Florida Wildlife

Florida has a very varied wildlife that needs to be treated with respect.

There are a number of highly poisonous snakes, spiders, alligators, crocodiles, bears and of course sharks in the oceans off of Florida's coastline.

Not everything poses a threat and there are many species of beautiful birds, butterflies and other wildlife to explore.

Shark Attacks off the Coast of Florida

Silky Shark with divers [©CC BY-SA 2.0 NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research https://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanexplorergov/]

Florida has got an unenviable reputation for shark attacks. Roughly half of all confirmed shark attacks in the United States occur in Florida and globally Florida leads the world. In the last 125 years there have been over 600 confirmed attacks by sharks off the coast of Florida.

However, the chance of being attacked is pretty slim and in reality you are more likely to be struck and killed by lightning.

Of course it doesn’t help that Florida is also deemed the lightning capital of the World!! Between 1959 and 2003, over 2,000 people have been struck by lightning in Florida with 425 fatalities.

Florida Alligators

Alligator in lake (approximately 6 foot)

The range of the American Alligator (alligator mississippiensis) stretches from the south eastern regions of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, all of Florida, the southern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and up into the very southern tip of Oklahoma.

Their preferred habitat is fresh water lakes and slow moving rivers or canals but they can also be found in more brackish water and coastal marshes.

Living Alongside Florida Alligators

Alligator basking at the waters edge

With 17 million people living in Florida and between 1 and 2 million alligators in the state, it is inevitable that there will be conflict.

A lot of people want to live on a waterfront property today and with the increasing lack of water from prolonged droughts, alligators are being pushed closer and closer to human habitation. This is most apparent during April and May when male alligators are looking for a mate.

West Indian (Florida) Manatee

Rescued manatee with diver at SeaWorld

I remember the first time we saw a manatee, when we visited SeaWorld many years ago and we all fell in love with them instantly. The manatee is extremely gentle with a large rotund body, a small whiskery nose, a large paddle-shaped tail and two small flippers.

After seeing the ‘Last Generation’ exhibit we went on one of the behind the scenes tours and saw what can happen to them. It was sad to hear of their plight and to realise that they were in danger from mankind’s own actions.

Other pages of interest