I almost feel sorry for iguanas. They were brought to South Florida against their will from Central and South America by stupid humans who didn’t realize they can grow 6 feet long. When they outgrew their aquariums, many were turned loose. Their Pets Anonymous meetings quickly turned into wild orgies, and now Key Biscayne is overrun.
The temperature there has been nippy, so stray iguanas head for the trees and lapse into a state of suspended animation. When the thermometer goes lower than the 40s, everything but their heartbeat stops, they lose their grip, and fall to the ground, which is what they’ve been doing in great numbers. I guess if it’s really cold, they shatter into a million pieces.
(Photo: Tim Chapman, Miami Herald)
Sleeping iguanas turn ashy gray and look dead, but you have to give them a few hours of sun to make sure they’re goners. The larger ones are more likely to survive freezing and falling. If Darwin was right, that bodes an even scarier next generation.
Iguanas may be big, but their attitude is really what makes them inadequate pets. Warmed up, they go around pooping in swimming pools, boats, and anywhere people are likely to step. Their favorite meal is grandma’s prize orchids and hibiscus. They can carry salmonella, and they give a vicious tail-lashing if you try to hold them.
Back home, they earn their keep in restaurants by appearing as entrées. But here, they’re just rebels without a cause who give nothing back to Floridians. When it comes to protecting and saving resources, the state is putting all its money on the citrus trees.
So it’s open season on frozen lizards. If you happen to find one and want to give its life meaning, check Keys Treasures for recipes.