Gators, Snakes and Cane Toads, Oh My! Weather brings creepy crawlers to SWFL

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz
Published: Updated:

The creepy crawlers are out and about in Southwest Florida. Andrew Durso, an assistant professor of wildlife biology at Florida Gulf Coast University, says the changing weather is a big reason why.

‘Alligators do move around more during the rainy season,” said Durso, “Both because they’re breeding but also because wetlands that might have been dry during the winter are filling up again during the summer.”

This might explain how an alligator made its way into Mike Lewandowski’s Cape Coral storm sewer.

“I ran into no gators like that in this neighborhood. This is the first time anytime, any size,” said Lewandowski.

A Lehigh Acres driver had a different kind of car trouble this week when they found a rat snake wrapped around their engine.

WINK News reporter Taylor Wirtz also had a slithery skirmish when she found a Scarlet King snake in her kitchen.

Durso says this tracks with normal snake activity, which typically picks up at the end of March as overnight temperatures rise.

“It’s never really cold enough that snakes need to hibernate the way that they would in the rest of the country. But they’re definitely less active during the cooler, drier season.”

The poisonous cane toads are also on their way back in the coming months, but there are ways to make it less likely you or your pets will run into them.

“Cane toads are not native to Florida,” said Durso. “If you have a lawn that has more of a mixture of native plants and different grasses and things like that. Cane toads don’t tend to do as well in those areas.”

Perhaps the biggest tip, Durso says most of these creatures won’t bother you unless they are provoked.

“They’re so chill and relaxed, and they just ignore you most of the time because they’re hoping you won’t notice them and they’ll go away,” said Durso.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.