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Here’s What to Do If Frozen Iguanas Start Falling From Your Trees

2 minute read

The aftermath of Winter Storm Grayson has resulted in quite a few strange weather phenomena, from thundersnow in New England to -100 temperatures at the summit of Mount Washington. But perhaps the oddest of all is happening in Florida, where it’s so cold that iguanas are falling out of trees, frozen.

Cold-blooded iguanas begin to get sluggish around temperatures of 50 degrees. With uncharacteristically low temperatures gripping Florida, the creatures are actually beginning to freeze up, immobilized, and drop from trees. The falling lizards have gotten enough attention that NPR on Friday aired a segment about what to do if you come upon a frozen iguana, with advice from Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill.

Magill urged listeners not to touch frozen iguanas, warning that even those that appear dead may thaw out and become dangerous to humans.

“Incapacitated as you think, they can give you a serious bite,” Magill told NPR. “They can give you a serious scratch, a serious whip with their tail. They can present that kind of physical injury to you.”

The best thing people can do, Magill said, is “let nature run its course,” especially since iguanas are an invasive species to Florida.

“If they recover, they recover. If they do not, they do not,” he said. “The bottom line is they don’t belong in this environment. They’re doing damage to this environment. And maybe that’s Mother Nature’s way of helping defend those populations to help the environment recover.”

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com