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Frozen iguanas falling from trees in South Florida

Cold-stunned lizards may look dead, but they’re not

Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton finds an iguana that is so cold it appears to be dead.
Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton finds an iguana that is so cold it appears to be dead.

DANIA BEACH, Fla. – It’s so cold, iguanas are falling from trees.

Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton stumbled upon an iguana frozen stiff Wednesday morning in Dania Beach.

He found several others clinging to branches before making the plunge to the ground.

It’s so cold, iguanas are falling from trees.
It’s so cold, iguanas are falling from trees.

The National Weather Service in Miami issued a rare forecast warning Tuesday on Twitter.

“This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees tonight,” the tweet said ahead of the region’s coldest temperatures in two years.

It's well documented that South Florida's iguana population goes into shock when temperatures dip below 50 degrees, sending many of these invasive lizards plummeting to the ground.

The cold-stunned creatures appear to be dead, but they’re not.

Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton is up early in the morning in search of falling iguanas during the cold.
Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton is up early in the morning in search of falling iguanas during the cold.

Blake Wilkins, co-owner of Redline Iguana Trapping and Removal told Local 10 News reporter Saira Anwer that days like Wednesday make his job a little easier.

But the reptiles won’t be this easy to catch for long.

Blake Wilkins, co-owner of Redline Iguana Trapping and Removal told Local 10 News that cold days like Wednesday make his job a little easier, but that is not expected to last for long.
Blake Wilkins, co-owner of Redline Iguana Trapping and Removal told Local 10 News that cold days like Wednesday make his job a little easier, but that is not expected to last for long.

“From what we’ve seen in the past, once the sun hits them, they start to kind of wake up again,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins said iguana removal is important because the reptiles damage everything from sidewalks to sea walls, and experts say they create an imbalance to Florida’s natural ecosystem.


About the Authors:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.