Iguanas falling from the sky

Image courtesy of Jackie’s Page

My mom tells me that the leaves in Florida, which never do, have changed: a blushing profusion of cold bitten flush. And of course the iguanas, which have become proverbial as indices of cold, are falling from the arboreal sky.

(Where she lives, in Hardee county, it got down to 28 degrees Fahrenheit last night!)

Urban legend caught on video

WPLG Local 10 News reports:

Record lows across South Florida are literally freezing the invasive iguana in its tracks.

Kamikaze iguanas, plummeting from their treetop perches, have long been a Floridian urban legend. On Wednesday morning, Local 10 caught the free-falling lizard on tape.

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 afterward, they can recover,” said Ron Magill of Miami Metrozoo.

Ron Magill adds this cautionary note:

“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.”

Read the rest of the article here.
Watch the video here.

you can tell it’s cold in florida because
Annette Marie Hyder

this morning the scrub oaks
woke up confused
to find their leaves changed
since they went to bed
the mangroves wont walk
with the cold in their bones
arthritic concerns nod their heads

the palms shiver in silver
that criss-crosses their trunks
their fronds are fast frozen
even the shoreline
wears a sweater of rime
sequined with seashells
that tinkle and clink in surprise
at the frost-rimmed cup of the sun

gulls and cormorants —
feathered teeth of the sky —
click and chatter with cold
but it’s the blankets of ice
that the oranges are wearing
that really give it away
that and the way the iguanas are airborne
on their way to kerthunk at your feet

Links of interest:

Its so cold in Florida that…

Many Floridians, in wonderment and delight, took to flickr to share their amazement at, and photographic proof of, the rare beauty of ice in Florida:

Frozen Grass
Freezing Florida winter
ICE!!! It’s Florida, Right?
Florida Snowball
Great Horned Owl

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