TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With temperatures expected to drop across south Florida Sunday morning, iguanas could fall from their perches in suburban trees.
It wouldn’t be the first time the reptiles get too chilly and tumble from the trees. In 2020, the National Weather Service in Miami issued an unofficial warning to residents to look out for “falling iguanas” as temperatures dipped below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The green iguanas, which are most commonly cold-stunned, are not native to Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. But do not worry they are not dead, in fact, they may thaw out and attack you, according to Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill.
“Generally speaking, the larger the iguana, the more it survives without showing any type of lasting effects. The smaller ones, however – you know, when you get the 2-footers and smaller, those animals many times do not recover. And they end up dying from that type of cold,” Magill said.
Magill said if you encounter frozen iguana, you should treat it as though it could be alive and dangerous. Bottom line: Don’t touch them.
“Incapacitated as you think, they can give you a serious bite,” Magill told NPR. “They can give you a serious scratch, a serious whip with their tail. They can present that kind of physical injury to you.”
The iguanas are not the only reptiles that can be stunned by this weekend’s cold snap: Sea turtles also stiffen Wildlife officials say the frigid animals may appear dead but often are still alive.