CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
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: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/big-guns-in-the-wildlife-garden/
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)
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: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/brown-anole/
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: American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
This 2-2.5 inch youngster was on the patio late one night during a light mist of rain. Hopefully it will avoid the snakes so it can grow up to its 8 inch potential.
Diet: Insects, crayfish, fishes, amphibians, small reptiles, and small mammals
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
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: http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/greenhousefrog.shtml
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: http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/wildlife_info/frogstoads/anaxyrus_quercicus.php
Spatial and temporal ecology of oak toads (Bufo quercicus) on a Florida landscape: www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/23625
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SPADELEAF (Centella asiatica)