If you’re in South Florida, you might want to keep an eye on the sky as you walk around outside: It could start raining iguanas.
The National Weather Service in Miami issued a warning for the region on Twitter on Tuesday, as well as a wind chill advisory for all of South Florida from Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.
“Don’t be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s,” it cautioned. “Brrrr!”
But watching lizards seemingly fall out of the sky is nothing new for Floridians, many of whom are used to seeing the reptiles drop from trees when the temperature dips.
Iguanas climb trees at night to roost, Ron Magill, communications director for Zoo Miami, told The New York Times in 2018. But when there are low temperatures, “they literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees.”
“Which is why you get this phenomenon in South Florida that it’s raining iguanas,” he said.
Iguanas, which can grow to be more than five feet, are not native to South Florida and are susceptible to the cold. Low temperatures can stun the lizards without necessarily killing them, but they can be reanimated by warmer weather.
“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,” Mr. Magill said. “The ones that survive that cold streak are basically passing on that gene.”
Patricia Mazzei contributed reporting.
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