Forecast: Clear and seasonably cold, possible falling iguanas

The concern for people in South Florida is that these iguanas often sleep in trees, so when their bodies go dormant, they appear to fall from the sky onto streets, cars, pools, or even people walking around. And since iguanas are large — adult males can reach 5 feet in length, and weigh up to 20 pounds — this can be dangerous if one lands on top of you.

The invasive species can’t handle cold temperatures very well because they are cold-blooded. In general, iguanas begin to get sluggish or lethargic once the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit…

Not everyone is concerned about the well-being of these iguanas, though. They are considered an invasive species, so some people are looking forward to an opportunity to rid their yards of these reptiles.

What can I say? Long, long time ago, I had a pet iguana. Named “Hank”.

Do you know the risks of eating farm-raised reptiles?

Reptiles are bred in captivity primarily for their skins, but some restaurants and population groups also want them for their meat. A study shows that eating these animals can have side effects that call into question the wisdom of eating this ‘delicacy.’

Parasites, bacteria and viruses, and to a lesser extent contamination from heavy metals and residues of veterinary drugs– eating reptile meat can cause several problems to health. This is the conclusion of a study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, which shows that people can catch certain diseases (trichinosis, pentastomiasis, gnathostomiasis and sparganosis) by eating the meat of reptiles such as crocodiles, turtles, lizards or snakes.

“The clearest microbiological risk comes from the possible presence of pathogenic bacteria, especially Salmonella, and also Shigella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterolitica, Campylobacter, Clostridium and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause illnesses of varying degrees of severity,” Simone Magnino, lead author of the study and a researcher for the World Health Organization (WHO), said…

The experts advise people to freeze the meat, just as they would with other foods from animal sources, since this deactivates parasites. Industrial processing and proper cooking (not leaving the meat raw) can also kill off pathogens.

Actually, I used to eat alligator once in a while when I lived in Louisiana. That probably met the sort of food safety standards you would expect from politicians who drink Pearl beer.

As for the rest of you, I hope you take this article to heart and restrain your reptile consumption to organic and free-range critters.