Leo and the Critters of Florida
Living in South Florida has its perks when it comes to having a dog. One of the biggest ones is not having to take Leo out during a blizzard. However, with warm weather, you get some animals that can be super dangerous for dogs. We are relatively new to Florida (moved from Chicago 1.5 years ago) so the only danger to Leo I was aware of were alligators. Fortunately, I have yet to see an alligator in any of the areas where I walk Leo.
Since living here, I’ve come to learn that iguanas are not very friendly. In fact, they can be pretty vicious. Leo begs to differ though. Every time we pass one on our walks, Leo likes to take off (to the end of the leash) either to play with the iguana or chase it. Almost every time this happens, the iguana takes off as well towards a tree or into the water. There was one time when we were coming up on an iguana during a jog that didn’t move. Usually they run away well before we get close. This time we got within 15 feet of it and the iguana didn’t move. Leo was excited, of course. I was terrified and veered off course. The iguana didn’t move until Erich caught up with me. It was pretty scary since the iguana was the size of a very large cat. Leo isn’t happy about it, but I try to keep my distance from iguanas as much as possible.
Most recently, I’ve discovered a critter that scares me more than alligators and iguanas combined. It’s the bufo toad (also known as the cane toad). I don’t usually walk Leo at night. Erich is the one who takes Leo out before bedtime. However, the past few times we’ve gone together for a small walk and I’ve noticed a lot of what I thought were frogs. After looking them up, I learned they were cane toads and could easily kill Leo if he got his mouth around one of them. Luckily, Leo only likes to chase them if they are moving, and if they are still he almost doesn’t even see them. Now when we go out in the dark, we turn on flashlights because we don’t want to take that risk.
Not many people have to worry about Cane toads because they are only found in Florida, Texas, and Hawaii. For more information about Cane toads, read this article.