports of injuries or damage caused by falling iguanas.

Iguanas are not native to Florida, and some of them didn't survive when a similar cold snap hit the state in 2010, says Stacey Cohen, a reptile expert at the Palm Beach Zoo. "Their bodies basically start to shut down where they lose their functions, and so they are up in the trees on the branches sleeping and then because it gets so cold, they lose that ability to hang on and then they do fall out of trees a lot," she says. (More Florida stories.)

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