Butterflies Not in the Sky

South Florida cold snap has butterflies grounded

Humans, manatees and iguanas aren't the only ones freezing in this South Florida cold weather snap -- the chill also has local butterflies grounded.

At Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, handler have the delicate task of moving the beautiful bugs out from the cold and into warm areas where they can flap their wings.

"Normally South Florida is the ideal place to have butterflies from all over the world and from all the different rain forests," said Butterfly World's Mary Jane Vanden Berge. "But when it gets cold like it is right now, day after day, the butterflies can't fly."

Vanden Berge and her crew have spent days helping the butterflies defrost, a time-consuming process.

"We have moved 10,000 butterflies into a very small area. When butterflies are cold they're very, very still, so it's very easy to just pick them up," she said. "We gather handfulls of butterflies, this doesn't hurt them, bring them into the warm areas, they warm up, just with the warmth of your hand, and they're able to fly."

Butterfly World is anticipating warmer weather and plans on releasing the butterflies back into larger areas on Monday, weather permitting.

Vanden Berge said this weekend provides a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to get up close and personal with the butterflies.  

"Now, when visitors come, they can actually see all of these butterflies in a small area and get incredible pictures and have an experience that they would never normally have," she said.

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