Scroll to the bottom for the photos! ~ Double-Click for a larger image
Most snakes that you encounter are harmless -- but
~If you venture this far from the couch -- you should know who you're looking at.
The three venomous snakes to watch for are the Water Moccasin, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the Pigmy or Ground Rattler.
LaChua and Cones Dike harbor the Water Moccasin and the Lake Trail and Pine Woods are home to the two Rattlesnakes.
The Moccasin sits along side off trail and is hard to notice so... Stay out of the grass! The tilted head is a warning and then will progress to revealing the white inside of the mouth if pressed.
The Diamondback cruises through the grass and looks like a Persian rug on tour!
If it is near cover of brush or pine needles - and not moving ... Well it's more than hard to see!
....so Stay on the Trail!
The Pigmy or Ground Rattler is tiny with an adult reaching 18-24." They look so harmless curled up in a spiral that people pick them up! They are also close to invisible with their advanced camo.
The Walmart Cereal Aisle and the Lowe's Garden Center in Silver Springs have been the location of pigmy bites! Watch where you put your hands and don't pick up any cute snakes.
The gator mating season is well underway! the boyz are bellowing to announce their digs and to call out the queens! Nothing will stir up your reptilian brain more than the very low frequency mating call of a 12 foot gator.
Get out on The LaChua Trail this weekend and listen ~ It's something you will remember ( and it's perfectly safe -- if you stay 10-15 feet away from the water and a gator. )
Alligators in all sizes! The babies riding on Mom's back to the monsters that appear to have eaten a car.
All can be observed from a safe distance during most of the warm months of the year. The cool nights of fall and winter cause the gators to "hang out
" on the banks the lakes and rivers. Occasionally they will bask trail side and startle the hiker!
If gators are not fed they remain scared of humans and run for water at the sight of people ( just don't get between the water and the gator!! After all the gator will run to water and the "Tractor Trailer Effect" hurts! )
Florida Wildlife Commission has a basic "Gator 101 Brochure"
that provides a good overview to read: http://myfwc.com/media/152524/Alligator_Brochure.pdf Bite statistics; since 1948 to 2012 show 22 fatalities due to unprovoked attacks by gators. Serious bites outnumber less serious because of the nature of the attack. The conclusions are: don't swim near alligators and stay at least 6 feet from the water! Ref FWC Records: http://myfwc.com/media/310203/Alligator_GatorBites.pdf