Fla. cold spell knocks iguanas from trees

Jan. 4, 2008 at 2:54 PM
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MIAMI, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Floridians coping with unusually cold weather could console themselves with the thought that the frigid spell was even harder on iguanas.

The lizards, exotic imports from South America that have settled in South Florida, are knocked out by temperatures in the 40s. Most of them make a quick recovery once they warm up.

But the tree dwellers tend to fall to the ground when their grip loosens. At Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne, many of the trees had shed an iguana or two.

"We have found dozens on the bike path after a major cold snap," Robert Yero, the park manager, told the Miami Herald. "When they warm up in the sun, they come back to life."

The iguanas arrived in Florida as pets, freed by owners as they grew. Yero said that they are threatening efforts to restore native plants in Florida, which often become iguana food.

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