You may have heard of "falling iguanas" but why does it happen, and when? Iguanas are cold-blooded and can seize up or get stunned when temperatures drop below 40°. When the reptiles sit in trees and seize up from the cold, their limbs stop working and then they usually fall from the trees and appear dead (above). Fear not, the iguanas are alive but if they remain exposed to temperatures of 40° and colder for a long time (8 hours or more), it can be fatal.
Please do not bring iguanas inside your home to warm them up - they can be dangerous for your home, pets, and yourself.
Temperatures in Florida are dropping this weekend which means we could see falling iguanas. Temperatures will be in the 50s along the immediate coastline from West Palm Beach down to the Florida Keys, so iguanas in those cities should be safe. However, the 30s are coming for the greater Tampa area and flirt with the danger zone for Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples on Sunday morning.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, iguanas are naturally found around the Fort Myers area, Naples, Port St. Lucie, and down the I--95 corridor through the Florida Keys. In these regions, they are the "squirrels of the South Florida". However, for the Space Coast and greater Tampa area, iguanas are released pets and are not widespread. What does this mean? Our counties in yellow will likely see falling iguanas, but because it is not the normal habitat for the reptiles, we don't expect widespread iguana fall-out.
The cold temperatures in Florida are part of a wider cold push that is bringing freezing temperatures all the way to the Gulf Coast. There are hard freeze warnings in effect from East Texas through Georgia with parts of the Florida panhandle and north Florida under freeze warnings. Temperatures Saturday into Sunday will be in the teens for many south of I-20, as cold as it was earlier this week. Along I-10 expect temperatures closer to the mid-20s. Cover your plants in the ground if you can, these temperatures can be detrimental to plants not hearty enough to the cold air.