As spring rapidly approaches here in Northeast Florida, so does the return of the myriad of flora and fauna that call this state home. Just this morning I heard my first songbirds of the season.
Florida is home to some truly unique critters. Of course, everyone knows about the gators. There’s hardly an open body of water in this state (swimming pools included sometimes) that doesn’t have a resident gator. Or gators. There are other cool animals and birds that live here, too. Two weekends ago I saw a bald eagle cruising the sky near my house. We have raccoons (OK, maybe those aren’t too unusual), armadillos, geckos (not the GEICO kind), and lots of blue haired cotton tops (if you don’t know what that is, take a Sunday drive around South Florida, and you’ll see this unusual species driving around…usually in search of an early-bird dinner). We have mosquitoes that are big enough to carry away small children or cause many adults to require a blood transfusion to make up for lost fluids. The everglades are full of imported pythons that go around and eat the occasional puppy (or gator).
And on that subject, we segue to talk about the critter that I most despise: Mr. No-Shoulders. Otherwise known as snakes. I’m sure that there is some logical reason that snakes were created, but for the life of me, I can’t think of it. I absolutely hate snakes. No. I LOATHE them. They give me the willies. Bad dreams, the shakes, the whole shootin’ match. I’ve had more than a few encounters with them since I’ve lived here. I killed a pigmy rattlesnake in my GARAGE last summer. I rode my bike over a really big rattlesnake – thinking he was dead…only to find out that he wasn’t. Just last fall I saw a snake take a swing at another guy I was passing on a run. We’ve had snakes in our pool (perhaps they were overgrown worms, but they looked like snakes). It seems that I’ve never had a positive encounter with one.
So, while I love and eagerly anticipate the return of warmer weather here in Florida, I’m not so yippy-skippy about the return of Mr. No-Shoulders. Couldn’t he just stay hibernating a little longer? Say 75 years or so?