Leapin’ Lizards! National Weather Service Issues Advisory for Falling Iguanas!

Bill’s Blog

Posted: Jan 21, 2020 / 10:28 PM EST Updated: Jan 21, 2020 / 11:52 PM EST

The National Weather Service issues alerts for falling snow, sleet and hail, but tonight there’s an alert from the NWS in Florida for falling iguanas!

Hazards Map for S. Florida 1/21-22/20

Temperatures are expected to drop to near or even below freezing tonight in Central Florida and to the upper 30s to low 40s in southern Florida, so low that forecasters are warning residents about falling iguanas.

Iguanas are not native to Florida. They arrived in the 1960s and have multiplied. They’re actually allowed to be kept as pets in Florida but are not protected by any law except anti-cruelty to animals. They can live to 10 years in the wild and 19 years in captivity.

Iguanas gather on a seawall in Hallandale Beach, Fla. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Iguanas aren’t dangerous or aggressive to humans, but they damage seawalls, sidewalks, landscape foliage and can dig lengthy tunnels. The males can grow to at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weigh nearly 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

The low temperatures stun the invasive reptiles and they can literally start falling out of trees. The iguanas won’t necessarily die from the falls. Many will wake up as temperatures rise the following day.

Female iguanas can lay nearly 80 eggs a year, and South Florida’s warm climate is perfect for these prehistoric-looking animals. Iguanas are native to Central America, tropical parts of South America and some Caribbean islands.

The last Wind Chill Advisory for Miami-Dade County was on Feb. 17, 2013.