Tennessee Man Vacationing in Florida Says Shark Bit and Broke His Leg Before It Swam Off

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Hermanus Backpackers via Flickr
A 39-year-old Tennessee man named Terrell Moore was swimming off Okaloose Island -- located in Florida's Panhandle -- with his wife and 11-year-old son yesterday. They were about 75 yards from shore when Moore suddenly bolted below the surface, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.

"He got on the second sandbar and was kind of standing up," Moore's wife, Melissa, told the paper. "All of the sudden, he went under a little bit and popped back up... He started swimming really fast."

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More Burmese Pythons Are Being Born Throughout Florida

Categories: Animal Planet

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Florida Fish and Wildlife (via Wikimedia Commons)
It looks like our long statewide nightmare of having giant snakes roaming the wilderness and eating everything is far from over.

According to the folks over at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, more and more Burmese python eggs are hatching in Southwest Florida.

And while the conservancy is now trying to track the baby snakes to learn their behavior and study their patterns, one truth remains: These suckers aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

See also: 2013 Python Challenge: Few Reptiles, Many TV Crews

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Florida Man Has Been Feeding Neighborhood Bears For a Year, According to Officials

Categories: Animal Planet

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Courtesy of FWC
Back in April, residents of Lake Mary (a small Florida town outside Orlando) said they'd seen a neighbor feeding a black bear. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) workers went to see what was up, only to find several bears responding to officers, looking and expecting food.

A number of neighbors confirmed enough damning details that the FWC knew who the culprit was: one Eugene "Douglas" Cifers.

They said he hand feeds the bears and they come right up to the patio. They also said Cifers takes pictures of he and his wife feeding the bears and shows them to neighbors. On trash days, Cifers tells neighbors he'll leave food out so the bears "won't get into everybody's trash" but they inevitably do.

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Invasive Lizards Immune to Cold Threatening Florida Alligator and Turtle Populations

Categories: Animal Planet

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Wikipedia Commons
An Argentine Black and White Tegu Lizard

Meet the newest threat to Florida's face. The Argentine Black and White Tegu Lizard -- native to Argentina and parts of South America -- was found in Florida first back in the early 2000s.

Thanks to an ability to withstand cold and reproduce rapidly, the lizards aren't going away -- the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says there's been almost 700 reported cases of the animal in Miami alone since its first sighting. Still, the most haunting detail going forward comes via a recent study conducted by the University of Florida alongside the U.S. Geological Survey and the FWC.

The lizards are a threat to alligators, turtles and and a number of other small mammals, according to Scientific American.

See also: Florida is Being Invaded By Exotic Tegu Lizards

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Eight Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe on July Fourth

Categories: Animal Planet

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Photo by yasmapaz via Flickr cc
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. And that means hot dogs, beer, American flags, and fireworks.

It's a glorious time.

Unfortunately, for your pets, it's just another day. Except on this day, things are exploding over and over outside for inexplicable reasons.

While it's all fun and games for us humans, it's a time of stress, anxiety, fear, and confusion for our furry pals.

So please remember that as you're lighting that bottle rocket and looking at the pretty lights.

With this in mind, here are some tips you need to follow to make sure your beloved pet does't have a total freakout throughout the evening:

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More Than 10 Percent of the Florida Panther Population Has Been Run Over So Far This Year

Categories: Animal Planet

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Officials estimate that there are fewer than 200 Florida panthers roaming the state. Although the method of counting is imprecise, the big cat is -- by any measure -- far from getting off the endangered species list. When one gets hit by a car and killed, it's a pretty big deal.

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Humane Society: Ban Pythons, Anacondas, and Boa Constrictors

Categories: Animal Planet

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Wikipedia Commons
The Obama administration has discussed banning the reticulated python (above) since '12 but still hasn't.
Back in 2012, President Obama's Interior Department went forward with a proposal to list nine species of snakes as "injurious" -- legalese that would ban the importation and selling of the animals. But when the announcement was made, only four species were put on the list: the Indian python (including the Burmese python), Northern African python, Southern African python, and yellow anaconda.

Those four made up just 30 percent of imports among the nine species looked at as the biggest threats by the U.S. Geological Survey. The other five species of snake -- the reticulated python, DeSchauensee's anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda, and boa constrictor -- account for the other 70 percent of imports.

So now? Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is calling for the rest to be banned too.

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Look Out! The Next Invasive Florida Species: Trap-Jaw Ants

Categories: Animal Planet

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Wikipedia Commons
Another day, another terrifying crazy animal arrives in Florida.

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that a new ant native to South America, called Odontomachus haematodus, had been found across the Gulf Coast. Research conducted by North Carolina State University shows the nonnative species was found in populated places in Florida like Orlando, Pensacola, and Gainesville. This ant, though -- it ain't like the ants you're thinking of.

Instead, the beast can open its jaw 180 degrees, furiously snap its mouth toward the ground like a bear trap to launch itself, and sting you with venom.

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Florida Men Who Cannonballed Onto Manatees and Posted It on YouTube Sentenced

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photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons
Last May, we told you about a couple of Cocoa Beach dudes who decided it would not only be a good idea to cannonball themselves onto a manatee and her calf but also to post it on YouTube.

Now, a little over a year later, those manatees are getting justice!

The two men, Taylor Blake Martin, and Seth Andrew Stephenson, both 22, have each been ordered to pay hefty fines and serve 175 hours of community service.


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Keys Giant Mutant Rats Detect Land Mines and Tuberculosis

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Photo by Briana Marie Forgie
Last week we told you about the African Gambian Pouched Rat's reemergence on Grassy Key. Now comes an organization headquartered in Tanzania called APOPO, dedicated to training African Gambian pouched rats to detect land mines and tuberculosis. When trained, they're dubbed HeroRATS.

Bart Weetjens, a self-described monk, started the organization in 1998. He had read an article about gerbils detecting explosives in airports and says he had an "aha" moment about the Giant Pouched Rats.

The rats train for 9 months -- though it only takes 2-4 weeks to socialize them with humans -- learning to sniff out the explosives in old land mines buried underground, he says.. They scratch the ground when they've smelled the TNT.

See also: Giant Rats Won't Die and Keep Invading Florida

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