With the onslaught of talk and panic surrounding the Zika Virus and mosquitoes here in Florida, I thought I would list some dangerous and venomous pests indigenous to Florida that we all should be aware of:
1.Spiders- These are definitely one of Florida's most dangerous venomous pests. There are 2 kinds of spiders found in Florida that can be dangerous. The brown recluse is one of the most dangerous of all in Florida. Its a small brown spider with violin type marking on its back. its bite is highly venomous and can put you in the hospital.
|Florida's most dangerous venomous pests - spiders|
The Southern Black Widow is more common. It has a distinctive red hourglass marking on its back. The female of the species is bigger and far more venomous. Their webs look 3 dimensional and chaotic. To avoid getting bit you should shake out clothing and footwear before putting on.
2.Snakes- There are 6 types of venomous snakes in Florida that are dangerous and venomous you should watch out for. The Southern Copperhead .They usually grow to about 36 inches long. It has a wide head and is pinkish tan. it is usually found west of the panhandle. Their bites are very painful, but usually not enough to kill a healthy adult.
The Cottonmouth is another one that is also known as a Water Moccasin. Florida has 2 types of these and they are darkly colored with heavy bodies usually 48 inches long. Their bites are fatal, and are found in or near water. So watch out!
|Florida's most dangerous and venomous pests - snakes|
The Timber Rattlesnake is a venomous pit viper. It can grow to be 60 inches long. It has black cross bands and a grayish body. Stay away from this one, it is one of Florida's most dangerous.
The Pygmy Rattlesnake is a small snake that can be found all over Florida. It can be 24 inches long, and is black with grayish markings. It makes a rattling noise when agitated. Ist bite isn't fatal but is very painful.
|Florida's most dangerous venomous pests - snakes #2|
The Eastern Diamondback is also known as a Rattler. They are very heavy snakes and can be up to 72 inches long as weigh as much as 26 pounds. It can strike out up 2/3 of its body length and is very venomous.
The Eastern Coral Snake has distinctive markings. It has black, red, and yellow bands. It can grow to 30 inches long and is all throughout Florida. Its bite is life threatening, second only to the Eastern Diamondback. Many confuse it with the Scarlet Kingsnake because of its similar markings.
|Florida's most dangerous venomous pests - snakes #3|
3. Aedes Mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, but also bite at night. The Zika Virus we've been hearing about in Florida is spread by these mosquitoes. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause birth defects. There is no vaccine for the Zika Virus. It can also be spread through sexual partners or if a mosquito bites someone who is already infected with it. The virus in healthy adults usually lasts several days to a week and can include rash, fever, headache, red eyes, and muscle pain. You can protect yourself with mosquito repellent and long sleeved shirts and pants. Many theme parks here in Florida are now offering mosquito repellent to all visitors.
4. The Bufo Toad has been showing up in Florida lately. It is a huge grayish brown toad with a yellow belly and can grow to 9 inches or larger. It moves in short fast hops and when confronted it shoots toxin from the glands on its back in the form of white venom. It is highly toxic to dogs and cats and causes skin irritations in humans. It causes your pets to have very foamy saliva, vomiting, convulsions and paralysis. Keep your pets away!
|Florida's most dangerous venomous pests - Bufo Toad|
5. The Triatomine Bug or Kissing Bug has been showing up in South Florida. The inch long brown insects can carry the parasite that causes the potentially deadly Chagas Disease. They are known as the kissing Bug because they usually bite you around your mouth and face. The parasite can be inside of you for years and can cause heart disease.
|Florida's most dangerous venomous pests - Kissing Bug|
So please be forewarned when traveling and know of hidden pests. A little research can keep you healthy!