14 Of The Deadliest Animals In Florida
The marshy wetlands and coastal shores of America's southeastern state of Florida are home to animals, fish, and insects that flourish in humid and tropical environments. The region hosts a mix of native and exotic species, and both can prove to be a deadly danger to its human inhabitants. Powerful and poisonous Florida animals are no strangers to self-defense and spreading sickness, and an encounter with one can wind up being a fatal experience.
Some dangerous Florida animals are massive beasts with ancient ties, like the barreling great white shark and the brawny alligator. Other species have popped up more recently, such as the vampiric, parasite-carrying kissing bug and the disease-riddled wild boar.
From the Everglades to the landlocked center of the state, the deadliest animals in Florida have rightfully earned their fearsome rep. Keep an eye out next time you're out for a stroll – you never know what's waiting in the foliage.
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The tropical shores of Florida are teeming with aquatic wildlife, and the box jellyfish makes itself right at home. The jellyfish's venom is considered the deadliest in the sea, because it can literally stop your heart. Its dangling tentacles work to paralyze the heart and nervous system. In extreme cases, a swimmer who is stung might die before making it back to shore.
Box jellyfish kill more people annually than sharks. If that's not creepy enough, consider this: they have eyes.
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A Brown Recluse Bite Is Sometimes Harmless, But Can Cause Necrotic LesionsPhoto: Sleepisfortheweak / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
One of the most dangerous spiders in Florida, the brown recluse dwells in dark spaces and boasts a nasty bite. It's a shy creature that will play dead when threatened, but the brown recluse will also protect itself with powerful venom.
Most bites are harmless, but in rare cases necrosis can develop. That means destroyed tissue, scarring, and sometimes side effects like fever, dizziness, and vomiting.
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The black widow may be small, but it's one of the most dangerous spiders in Florida. The female southern black widow is much larger than the male and has fangs that are long enough to pierce human skin. She carries a distinctive red "hourglass" marking on her underbelly, which warns of her venomous bite.
Although widow spiders are shy, if intimidated to the point of biting, they will inject a neurotoxic venom that can cause extreme sickness and, in some very rare cases, death.
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The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Is A Massive Heap Of VenomPhoto: Ryan E. Poplin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is all scales and muscle. It's the heaviest venomous snake in the world (although not the longest), and one of the most dangerous venomous snakes in North America. The average diamondback can weigh in around 10 pounds.
When confronted, these snakes will typically shake their tails in warning and slither away, but they will strike if they aren't left alone. Their bites are incredibly painful, thanks to a venom that damages tissue and kills red blood cells. If left untreated, a bite from an eastern diamondback rattlesnake has a 10-20% mortality rate.
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Bull sharks are large and aggressive. These territorial predators have been known to cruise the shores of Florida and snap at people who swim too close to their personal bubbles. They enjoy living in coastal waters that don't exceed 100 feet in depth, which can bring them in contact with humans enjoying a diving session or fishing.
Even spookier, the bull shark can move between salt water and fresh water with ease. Not even the estuaries are safe.
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The American Alligator Is An Apex PowerhousePhoto: Ianaré Sévi / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
The American alligator is a beast of a reptile that loves to make its home in Florida's dank and swampy terrain. The alligator is an apex predator, resting at the top of the food chain above the fish, birds, and mammals it consumes. Adult male alligators grow from 10 to 15 feet in length and weigh around 1,000 pounds.
With so much power, you can bet alligators pose a danger to humans if encountered. An alligator bite can cause serious injury due to bite force.