Category Archives: Wildlife

Another African Black Panther Photographed in Kenya, also was shot by Phoebe Okall in 2013

Black panthers are particularly rare in Africa, only a couple have been photographed in the last 100 years. Another black leopard was photographed in Kenya in the same region in 2013CNN incorrectly claims this was the first one photographed in Africa since since 1909, but then concedes reports of the photos from five years ago: I guess they are saying this is the first scientifically confirmed footage… Either way, it’s exciting as the panthers, black color variations of leopards, also known as melanistic leopards, are far less common in Africa than their South and East Asian cousins.

So, now I’m kind of angry that CNN and other media outlets are writing this up as the first black leopard photographed in Africa in 100 years, as one was clearly photographed by a Kenyan photographer in 2013. It’s almost like they credited the white, western photog and discounted the photos taken by the black, African photographer. It should be noted, the photographer who actually captured the first black panther photos in Africa in over 100 years is an award-winning Kenyan woman, Phoebe Okall. I want to make clear that the new claims are not coming from Burrard-Lucas, who took the new pictures. Sounds like the researches from San Diego, who published and are being quoted, are the ones who ignored or discredited Okall’s photos and are spreading misinformation. During Black History month, no less. Let’s recognize Ms. Okall’s great work!

 

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African Warthog Captured in Florida

warthog2

Florida warthog

FWC responded to reports of an African Warthog roaming around St. Lucie County, Florida last month. Several attempts to trap the hog were unsuccessful. A few days later, he was spotted and they tried again to snare trap it. Finally, Officer Bradley Toby had to tackle the warthog, until it could be guided into a trap. Fortunately, Toby only suffered some cuts on his legs. I hope there’s some video of the thrilling capture that gets released at some point!

 

warthog

via FWC

Unfortunately, the animal had to be put down so they could examine it for disease. There’s no indication how the warthog came to be living in Florida. This is the first I’ve heard of it: though it’s not the first African animal to be caught in Florida… while the Burmese python is the most notorious, there has been a spread of African Rock Pythons as well, which are also large and very aggressive. I’ve personally seen some Guinea Fowl wandering around residential neighborhoods here in Fort Myers: but those are nothing to be scared of! Glad the FWC officer was ok… those warthogs can be tough if you do not show them respect!

 

Asian Water Lizard Captured on Collier Golf Course

water lizard

Kevin Hennings about to recapture Poseidon at TwinEagles

The headline makes this seem more ominous than it is, because there is not currently in invasive issue with Asian water lizards, but it must’ve been freaky for the golfers who saw the 6-foot reptile on the course! This one was an escaped pet, who made some national news when his escape was announced. Fortunately some good Samaritans notified him when “Poseidon” was spotted at TwinEagles. He was able to lure it with some frozen chicken and catch it without much difficulty. The Naples News story has the thrilling footage of the capture!

At this time, these reportedly don’t even need a permit: they are not one of the species that is currently joining the exotic invasions of African lizards that Florida is dealing with right now.

The Alligators are Eating the Sharks!

gator-sharkWe have a lot of dangerous wildlife in Florida- there’s probably more things that can kill you here than anywhere but Australia! And when dangerous critters get together, there are winners and losers! A recent study was published in the Southeastern Journal documenting the frequency of alligators eating sharks. There had been some anecdotal evidence before, but the new research indicates it is much more common than realized. Sharks frequently come into brackish fresh water, and while alligators don’t live in saltwater, they can tolerate it. Naturally, when a larger predator comes into contact with a smaller critter, even if it’s also a predator, the smaller critter runs the risk of becoming lunch. I’m sure a large shark would make a meal of a smaller alligator, if given the chance. Gators certainly have learned that can make a meal out of sharks and rays!

bobcat sharkThey aren’t the only predators willing to go after sharks. A couple years ago, a man named John Bailey snapped a pic of a shark being fished out by a bobcat near Vero Beach. Like I said, there’s a lot of nasty critters in Florida!

Giant Snake on Golf Course (Not Florida)

This huge Rock Python was seen crawling across a fairway on a course in South Africa. Piece of advice from a certified snake wrangler, don’t approach them if you don’t know what they are doing. (Rock Pythons are notoriously aggressive.) It’s a matter of time In factbefore we get footage like this of an invasive Burmese in Florida

 

In fact, a couple of guys recently tried this with a snake on the side of the road in Collier County a few weeks ago…

Florida’s Other Reptile Problem

iguana key biscayne

Iguana on Key Biscayne

The Burmese Pythons have gotten a lot of press lately, and we have seen Nile Monitor lizards in Cape Coral, and mean old Tegus on the east coast, but it tends to get forgotten that there are invasive iguanas established in many places on Florida. They are not dangerous to people or animals, so they don’t get much press, but they are ubiquitous in certain areas.

 

iguanas crandonThey can be a problem, from invading housing developments and weakening retaining walls, but also to native flora and fauna. For instance: “In the Florida Keys, iguanas ate up the host plant for the endangered Miami blue butterfly in Bahia Honda State Park. Nearly 600 iguanas have been removed from the park in the last two fiscal years, according to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, but the quarter-sized butterflies haven’t returned.”

And their presence was apparent at the Miami Open, where Tommy Haas snapped a selfie of one on a court!

The Mystery of the Orange Alligator

orange-gator

An orange gator was sighted in South Carolina this week, and some people have dubbed it ‘Trump A-Gator‘. Those people are wrong… the gator is clearly a just a fan of the National Champion Clemson Tigers, who won the college football playoff this year. It’s obvious!

Nobody knows why the gator is orange, but it’s probably not natural. An orange gator was spotted in Florida a few years ago… perhaps its a rare color morph. More likely it was colored by something in the environment, such as iron oxide in the water or some orange paint (perhaps a few rambunctious college students got carried away.)