The Atlantic hurricane season, which affects Florida from approximately June 1 to November 30 can wreak havoc on many coastal and inland communities. There are many dangers associated with hurricanes, such as strong winds, storm surge flooding and tornadoes, that can claim lives and destroy property.
Post-hurricane media attention tends to focus on the communities that were unfortunate enough to have been in the path of the storm. Lost lives and the devastating damage to people’s homes, businesses and other possessions makes for compelling stories. After most storms, very little attention is given to the disruption to Florida’s wildlife and the ecological damage.
Hurricanes are one of nature’s most brutal events. The homes and businesses of affected Florida communities are very literally inundated with nature, including wild animals. This forced convergence of displaced, confused and frustrated animals and home and business owners trying to survive after a storm can lead to serious injuries.
Hurricanes can bring chaos to wildlife and affect many types of species native to Florida, including alligators, snakes, birds and even fish. Specifically, hurricanes can be harmful to wildlife in the following ways:
The treacherous conditions created by hurricanes may force wild animals to escape their natural habitats and wander into unknown areas. It’s not uncommon for snakes and alligators to move to higher ground when lakes and ponds are flooded with salt water.
Although these Florida reptiles enjoy being around water, they don’t like to lay in it for prolonged periods of time. When the banks of lakes, ponds and swamps become flooded, many alligators and snakes relocate to drier areas, which may include neighborhoods with human population.
In 2019, a four-foot-long water moccasin made its way to a suburban neighborhood of Heathrow Woods in Central Florida’s Seminole County. The snake had likely escaped the nearby flooded swamp before making an unwelcome appearance in the neighborhood. As water moccasins (also referred to as cottonmouths) are venomous snakes, an animal trapper was summoned to the scene to safely remove the dangerous serpent.
The residents of Heathrow Woods did the right thing by giving the distressed animal space and calling local animal control. You should never engage in wildlife rescue during or after a hurricane unless you have proper qualifications. Instead of risking a life-threatening bite or injury, call a local wildlife rescue organization.
While it may not be entirely possible to keep wildlife away from your community after a hurricane, there are many things you can do to minimize the risk of a potentially dangerous interaction with a wild animal:
Florida residents who are living through the aftermath of a hurricane face all types of losses and risks, including property damage and potentially dangerous wildlife interactions. Your home may no longer be safe after flooding or severe wind damage. The sooner you contact your home insurance company, the sooner you can receive compensation for your losses and get your life back to normal.
Unfortunately, the property damage claim process isn’t always easy or straightforward. If your home insurance hurricane claim is being challenged, it may be in your best interest to speak with a property damage attorney in Florida.