TNB Night Owl – Drop Dragons

Falling iguana warning from the National Weather Service

Last year, the Owl covered drop bears… those deadly creatures out of Australia that look much like koalas but are notorious for dropping from trees and eviscerating people. Sure, they’re a myth (or so the drop bear protectors would have you believe) but they’re a distinctly Australian one that seemed like perfect fodder for the Owl.

This year, we’re covering drop dragons. Unlike the drop bears, they’re very real. Only they’re not exactly dragons, they’re iguanas. And they’re not killing people, they’re smashing things.

Green iguanas are an invasive species in south Florida. Iguanas have become steadily more popular throughout America as exotic pets, and regional experts believe that the Floridian iguanas stem from pets which were released into the wild, whether intentionally or accidentally (say, in the aftermath of a hurricane.) They consume many of the native plant life, they damage man-made structures, and as with any invasive species without significant predators their population continues to expand. What started out as a minor problem back in 1998 has grown steadily worse over time, as each generation continues an exponential growth. By 2012 they were being seen regularly. Today, they’re ubiquitous.

Because of this issue, it is perfectly legal to kill green iguanas in Florida, provided you do not do so in a cruel or inhumane fashion. But despite the lack of significant predators, the iguanas do have a natural enemy.

In the winter, the temperatures often drop below 40 degrees in South Florida. And when they do, the cold-blooded iguanas’ metabolic systems slow dramatically. They lose the ability to move quickly, and they lose the ability to grip onto things.

Did I mention that iguanas live in trees?

After a rash of complaints in 2018 and 2019 about falling iguanas wreaking havoc on everything from fences to car windshields, the local weather service began issuing warnings about the reptiles in early 2020. Starting yesterday, they’ve shifted from simple warnings to a professional-looking advisory, complete with graphic (shown above).

Who needs Florida man or Florida woman when you’ve got Florida lizard?

Question of the night: Do you have any local fauna anecdotes?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.