Lots of people who come to Florida for the wildlife probably come for one creature alone: a talking mouse. While this talking mouse is a fun attraction, and very articulate for a rodent, Florida is also filled with many other kinds of equally-appealing species. These beasts may not have been invented by the genius of Disney, but the monsters of Florida definitely allow Mother Nature to give ol’ Walt a run for his money.
Alligators: In 1987, the American Alligator became the official reptile of Florida. The cause of this is straightforward: in Florida, alligators are everywhere. This may not seem exciting to the people who live there: the alligators might be seen as nothing but pests who swim in ponds, walk slowly across streets, and sometimes eat a neighbor’s cat. However, for people visiting from places that don’t have alligators, they can be exciting. There is nothing quite like seeing an alligator, taking a photo of him, and saying how you loved his work in “Crocodile Dundee.”
Dolphins: Dolphins are very popular creatures in our culture. Not only are they exceptionally intelligent, with recent researchers in Australia detecting that some dolphins teach their children how to use resources, but there are various tales of dolphins protecting individuals from danger. 1 recent story states that several Dolphins in New Zealand swam around a group of stranded swimmers, protecting them from a Great White Shark. The face of a dolphin, seemingly always smiling, only further perpetuates our love for them. Dolphins are also one of the only mammals that, like individuals, mate for reasons other than reproduction. See, I told you they were intelligent.
Manatees: Manatees are aquatic mammals, sometimes referred to as sea cows. “Beast” may be a fitting way to describe the physical attributes of this creature – they can weigh between 500 and 1000 kgs – but it is not a fitting way to describe their demeanor: manatees are peaceful herbivores that spend their day grazing and surfacing for air. Because of their peaceful nature, or their overwhelming size, manatees have no known predators. However, human expansion has resulted in a harsh decline of the species. This has landed them on the Federal Endangered Species List. This angered many wildlife conservationists who believe manatees should remain listed as an Endangered Species on national and state levels. Presently, there are considered to be between 2000 and 3000 manatees in Florida.
The Florida Panther: The Florida Panther is a subspecies of Puma that’s, regrettably, highly endangered. With the majority of living in the low lands, forests, and swamps of south Florida, the Florida Panther is the only species of Puma in the full US. But, this may be only for the time being what once was a booming population is now down to less than 70 breeding panthers, a number which makes up a dismal 5 percent of what the Florida Panther inhabitants once was. The main reason for their demise falls on human growth, automobile accidents, and murdering each other, in a fight over limited territory. These kinds of panthers differ from other types because they have a broader skull, longer legs, and a crook near the end of the tail, a trait that may have resulted from inbreeding the species in an attempt to expand the population. Management of the Florida Panther has been a subject full of controversy as people have contended the ideal route of conservation. On the bright side, the last few years have seen the Florida Panther population nearly triple.
The wildlife of Florida can be harmful – fulfilling an alligator or a panther in a darkened alley may be a problem for some – but keeping your distance and respecting Mother Nature helps to give you safety. Especially for those who live in property