If you live in Florida, and work in the Florida ag industry or enjoy nature, then you’re likely used to creepy-crawly things like bugs, arachnids and various reptiles. The tropical nature of Florida’s climate certainly invites a broad spectrum of snakes, spiders and other less-than-welcome creatures. Compared with other states, it seems Florida gets the lion’s share of undesirable pests and creatures.
Florida is home to a wide array of creatures that you wouldn’t want to cross paths with. The deadly eastern coral snake is a visitor here, as are other dangerous snakes like the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the Florida cottonmouth—also known as a water moccasin—and the dusky pygmy rattlesnake. There are also many other snakes and reptiles that are harmless, and do a lot of good in the amount of insects and rodents they eat.
Florida is also home to many spiders, some of them quite big! The widow and recluse spiders are the ones you need to look out for, venom-wise, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released a fact sheet on the two types of venomous spiders here. Most of the large spiders in Florida are not venomous, but they might have a powerful bite that would hurt. Such an example is the Golden Orb Weaver, incorrectly called a banana spider.
They weave large webs with a bit of ultra-sticky golden threads zig-zagging through it, and the large female with her recognizable patterning and large yellow abdomen sits ready to pounce; they are waiting for insects and can be very docile, but they will bite if they feel threatened.
Many of Florida’s nastiest creepy-crawlies are actually invasive species, such as fire ants. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released a list of the Top 10 creepy-crawlies in Florida in honor of Halloween. Most cause problems with Florida’s all-important agriculture industry, such as the Florida Whitefly, the giant land snail and the Asian citrus psyllid that transmits the citrus greening bacteria.
All things considered, Florida is a beautiful state to live in and visit, but you must be just a bit more aware when out in nature, and shoes are a must!