Florida's wildlife gets everywhere
On December 4, Clearwater Police officers were called to deal with a slightly unusual issue - a boa snake that had been discovered hiding deep within the upholstery of someone's couch. The resident had called for assistance after encountering the reptile in his condo.
After extracting the 5-foot long beast, officers took it to a local pet store.
Boas in Florida
Boa constrictors are known to be quite prevalent in South Florida, but aren't a native species of the state. They are more common in South America but have been known to exist in Florida since the 1970s.
Boas aren't poisonous, but tend to constrict their prey and then consume them. As a species, they can grow to incredible sizes. The 5-foot specimen encountered in Clearwater was a relatively small one - most adults grow to between 10 and 16-feet in length.
How dangerous are snakes in Florida?
With is vast array of wildlife, Florida sees its fair share of snake bites annually, but only 6 of its 44 native species of snake are actually venomous: the eastern coral snake, the southern copperhead, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake, and the dusky pygmy rattlesnake.
In spite of the large number of snakes in the state, a study by the University of Florida shows that fewer than one in 37,500 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S. each year (7-8,000 bites per year), and only one in 50 million people will die from a snakebite (5-6 fatalities per year). You're nine times more likely to be killed by lightning than by a snake!
In fact, a list of the 7 most dangerous animals in Florida, published by UNF includes only one snake (the cottonmouth). The list is headed by 2 varieties of spider and also includes the Florida Panther and the American Alligator. There's no shortage of predators in the state!
What's your wildest encounter with one of the state's many predators? Have you been bitten by a snake before? Let me know in the comments section below.