Iguana High Noon

This would make a great scene for a comedy- like the deer in “Tommy Boys” car.

Scientists said these seemingly suicidal lizards are a result of South Florida’s record cold weather. Iguanas prefer temperatures in the 80s and 90s. With Wednesday morning’s temperatures at around 35 degrees, a handful of lifeless lizards hung from branches and fell to the ground.

While these iguanas appeared dead, experts said they are not. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, iguanas go into a type of hibernation in which their bodies essentially turn off, only allowing the heart to pump blood. When the temperature rises above 40 degrees again, the iguanas are revived.

“It’s almost like they go totally to sleep. Generally speaking, if it warms up afterwards, they can recover,” said Ron Magill of Miami Metrozoo.

According to Magill, the nonnative lizard was first introduced to Florida by careless pet owners and has become one of the state’s most invasive species. While Florida has similar weather to the iguanas’ native home of South America, it is clearly not identical.

Magill expects most of the iguanas to survive. While the lizards’ comatose state provides a perfect opportunity to reign in the invasive species, Magill had a warning.

“I knew of a gentleman who was collecting them off the street and throwing them in the back of his station wagon, and all of a sudden these things are coming alive, crawling on his back and almost caused a wreck,” Magill said.

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