Photo by: @MAXINEBENTZEL / TWITTER
Temperatures in southern Florida are dipping below 40 degrees which has a strange effect on the invasive iguana population. The reptiles climb into trees and sleep on branches at night. As temperatures drop their blood circulates slower and slower until they are unable to control their functions. At a certain point, they are no longer able to hold on to tree branches and fall en mass to the ground below, unable to move once they've landed. If the iguana gets warm enough through the course of the day it will regain its ability to move and scurry away unscathed. On the other hand, if the iguana cannot get its body temperature above 40 degrees it will freeze and die.
While this may seem like a good way to lessen the numbers of an invasive species, scientists see a darker future for Florida iguanas. Many of the lizards have genes that allow them to survive colder temperatures, as other iguanas die the cold weather iguanas survive and pass on their genes. Some scientists believe iguanas will be able to withstand colder temperatures and begin moving north within 10 years.
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