With the official start of hurricane season on June 1, it is important to ensure that you and your family are prepared. Whether it’s your first hurricane season in Florida or your thirtieth, review the effects major storms have on our wildlife to keep both them and your family safe.
Unusual heavy rainfall can cause flooding in areas where burrowing owls live, particularly open prairies. Burrowing owls may be found in unusual places post-storms as they wait for their burrows to drain. It’s important to give this state-designated threatened species its space as their habitat recovers.
You are more likely to see snakes with higher water levels post-storm. Most snakes you will encounter are likely to be nonvenomous and will be more scared of you than you are of them. If you see a snake, stay back. Snakes are not aggressive toward humans unless they feel threatened, but keep your eyes peeled when clearing debris post-storm.
The storm surges and high waves associated with hurricanes can destroy or erode nesting beaches for sea turtles, washing away and burying them under debris, resulting in the loss of countless eggs and hatchlings, thereby impacting their reproductive success. In addition to nesting disruptions, hurricanes can also impact the foraging and migratory patterns of sea turtles. The strong currents and changes in water temperatures can displace sea turtles from their preferred feeding grounds, forcing them to find alternative sources of food.
Hurricanes often lead to an increase in fish kills due to changes in salinity and low dissolved oxygen in the water. Use the Fish Kill Hotline to report major fish kills to FWC throughout hurricane season: 800-636-0511.
Manatees can become trapped or stranded during major storms. After Hurricane Hermine in September 2016, seven manatees were stranded in the golf course pond at the Plantation on Crystal River. If you are aware of a stranded, trapped, injured or dead manatee, call FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
Our Foundation works to address both the societal and environmental losses caused by hurricanes. The powerful winds and storm surge can cause extensive property damage and threaten lives. During the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in 2022, our Foundation supported affected FWC employees by providing over $150,000 to aid in relocation assistance, loss of personal property, and home repair.