CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

american alligator

This big guy (at least 6 foot) was walking around in my next door neighbor’s yard last evening looking along the fence line for a way out.  Drought + mating season = alligators showing up where they normally would not.  Not sure how this fella wound up in their fenced yard.

He was a tad camera shy and walked away in the opposite direction when I started taking photos.

He will likely move on because there is no water source at my neighbors…even my pond has gone dry.  Last time I saw an alligator in our yards was back in 2013 when we also were experiencing lack of rainfall.  At that time one found comfort in my pond for a brief time, but it wasn’t anywhere near the size of this guy who was scary big.


My take:

scary BIG!



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

I can usually find these guys at night on the patio…hopefully eating palmetto bugs (ick!)

syn. Bufo terrestris


Diet: Ants, bees, beetles, crickets, roaches, snails, and other invertebrates.



February 27-March 3, 2017 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown Anole (Anolis spp. likely sagrei)

Anolis sp. likely sagrei

This guy (and yes, it is a male) was either fighting mad, or madly in love with me as evidence of the display of the colorful dewlap.

Native to Cuba/Bahamas.

While good at helping keep pest insect populations in check, this non-native threatens our Florida native green anoles by taking over habitat and eating juveniles.


Learn more:

Anolis sagrei was the Focal Species in the Winter 2011 issue of The Invader Updater: Invasive species news for busy Extension professionals., a newsletter produced by: University of Florida Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Dr. Steve A. Johnson, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist and Monica E. McGarrity, Johnson Lab Outreach Coordinator.


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus)

NON-VENOMOUS. Sleak beauty was lounging in the sun on the storage cabinet.

Diet: frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, eggs


My take: A Race to the End

Take 2:
The Water System as Wildlife Habitat



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

Terrestrial Frog. Exotic (native to Cuba) likely introduced to U.S. through trade. Threat to natives probably minimal as it has natural enemies in snakes. I found this one burrowed inside a crate that was holding some potting soil bags to start my winter veggies.

Diet: Ants, beetles, other tiny invertebrates


Learn more:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

formerly Bufo quercicus, this is the smallest North American toad getting be about 1.5 inch max.

Diet: Ants, beetles, centipedes, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Unlike many toads who tend to be more nocturnal, you’ll see these guys quite often during the daylight. He was visiting my driveway which is a mix of native groundcovers including but not limited to spadeleaf, pennywort, frogfuit and various sedges.

Learn more:

Spatial and temporal ecology of oak toads (Bufo quercicus) on a Florida landscape:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SPADELEAF (Centella asiatica)