MIAMI (CBSMiami) — South Florida is inundated with iguanas. Hundreds of thousands of them call South Florida home and now the National Weather Service says be on the lookout for falling iguanas due to the cold weather.
In a tweet, the NWS wrote, “This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr!”
“Iguanas are cold blooded. They slow down or become immobile when temps drop into the 40s. They may fall from trees, but they are not dead,” the weather service said.
Jan 21 – This isn't something we usually forecast, but don't be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr! #flwx #miami pic.twitter.com/rsbzNMgO01
— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) January 21, 2020
In general, iguanas begin to get sluggish or lethargic once the temperature drops below 50 degrees. If it drops below 45 degrees, they go into a cold-stunned state but remain breathing.
They wake up again when the temperature warms up again above 50 degrees. But if the temperature remains in the 40s for periods over eight hours, a large number of those iguanas will die, especially the smaller ones.
South Florida’s green iguana population exploded since the last prolonged cold spell in 2010 reduced their numbers. They are infamous for nuisance pool pooping and munching on ornamental landscapes.
While this week’s brief winter blast could stun the iguanas, it is unlikely the chill will be enough to kill them.
The 2010 die-off included a 12-day period of the coldest temperatures since at least 1940, according to the National Weather Service.
This week’s cold snap should be short-lived as temperatures are forecast to rebound into the mid-70s for highs in Miami by Thursday.