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There are a lot of animals in Florida that can kill you. OK, we can’t compete with Australia’s wilderness, but we’re holding on.
Here are a few of them.
What’s the list of Florida’s deadliest creatures without alligators? These ancient monsters can certainly kill you, and there have been many stories of serious injuries. Now they won’t normally attack you if you don’t invade their territory … again Florida is pretty much their territory.
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Yes, Florida has crocodiles as well as alligators. But these guys, who are normally bigger than alligators, are shy and reclusive and mostly live along the South Florida coast in areas of brackish or salt water. These aren’t the huge fangs you see on YouTube catching a water buffalo in Africa, but you wouldn’t want to run into one in a dark, brackish, salty alley, either.
Want to see more animals? :These animals, from the cutest to the most scaly, reside at Jupiter’s Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Sharks get a bad rap (thanks Peter Benchley) but the truth is, most shark bites don’t kill people. Experts believe sharks have no taste for human flesh; they just confuse us to feed the fish and usually let go when they taste it. While most sharks off the coast of Florida are not large (spinners and black tips), some larger sharks like hammerheads, bulls, and tigers sometimes come close to shore. Is it safe to go in the water? The odds are in your favor … most of the time.
Snakes, including the Burmese python, invade the Everglades
Of Florida’s 44 snake species, only six are poisonous, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. These would be different species of cotton and rattlesnakes and the small and colorful oriental coral snake, which looks a lot like the non-poisonous royal snake. If you are a Floridian, you know the rhyme to tell the difference between a king and a coral serpent, ie: “Red meets black, friend of Jack; red meets yellow, deadly.”
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Then, of course, there’s the Burmese python, which is not native to Florida but has spread all over the Everglades. Although they are not poisonous, they are constrictors and can cause a bad bite.
Anacondas, non-native constrictors like the python, also live in Florida, although there have been relatively few sightings: mostly around central and north-central Florida, according to the FWC.
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The largest cats in Florida, they are 5 to 7 feet long and can weigh between 60 and 160 pounds. They mainly live south of Orlando and are endangered. But these felines are not like the lions of the savannah or the tigers of the jungle. In fact, there has been only one case of a probable panther attack in Florida; In 2014, a hunter reported being attacked. Because he was wearing multiple layers, he was not seriously injured.
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These predators can surprisingly live near densely populated areas and are related to wolves, but they are much smaller (18 to 44 pounds). They will avoid humans at all costs, but small pets? Although they are not part of their normal diet, they could become a coyote’s lunch.
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They are actually more ubiquitous in Florida than you might think. They are not known to attack humans, but it has happened. An elderly couple from Fort Lauderdale were reportedly attacked by a bobcat a few years ago, although they sustained minor injuries; bobcats, after all, aren’t that big (between 25 and 35 pounds). They’re actually common in city apartment complexes, as garbage in outdoor receptacles attracts rats and other rodents, which lynxes love to eat.
There are black bears all over Florida, but most live in the Panhandle, parts of northern Florida, parts of central and southwest. And they tend to be hard to spot. While it is never smart to agitate wildlife, we are fortunate to have probably the least aggressive of the major bear species. But what if you meet a bear? Another rhyme to help you decide: âIf it’s black, hit back; if it’s brown, lie down (and play dead); if it’s polar, forget it, it’s over. So no polar bears. At least we got that for us … which is good.
Do you live near bears? Use this interactive map, provided by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Florida has all kinds of them, but the bites aren’t life threatening unless they come from the Black Widow, the most poisonous spider in North America.
Florida’s tropical climate is perfect for lizards, but none of our native or invasive lizards are poisonous or large enough to seriously injure you. But if you’re new to the area, you might be surprised at the size of some of them: like iguanas, anoles, Argentine black and white tegus, Nile monitor lizards, and agama lizards. To fart.
A new threat? : Iguanas, Nile … now we may have a new lizard threat to the South Florida ecosystem
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The cane toad, also known as the bufo, giant or marine toad, is a large, invasive amphibian that is poisonous to most animals that try to bite or eat them.
Their sting will grab your attention. Some people can develop mild rashes; some who suffer from extreme allergic reactions may even die. Just get away from them, whether in the water or if you see them washed up on the beach, as these stingers could still work.
Kimberly Miller is a veteran reporter for the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA Today Network in Florida. She covers weather, climate and environment and has a certificate in weather forecasting from Penn State. Contact Kim by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @KmillerWeather.
This article originally appeared on the Palm Beach Post: Alligators, Sharks, Panthers: Facts About Florida’s Most Dangerous Animals