Cold-stunned iguanas expected to fall from Florida trees

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FILE – In this June 24, 2018, file photo, iguanas gather on a seawall in the Three Islands neighborhood of Hallandale Beach, Fla. Non-native iguanas are multiplying so rapidly in South Florida that a state wildlife agency is now encouraging people to kill them. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says people should exterminate the large green lizards on their properties as well as on 22 public lands areas across South Florida. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — The National Weather Service routinely warns people about falling rain, snow and hail, but temperatures are dropping so low in South Florida the forecasters warned residents Tuesday about falling iguanas.

“This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr!” NWS Miami tweeted.

The low temperatures stun the invasive reptiles, but the iguanas won’t necessarily die. That means many will wake up as temperatures rise Wednesday.

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).

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

Iguanas are allowed to be kept as pets in Florida but are not protected by any law except anti-cruelty to animals. They’ve been in South Florida since the 1960s, but their numbers have increased dramatically in recent years.

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