Palm Beach, Florida —(Map)
The recent cold weather in the United States has had some unusual effects. In South Florida, temperatures dropped so low that iguanas began falling out of trees.
As temperatures began dropping in South Florida, the US National Weather Service began warning that iguanas might soon be falling from trees. It didn’t take long for the prediction to come true. Several people posted pictures of the fallen iguanas on social media. As one person wrote, “It’s true. It’s raining iguanas in South Florida.”
What happened? They were stunned by the cold. Iguanas are cold-blooded. That means they don’t make their own body heat like humans. Instead, they get their warmth from their environment – the sun, the air, and warm objects around them.
When the temperature gets too cold, the iguanas’ bodies slow down and they fall into a kind of sleep. For iguanas in trees, that means they can lose their hold and fall to the ground.
That’s what happened this last weekend, when South Florida had its coldest weather in over 10 years. In some places, it got down to 25º Fahrenheit (-4º Celsius).
If you think it doesn’t seem natural for iguanas to have this problem, you’re right. Green iguanas aren’t actually supposed to be in Florida at all. They are originally from warmer places in Central and South America.
They were brought to Florida by accident. Some were carried on ships. Others came as pets and somehow got free. Green iguanas are considered an invasive species in Florida.
Even though the iguanas may look dead, they’re usually not. This weekend, experts warned people in Florida not to bring the iguanas inside to warm up. Once they recover, they’re not always friendly.
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