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Frozen iguanas and other ways the cold weather impacts animals in Florida

Raining cats and dogs? Whatever

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(CNN Video)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Ever hear someone say "it's raining iguanas" instead of cats and dogs? 

If you're a Floridian or have resided in Florida long enough, you've probably heard stories about frozen iguanas falling from trees.

The recent arctic cold snap has resulted in numerous iguanas in South Florida belly up on many homeowners' lawns. 

Brooke Rowell, a veterinary technician at the Broward Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital, says she can get anywhere up to a dozen calls a day from people concerned about the welfare of the reptile.

Fact of the matter is, when the temperature drops below 50 these little guys slow down, so much so that they appear dead. 

That's not always the case. 

"When placed in the sun, a lot of times they'll come back to life," Rowell said. 

That can be shocking and a little scary if you're near one of these aggressive lizards. 

For those that have hedgehogs or sugar gliders as pets, the same thing can happen to them. 

While they're not ectothermic, their bodies are so small they can lose body heat quickly as they aren't able to regulate their body heat well. 

Are you a fan of potbelly pigs? How about potbelly pigs in cute clothes? 

You may notice more pictures of fashionable piggies during cold snaps because they also are unable to regulate their body temperature so many owners are urged to put clothes on their prized pig to keep their bodies warm. 

Even our eight-legged creepy crawlers are impacted by cold weather. 

Some species of spiders, especially those that reside in colder regions, are able to freeze protect themselves. Not with clothes, even though that might actually be cute.

When their spidey-senses pick up on a dip in the temperature, they begin to build up glycol compounds, which act a lot like antifreeze used in cars. 

Basically, it supercools the spider to protect it during freezing weather. It doesn't last forever though, in fact, a lot of spiders will seek shelter -- including our cozy homes. 

One of the plus sides of the cold is that it makes for prime time viewing for manatees that huddle together in the warm springs to survive cold temps, but did you know the black crappie fish also huddle together when the water temperature takes a dip? 

Crappie are cold-blooded so their body temperature is regulated a lot by the water temperature. Their metabolism, along with many other things, slows down during the colder weather. 

Often crappie will feed in large groups and they will tend to go for a slow and easy meal since even fish enjoy a lazy meal. Call it comfort food. 

While we might not have many forecasts that call for moderate iguana showers in Central Florida, you may get to see bird clouds. 

No, not a cloud that looks like a bird. Huge clouds of tree swallows are more visible and are often found roosting over large marsh areas.

Look for these guys around sunset pretty much all of January and don't forget to dress appropriately and take proper precautions for pets any time a cold front comes through.
 


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