Many men and women who come to Florida for the wildlife likely come for one creature alone: a talking mouse. While this talking mouse is a fun attraction, and quite articulate for a rodent, Florida is also filled with many other types of equally-appealing species. These beasts might 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. The reason for this is simple: in Florida, alligators are everywhere. This may not seem exciting to the people who live there: the alligators might be viewed as nothing but pests who swim in ponds, walk slowly across roads, and sometimes eat a neighbor’s cat. But for people visiting from areas that don’t have alligators, they can be exciting. There’s nothing quite like watching an alligator, taking a picture of him, and saying how you loved his work in “Crocodile Dundee.”
Dolphins: Dolphins are very popular animals in our culture. Not only are they highly intelligent, with recent researchers in Australia detecting that some dolphins teach their kids how to use tools, but there are various tales of dolphins protecting individuals from danger. 1 recent story states that many Dolphins in New Zealand swam around a group of stranded swimmers, protecting them by a Great White Shark. The face of a dolphin, apparently always smiling, only further perpetuates our love for them. Dolphins are also one of the only mammals which, like humans, mate for reasons other than reproduction. See, I told you they were smart.
Manatees: Manatees are aquatic mammals, occasionally referred to as sea cows. The title “Manatee” is derived from a Carib word meaning “Beast.” Because of their peaceful nature, or their overwhelming size, manatees don’t have any known predators. However, human growth has resulted in a harsh decline of their species. This has landed them on the Federal Endangered Species List. Originally listed as Endangered in Florida as well, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently voted to upgrade their status to “Threatened.” This angered many wildlife conservationists who believe manatees should remain listed as an Endangered Species on national and state levels. Presently, there are thought to be between 2000 and 3000 manatees in Florida.
The Florida Panther: The Florida Panther is a subspecies of Puma that is, regrettably, highly endangered. But, this might be only for the time being what once was a booming population is now down to less than 70 breeding panthers, a number that makes up a dismal 5 percent of what the Florida Panther inhabitants once was. The main reason for their demise falls on human expansion, automobile accidents, and murdering each other, in a fight over limited territory. These types of panthers differ from other types in that they have a wider skull, longer legs, and a crook near the end of their tail, a trait that may have resulted from inbreeding the species in an effort to expand the population. Management of the Florida Panther has been a subject rich in controversy as people have contended the best route of conservation. On the bright side, the past few years have seen the Florida Panther population almost triple.
The wildlife of Florida can be harmful – fulfilling an alligator or a panther in a dark alley may be an issue for some – but keeping your space and respecting Mother Nature helps to give you safety. Particularly for those who live in land