Current Event Friday #91

What happens when Winter hits Florida?

As the mercury drops, and many are seeking somewhere warmer, Florida perhaps. Not so fast my friend, it’s actually cold in many places in Florida currently and it’s affecting the wildlife in the region. The effects and consequences are today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Meteorologists warned that a cold snap was set to hit South Florida this week with temperatures in the 40s. This drastic change in temperature meant that at least one day this week, towns in the Northern U.S. sharing a border with Canada were warmer than parts of South Florida.

Even more noticeable and surprising, the chilly temperatures mean cold-blooded animals become immobile and their bodies have to adjust to temperatures they’re not usually equipped to deal with. Meteorologists also added a warning that one of those cold-blooded species, the iguana might fall from trees they usually rest on when the temperatures are higher.

So, that’s a phenomenon that tourists and locals are going to be fascinated with obviously. I can remember seeing iguanas running around Key West when I visited about this time last year. Seeing iguanas lying around and inactive would be peculiar to say the least.

Even more shocking, some restaurateurs and food purveyors are catching the frozen iguanas in order to make dishes using ‘chicken of the trees’ for the more adventurous eaters. One of the more popular dishes is iguana tacos shared by University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

USDA officials warned that for those eating iguana meat at restaurants or ordering the meat online, be sure to cook it to an internal temperature of 160o F to avoid salmonella infection. So, in some respects it is like chicken. Connoisseurs of the tropical reptile meat note iguana tastes very much like alligator or snake meat. I’ve had both gator and rattlesnake and they do taste like chicken. Frog legs which I also enjoy are a little more gamy, but still close to chicken flavor. I’ll be honest eating iguana isn’t on my exotic food list. The species is a recently acquired delicacy in Latin America as they are invasive in too many habitats and a cheap source of protein. So, obviously there are people that enjoy iguana meat and would be happy to find another source.

Would you eat iguana meat?