Florida chill knocking iguanas out of trees

Frozen iguanas falling from trees in the South Florida chill. (WPEC)

When temperatures dipped in South Florida Wednesday night the iguanas couldn’t hang.

“They’ll fall out of trees. They’ll end up in areas where your cars are, parking lots, areas where they’re cold stunned,” said Emily Maple.

Maple is the reptile keeper at the Palm Beach County Zoo. She said the cold blooded invasive species freeze when it gets below 45 degrees.

“If it’s just for a day or two they’ll just get to where they’re completely frozen in time. They’re still able to breathe. They’re still able to do bodily functions just very slow,” said Maple.

So when you find them they’re not necessarily dead.

“Once it gets above 50 degrees they’ll start to activate and move around,” said Maple.

If the temperatures dip below 45 degrees for more than two days they’ll likely die, often from pneumonia.

“Put then over to the side if you feel comfortable to put them in the sun, or put them off the road so you’re not running them over,” said Maple.

And they may just thaw out.

(Check out a photo gallery of the frozen iguanas.)

Snook, fish which are native to Florida, can also be stunned by the cold.


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the chilly water can also stun sea turtles, making them appear dead when they're really alive.

The FWC says you should call 888-404-FWCC if you see a stunned turtle.

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