As #bombcyclone2018 continues to rock the Northeast, and Talahassee, FL still tries to handle their unforeseen snowfall, it's obvious that this cold weather has gotta go. At least we humans are able to retreat to the heated indoors or snuggle up with a blanket to escape the chill, but sadly, some reptilian creatures aren't so lucky. Temperatures in South Florida have started dipping drastically, and has thus resulted in stunned iguanas falling out of trees in Florida, according to The New York Times. Yes, you read that correctly.
So why is it raining iguanas, you might ask? Apparently, iguanas' bodies aren't equipped to handle colder temperatures. So as soon as temperatures hit the 30s and 40s, their bodies go immobile due to shock. And since they like to perch in trees and other high places at night, that means that sometimes when it gets cold — it rains falling iguanas.
“When the temperature goes down, they literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees,” the Miami Zoo's Director of Communications, Ron Magill, told the Times. “Which is why you get this phenomenon in South Florida that it’s raining iguanas."
Boca Raton resident and Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino came face-to-face with this unreal experience Thursday morning when he stepped outside his house and found a stunned iguana, feet up, poolside. Literally chilling.
While iguanas are not native to South Florida, the reptiles' population multiplied due to the subtropical heat that the sunny state is so well known for, and they're considered an invasive species. However, due to a prolonged cold snap over the past few years, the iguana population has dropped significantly, much to the relief to Floridians who are tired of the green little creatures popping up in their toilet bowls.
But don't worry too much, because for the most part, the iguanas are just fine once they warm up again.
“Even if they look dead as a doornail, they’re gray and stiff, as soon as it starts to heat up and they get hit by the sun rays, it’s this rejuvenation,” Magill told the Times.
Other Floridians have also come face to face with such strangeness, finding the creatures in locations ranging from sidewalks to back lawns. However, authorities advise that if residents find frozen iguanas, they should not touch them, seeing as they can become very threatened and bite. Instead, residents should just wait for the reptiles to thaw out on their own time.
It turns out iguanas aren't the only animals affected by the intense cold snaps.
CNN reported that the cold weather was so severe in Massachusetts that it's actually leading to sharks washing up on the shoreline on Cape Cod Bay, dead. The Atlantic White Shark Conversancy took to Facebook to share photos of two thresher sharks that washed up on shore in December after suffering from cold shock.
Other sea creatures, such as sea turtles and manatees, are also not handling the weather well, according to the Wildlife Conservation Commission. Conditions are so severe that rescue missions are actually in place to save as many sea turtles as possible.
“Our staff, partners, and permitted volunteers are already working to rescue sea turtles in northwest Florida," Kipp Frohlich, the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told News4Jax. "Nearly 100 turtles have been rescued so far. We are also monitoring the Mosquito Lagoon and other areas of the state to see if sea turtles are being impacted there."
Kudos to the people making the effort to protect wildlife in danger.
Of course, if you've already got a bunch of frozen iguanas, might as well get some use out of them... right? The Iguana Cookbook: Save Florida, Eat an Iguana (this is real, people), includes information about the the impact of the invasive species, the author's personal anecdotes of dealing with his iguana Rusty, and, of course, a number of iguana recipes to try. The book currently has a five-star rating on Amazon.
Of course, can't blame you if you want to skip that meal. Oh Florida, gotta love you.