Florida’s Wildlife

WATCH OUT!!

There are different animals that you have to be aware of: Snakes, Alligators and Spiders. 

SNAKES

There are 45 species of snakes found in Florida, and 6 of them are venomous.  Always remember this snake rhyme:

“If red touches yellow it can kill a fellow. If red touches black – venom lack.”

These are three species of venomous snakes

Coral Snake – VENOMOUS 

They are quite secretive and are usually found under debris and in the ground.  Occasionally they are found in the open, and have even been seen climbing the trunks of live oaks.  Good numbers of them are exposed when pine flat woods are bulldozed, particularly in South Florida.

Cottonmouth Water Moccasin – VENOMOUS

Cottonmouths are found in any wetland or water ways, although they occasional wander far from water, and have been found in bushes and trees.  Their bites can be quite dangerous.  The victim should seek immediate medical care from a physician or hospital experienced in threating snakebites.  This dangerous semi-aquatic snake is truly an aggressive reptile that will stand its ground or even approach an intruder.    

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake – VENOMOUS

Diamondbacks are often found in pine flat woods, longleaf pine and turkey oak and sand pine scrub areas.  These habitats contain palmetto thickets and gopher tortoise burrows in which the diamondback may seek refuge.  Humans had invaded many of the Florida’s pine flat woods and scrubs areas, which now contain farms, homes, and shopping plazas.  As a result, the displaced diamondbacks can turn up in backyards, golf courses, and parking lots.  This is a large impressive and potentially dangerous snake.  It can strike up to 2/3 its body length; a 6 foot (183 cm) specimen may strike 4 feet (122 cm).  These factors, as well as others, make this a snake that should be left alone.

ALLIGATORS

ALLIGATORS are found in freshwater swamps and marshes, rivers, lakes and small bodies of water.  Alligators near human habitation are often seen crossing roads, entering suburbs and finding shelter in swimming pools during the drier months.  In some areas, increasing alligator population creates problems with humans on the edge of an alligator habitat, and ‘nuisance alligator’ programs are required to deal with them.  These involve catching and roaming animals which have roamed too far into human habitation, or which pose a potential threat to people.    

FEEDING ALLIGATORS IS AGAINST THE LAW

SPIDERS

Brown Widow – VENOMOUS It is primarily found in Florida.  It is Venomous and has a neurotoxin like the black widow, although it injects less venom than the black widow.  All widows can be identified by the red-hour glass shape on the abdomen.

Black Widow – VENOMOUS Black widow bites are sharp, painful and venomous; the victim should go the Emergency Room immediately for treatment.  To control the black widow, carefully removal all materials where they might hide.  They can be cleaned out of an area simply by knocking down the webs, spiders and round tan egg sacs with a stick and crushing them underfoot.

Brown Recluse Spider – VENOMOUS The most recognized feature of the Brown Recluse Spider is a violin pattern on the cephalothorax or in other words the location of the top side of the spider near the head.  The Recluse Spider’s bite has the effect of creating a scar around the portion of the bite as venom destroys the tissue and attacks the muscle, also call the flesh-eating spider.  Immediate medical attention is required when bitten.