Alligators take advantage of rising water levels to explore and often wander into residential areas. Call the FWC hotline to have a nuisance alligator removed. (FWC file photo)
Rising water levels from the storm may displace wildlife. My biologists warn that snakes can be on the move to attempt to get out of the flooded areas.
When you are out in your yard, especially if you have standing water, be focused on your surroundings and be on the look out for snakes.
FWC has quite a bit of information about snakes on the agency website. Check out our Living with Snakes section at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/snakes/
There's information here about the various snakes, both venomous and non-venomous that live in Florida as well as tips on how not to get bitten.
Alligators can also be on the move with the rising water. If a gator is spotted somewhere it shouldn't be, don't attempt to move it or grab it.
Call the FWC's Nuisance Alligator Hotline: at 1-866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) mission is to address complaints concerning alligators. Generally, an alligator may be deemed a nuisance if it is at least four feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property.
SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators from locations where they are unwanted or unwelcome. If a complaint meets the qualifying criteria, SNAP will issue a permit to a contracted nuisance alligator trapper authorizing the removal of the animal. Here's the Guide to Living with Alligators brochure: http://myfwc.com/media/152524/Alligator_Brochure.pdf
Another problem that may be encountered (even though FWC doesn't handle insects) are floating mounds of fire ants that are also attempting to avoid the rising waters. I've seen these in past floods and you definitely don't want to get near this. The entire colony of ants abandon their mound when floods arrive. They then bind together into a ball that floats on the flood waters until the ants drift to higher ground. The ants within this living, seething mass reposition themselves so that no ant is left underwater for too long. If detergent is sprayed on and around the mass of ants, the surface tension of the water is weakened to the point that the entire mass sinks and drowns.
You can do an Internet search for "floating fire ants" and see photos and video of the ants in this mound. It's rather frightening.
This is a link to the National Geographic video, Fire Ants Make Living Raft.
Just be aware that the rising waters can displace wildlife. If you do see an animal in your yard, the best course of action is to leave it alone. Don't approach it. Don't try to feed it. If it's hurt, it could respond badly to your kindness and end up hurting its would-be rescuer. If it isn't hurt, it may be stressed from the changes in its environment and still strike out ... even if you're attempting to help it. Remember it is a wild animal.
If you see something really out of the ordinary, you can always report it to Wildlife Alert at 888-404-3922.