Florida has garnered a bit of a reputation as a wild place to live–and not just because of the fun-loving people! Florida animals are some of the most diverse and interesting creatures in America.
So, what animals live in Florida? That’s a big question–there are dozens of creatures living in Florida that you wouldn’t see on the West Coast (or even the American Midwest)!
One interesting aspect of Florida wildlife is the fish–the ocean along Florida’s coast is home to all kinds of fascinating sea creatures. These aren’t nearly as fascinating as the animals that can invade your backyard, though.
It’s true: many wild animals end up wandering into people’s yards every day! Keep reading to learn more about five of the most common Florida animals you might find in your yard.
If there’s one animal that most people associate with Florida, it’s the alligator. These large reptiles are common backyard animals in Florida because many homes are built near the animal’s natural habitat.
American alligators live in just about everybody of water in the state. Most of the time, they’ll swim away if people are nearby, but on occasion, alligators can attack with devastating consequences.
Alligators have powerful jaws a deadly bite, so don’t let them get close enough to get their jaws around you! Also, don’t buy into the myth that you should run in a zig-zag pattern when fleeing an alligator.
Some parts of Florida also have crocodiles. While the two look similar, you can distinguish them by their snout: alligators have rounded snouts, whereas a crocodile’s snout comes to a point.
If you see an alligator in your yard, don’t try to deal with it yourself. Call animal control; it’s a common problem in Florida, so they’ll know what to do.
Opossums are a common sight all across the United States, and Florida is no exception. One fun fact about these odd-looking creatures: they’re the only marsupial native to the US!
Opossums look a bit like very large mice–especially with those long tails. Like mice, opossums are interested in eating food and trash that might have been left out in your yard.
These animals are timid and won’t usually try to hurt you; they’re more likely to flee or play dead when they notice you. That said, you shouldn’t try to approach an opossum if you spot one in your yard.
The main risk related to opossums is the threat of disease. If an opossum does panic and bite you, not only will it be painful, but it could also transmit harmful bacteria.
If you want to prevent these pests from showing up, a fence can help keep them at bay. There are many different styles of fencing that look great and protect your backyard from animals.
- Fire Ants
These backyard animals may be small, but they’re just as dangerous and frustrating as any other creature on this list. Fire ants are known for their painful bites and tendency to team up on an unfortunate target.
Fire ant stings hurt when you get them and often become itchy the next day. Scratching them is a big mistake–you’ll likely end up with an infection.
The worst thing about fire ant bites, though, is how many you’ll likely get if you come into contact with these insects. Not only can a single ant bite you many times, but the ants themselves will swarm on you.
Fire ants are also notoriously difficult to get rid of. Even if you destroy a fire ant nest–a dangerous proposition that risks exposure to the pests–they’ll often just form a new anthill nearby.
You’ll need to hire a professional exterminator if you see these bright-red creatures setting up shop in your yard.
- Black Bears
When you think about animals rummaging through your garbage can, you might picture raccoons, cats, or even the opossums we talked about earlier. Bears are likely low on your list of culprits.
The Florida black bear has a well-documented propensity for invading yards to look for food in the trash, though. This is because the animals have mostly lost their fear of humans.
That lack of fear has had a terrible impact on the black bear population, unfortunately. The species, once prolific in the Florida area, is now endangered. Many bears are die in car accidents every year.
Florida black bears don’t eat much meat, but they’re still large, dangerous animals–if you see one in your yard, don’t approach it. They may be unafraid to approach human areas, but they can still attack if spooked.
You can buy bear-resistant trash cans or put your trash out close to pick-up time to prevent bears from invading your backyard. That way, both you and the bears will stay safe!
- Southern Copperhead Snake
There are many kinds of snakes that are common in Florida, several of which are venomous: cottonmouths, coral snakes, and even rattlesnakes. Copperheads are among the most commonly encountered, though.
Copperheads can live in a variety of habitats ranging from swamps and riverbeds to residential zones. Wherever you are in Florida, there’s a chance you might stumble across a copperhead.
How will you know if the snake you found is a copperhead? Check the colouring: copperheads are pale tan or pinkish with hourglass-shaped bands of darker colour.
They can reach sizes of up to three feet, though younger snakes may only be about half that size.
The good news about copperheads is that their bite is rarely fatal for adults. Children are at much greater risk, though; plus, regardless of other complications, a copperhead bite is extremely painful.
Watch Out for These Florida Animals
Florida animals can be frightening and dangerous, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. If you look at your back door and see any of these creatures, stay inside and stay safe!
Are you looking to get away from the wildlife for a bit? It sounds like a vacation is in order! Visit our travel page to find the best spot for your next relaxing getaway!