Watch For Falling Iguanas During Cold Snaps


WXTL, ABC News Affiliate

Shaelyn Drost, Managing Editor

South Florida’s abundant iguana population has been becoming immobilized due to the recent cold front on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Iguanas are frequent to South Florida, especially with the rise in global climate temperatures. There are no methods to obtain exact numbers, but it is estimated that the numbers reach well into the millions. This dramatic increase can be attributed to the iguana’s lack of predators as well as a lack of cold snaps.

However, this has changed with South Florida’s recent cold front, dipping into the low 40’s on both Wednesday and Thursday of this week. With these reptiles being coldblooded, they have been freezing and becoming immobilized. In the past, there have even been several incidents of vehicular damage due to the solidity of these iguanas falling from branches of trees.

But this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

A two week cold snap in 2010 killed off many iguanas in this same way, along with other invasive species to Florida such as Burmese pythons. Though many hoped that this would assist in regulating the detrimentally vast invasive populations, the cold snap in 2010 did not last long enough to make a significant impact. The populations have since rebounded.

The same applies to the current cold snap, though it is even shorter than that of 2010. Contrarily, though, the cold has not remained long enough to kill the iguanas, as many have been reported to eventually warm up and mobilize.

Locals have been warned not to interfere with the frozen iguanas, as many become aggressive upon returning to normal. South Florida residents have also been told to avoid parking under trees if at all possible.

The return of higher temperatures will be beneficial to these reptiles, though the approaching winter may prove detrimental to their population once more.