Are South Florida iguanas adapting to cold weather?

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:26 PM EST
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Frozen iguanas aren’t anything we haven’t seen before here in South Florida.

Residents will frequently see the non-native reptiles stunned when temperatures plummet into the 40s.

But this year, some say they have not seen as many as in previous years, despite the recent cold snap.

Steve Kavashansky calls himself the "iguana buster."

He said last January he received more than 20 calls about frozen iguanas. This year, he has only received two calls.

"Iguanas are definitely getting climatized. They're getting used to the cooler weather -- unlike us in South Florida," Kavashansky said. "You wouldn't see that a couple of years ago."

It appears that the iguanas are getting acclimated to the occasional chilly weather that South Florida experiences in the winter.

"You really have to have a couple of days in the 30s for [them to die from the cold]," Kavashansky said.

That's why places like Iguana Busters are looking to catch the spiky creatures so they don't create any damage to the environment.

"They are just destroying the Florida ecosystem," Kavashansky said. "They are not natural in Florida. They have no natural predators in Florida."

Because iguanas are invasive and not native to Florida, residents are legally allowed to kill them humanely.

Scripps Only Content 2022