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Frigid Snippet Leads to Descending Chameleons in Florida


Frigid Snippet Leads to Descending Chameleons in Florida

Credit: Unsplash

Allow me to provide you with a lesson in biology: creatures like reptiles, which rely on external warmth for survival and mobility, are more vulnerable to extreme cold. When faced with severe cold, their bodies automatically enter a state of hibernation to protect themselves. This explains why you won’t find lizards out and about during winter; they’re in hibernation mode. While this is less of an issue in consistently warm regions like Florida, even Florida isn’t exempt from harsh cold spells.

Presently, Florida is experiencing an unpleasant cold wave, with local temperatures dropping to as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The local reptile population, especially iguanas, have been attempting to scale trees to bask in the sun, but when the cold renders them immobile, gusts of wind may dislodge them from their perches, causing them to fall onto unsuspecting individuals. Consequently, the National Weather Service Miami-South Florida issued a “falling iguana alert” over the weekend.

“Iguanas are cold-blooded. As temperatures plummet into the 40s (4-9 Celsius), they slow down or become motionless. Although they may plummet from trees, they are not deceased,” the service mentioned on Twitter.

“Essentially, their systems start shutting down as they lose their functionality, so when they’re up in the trees on the branches sleeping, the cold causes them to lose their grip and subsequently tumble down from the trees frequently,” explained Stacey Cohen, a zoologist and reptile expert from Palm Beach, in an interview with the local TV station WPBF.

“For them, cold poses a very grave threat because they originate from regions in Central and South America near the equator where warmth is perpetual,” she further added.

Thankfully, the cold spell is anticipated to wane in the following days, and any immobilized iguanas are expected to fully recover. However, if you chance upon a paralyzed iguana on the streets while strolling, it would be advisable to relocate them to a safe spot until they can warm up.

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