Some surprisingly chilly temperatures have pushed their way into South Florida this week, and this morning was particularly frigid. In fact, the air is so unseasonably cold that weather officials are warning residents across the southern tip of the state to be on the lookout for falling iguanas. Yes, you read that correctly.
The reptiles, which love warm weather and have a habit of hanging out in trees, don’t do well when the temperature drops to the 20s and 30s. As cold-blooded animals, they can’t control their own body temperature and will actually “freeze up” if they get too chilly. The stunned creatures are then at risk of losing their grip and tumbling to the ground, hitting whatever (or whoever) happens to be standing below.
The National Weather Service even has a nickname for this phenomenon, calling it “iguana rain.” When the reptiles become rigid, they’re not actually dead, but the risk of injuries from falling is high. If they can avoid physical damage and ride out the cold snap, they generally recover once temperatures climb again.
Jan 22: Don't know about you, but 4 layers plus a scarf was not enough this morning with wind chills in the 20s and 30s across South FL. Check out the morning lows below! Slight chance of rain today for the east coast (iguana "rain" chances drop to zero by this afternoon) #flwx pic.twitter.com/nVksPFOUHx
— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) January 22, 2020
Twitter is already packed with photos from Florida residents showing iguanas sitting around in a state of confused stupor. That’s just what happens when your blood starts, you know, not flowing like it should.
Iguana stunned by the cold in front of my house near West Palm Beach. Last pic has my flop for scale.
I figured I'd find him– he's a regular around my yard.
— Hank Epton (@HankEpton) January 22, 2020
The good news is that temperatures are already rebounding and much of South Florida is expected to be nice and warm in the coming days, with highs in the 70s and lows not creeping below the 50s. That’s welcome news for the reptiles, but if you happen to be in South Florida, keep an eye out for some iguanas that might need a helping hand.