Watch out for falling iguanas this weekend!
With low’s in the high 30’s, Jason Dunning from NBC2 says this Christmas will be the coldest in SWFL since the mid 90’s. While we won’t see falling snow, we could see falling iguanas!
It’s always funny when talking to friends in cold weather states about falling iguanas. I told my friend Brittany, who lives in Wisconsin, that we’ll see falling iguanas this weekend, and I don’t think she took me too seriously. But it’s actually a very common sight at this time of year. That’s right, when temperatures dip below 40 degrees, these reptiles literally fall out of their treetop homes. But why is this happening? Let’s explore the fascinating reality of iguanas and cold weather.
What Causes Iguana Hypothermia?
When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, iguanas experience what is known as “cold-stunned hypothermia.” This occurs when an animal can no longer regulate its own body temperature and becomes lethargic—in extreme cases, comatose. To combat the cold, iguanas slow down their heart rate and metabolism. This helps them conserve energy which allows them to survive freezing temperatures for extended periods of time without food or water. However, if the temperature falls too low or stays too low for too long, then they become unable to keep warm on their own and can become so lethargic that they literally drop out of trees and appear dead.
The natural instinct for most people is to take such a seemingly lifeless creature indoors and warm it up with a heating pad or blankets. But this isn’t necessarily the best option—in fact, it could be deadly! When these creatures are taken indoors, chances are they won’t survive due to shock or organ failure caused by rapid warming.
So what should you do if you encounter one? If possible, move them into the sun until temperatures rise above 50 degrees; if not possible, cover lightly with newspaper or cloth.