Extreme cold has iguanas falling from trees in Florida

Credit PA

You know what they say: When it rains, it pours - and when it snows in Florida, it hails frozen iguanas.

"When the temperature goes down, [iguanas] literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees", Ron Magill, wildlife expert and communications director for Zoo Miami, told The New York Times.

On Thursday the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for parts of South Florida.According to The Sun Sentinel, temperatures in the area will be the coldest since the cold snap in December of 2010.

Iguana down: It's too cold for reptiles in Florida this year. The reptiles may be easier to catch this week when it's cold, Sommers said.

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It's so cold in Florida that iguanas are falling from their perches in suburban trees.

He suspects that, within a couple of decades, iguanas will creep north because they will be able to withstand colder climates. When the outside temperature drops, preservation of an ectotherm's body temperature becomes the No. 1 priority.

Green iguanas, like all reptiles, are coldblooded animals, so when the temperature falls to a certain level iguanas become immobile, said Kristen Sommers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

But well-meaning residents finding stiffened iguanas are advised to leave them alone, as the animals may feel threatened and bite once they warm up.

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Green iguanas are an invasive species in Florida known for eating through landscaping and digging burrows that undermine infrastructure.

The wildlife commission is holding workshops to train homeowners and property managers to trap or manage the creatures. They can grow to over 5 feet long, and their droppings can be a potential source of salmonella bacteria, which causes intestinal illness.

"Bats sometimes will fall out of the roost of trees when we have a pretty cold snap", Sommers said, adding that while she's heard of falling iguanas on social media, the agency hasn't gotten any reports of falling iguanas.

As this edge of the country is in the frigid icy grip of one of the strongest East Coast winter storms in modern history, even the usually balmy palm-tree riddled southern states are stunned. "In most cases, they're going to warm back up and move around again, unless they're euthanized".

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