According to poet Robert Frost "Some say the world will end in fire. Some say in ice." While so many animals have been losing their lives to the massive wildfires in Australia, unusually cold weather in Florida is taking its own toll. This week the National Weather Service issued a warning for South Florida residents to beware of falling frozen iguanas as unusually cold temps grip the region.
Image via Wikimedia
Sadly the multitude of iguanas living in South Florida are at risk when the temperature drops into the 30s or 40s. They don't actually "freeze" but they do suffer from hypothermia. As cold-blooded creatures they do not produce any internal heat to help them when it gets cold. This causes them to lose their grip on the trees they live in and they fall to the ground.
Image via flickr
When the temperature rises to above 50 degrees they will slowly begin to come back and move again. However, if the temperature remains low for more than 8 hours then the cold can kill the creatures. Naturally the smaller the iguana the more deadly it is. Wildlife officials recommend not picking up or moving the reptiles since they might feel threatened if they come too in the middle of things.
Image via flickr
Since the last big cold spell in 2010 killed off a large number of the creatures there has been a population explosion among green iguanas. There are hundreds of thousands of them in South Florida and they are known to be nuisances. They poop in people's pools and snack on the ornamental plants in people's landscaping. They can even cause structural damage as they burrow under foundations and sidewalks. The iguana is not native to Florida and is considered an invasive species.
This week's cold spell is unlikely to strong enough to create much, if any, death for the iguanas. In 2010 the cold spell lasted for 12 days -- the biggest cold spell since the 1940s. Yesterday morning the temperature dropped to 40 degrees.
Sources: CBS Miami, The Guardian, Weather.com