Iguanas are falling out of trees due to unusual cold temperatures, the United States National Weather Service Miami-South Florida said on Sunday.
“Iguanas are cold-blooded. They slow down or become immobile when temps drop into the 40s (4-9 Celsius). They may fall from trees, but they are not dead,” the service said on Twitter.
A video made by Florida resident Stacy Lopiano-Kopsaftis showed several iguanas lying immobile after being placed under the sun by her and her husband.
“They were so cold they weren’t moving, so they were easy to move into the sun. Their color returned very quickly once we got them into the sunshine,” Lopiano-Kopsaftis told news agency Reuters.
Temperatures reached a low of 25 degrees Fahrenheit in South Florida on Sunday morning. “Their bodies basically start to shut down,” Stacey Cohen, a reptile expert at Palm Beach Zoo in Florida, told local television station WPBF.
“And so they are up in the trees on the branches sleeping and then because it gets so cold, they lose that ability to hang on and then they do fall out of trees a lot,” Cohen said.
She said that even though most iguanas will likely survive this period of immobilisation, freezing temperatures were a threat to their survival. Cohen mentioned a cold period in 2010 that wiped out a large number of the iguana population.
“Cold is a very, very life-threatening thing for them because they are from parts of Central and South America close to the equator where it always stays very warm,” she said.
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