The National Weather Service (NWS) took the unusual step on Tuesday of warning that frozen iguanas are expected to shower south Florida as temperatures drop to unusually low levels for the region overnight.

Iguanas, as it turns out, are susceptible to freezing once temperatures drop to around 40F (4.44C). When frozen, these cold-blooded creatures lose their grip on the cozy trees they call home and slip. But the experts informed the public to be aware that the chilled reptiles may be stiff and appear lifeless – but they are not dead.

The NWS made the decision to alert the public on Twitter to the increased likelihood of the falling iguanas.

NWS Miami
(@NWSMiami)

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

January 21, 2020

Floridians seem relatively unfazed that green reptiles may freeze up and show up petrified around their pools or on their decks. The possibility has come about every winter for years.

Maxine Streicher
(@MaxineStreicher)

It’s so cold the iguanas are freezing and falling out of trees @CBS12 pic.twitter.com/9nCTfKPaGJ

January 4, 2018

Kay Pavkovich
(@kay_pavkovich)

The iguana fared well but he has another cold night ahead! pic.twitter.com/zR0PFI7Oku

January 4, 2018

Iguanas are an invasive species in Florida and can be little nuisances when not frozen. They can damage infrastructure by digging small burrows into sidewalks or foundations and leave their droppings on decks and inside swimming pools.

But when winter comes around, frozen iguanas warm the hearts of even their worst enemies.

Frank Cerabino, a columnist for the Palm Beach Post, wrote in an article last winter that his backyard iguana was no friend to his home for the “Jimmy Dean-sausage-sized memento” they tend to leave behind. But this time around, he “got the pool skimmer, and moved his whole body out of the water so he was flat on his back on the patio next to the pool. I decided to give him a fighting chance,” he wrote.

Frank Cerabino
(@FranklyFlorida)

The scene at my backyard swimming pool this 40-degree South Florida morning: A frozen iguana. pic.twitter.com/SufdQI0QBx

January 4, 2018

If the thought of interacting with a green reptile makes you squeamish, you are in luck: wildlife conservationists recommend not touching frozen iguanas, as they may thaw unexpectedly and feel threatened if a person comes close to them.

“Like any wild animal, it will try to defend itself,” Kristen Sommers, from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Washington Post last year.





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