Why iguanas are falling out of trees as temperatures drop in South Florida

As temperatures drop in South Florida, weather authorities are warning residents to be on the lookout for temporarily immobilized iguanas falling from trees.

According to the National Weather Service in Miami, temperatures in some areas could dip into the 30s overnight into Wednesday. Cold-blooded iguanas, according to the NWS, could "slow down or become immobile when temps drop into the 40s."



The agency advised that the immobilized iguanas could fall from trees and look dead on the ground, though they are actually still alive. The low temperatures stun the invasive reptiles, but the iguanas won't necessarily die. That means many will wake up as temperatures rise Wednesday.

Forecasters warned of similar conditions back in 2018. During that cold snap, residents who found stiffened iguanas were advised to leave them alone, as they may feel threatened and bite once they warm up.
A two-week cold snap with temperatures below 40 degrees in 2010 killed off many iguanas, along with Burmese pythons and other invasive pests that thrive in South Florida's subtropical climate.

Residents took to social media on Wednesday morning to share photos of the fallen, frozen iguanas.


Wednesday was the coldest morning in years across parts of Florida.

Miami dropped to 41 degrees - the coldest temperature in more than 9 years. The wind chill made it feel like the low 30s.



Forecasters warned of similar conditions back in 2018. During that cold snap, residents who found stiffened iguanas were advised to leave them alone, as they may feel threatened and bite once they warm up.

A two-week cold snap with temperatures below 40 degrees in 2010 killed off many iguanas, along with Burmese pythons and other invasive pests that thrive in South Florida's subtropical climate.

The good news is a warming trend is on the way. By Friday, temperatures will be near 80 in Miami.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.