It's Raining Iguanas - Backpacker

It's Raining Iguanas

Chilly temps in South Florida send frozen reptiles falling from trees

This week, hikers in South Florida might have more to worry about than coconuts falling from trees: Wildlife experts warn uncommonly cold temperatures could cause iguanas to pass out and fall from their tree-branch perch and onto unsuspecting humans. Since green iguanas can grow up to six feet long and weigh 20 pounds, that might be worse than a falling coconut.

"It is as if they are in suspended animation," said Robert Yero, park manager at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne."We have found dozens on the bike path after a major cold snap. When they warm up in the sun, they come back to life.''

Iguanas are non-native to Florida; the first were introduced after hurricanes blew them ashore from Caribbean islands, and those populations were augmented by stowaways on fruit ships and released pets.

Most of the iguanas wake up after taking a tree dive once morning temps get out of the 40s. And if an iguana falls out of a tree, we have more to worry about than they do: Iguanas can fall up to 50 feet and remain uninjured. If it lands on you, the iguana will go on its merry way once the sun comes up—I don't think we can say the same for you.

Luckily, Florida temperatures have already started warming up. That's good news, because I'd hate for something like this to happen:

—Ted Alvarez

Cold snap causes frozen iguana shower (