4 Amazing Effects of Hurricanes on Florida’s Wildlife

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4 Amazing Effects of Hurricanes on Florida’s Wildlife

When hurricanes arrive in Florida, most people can get inside sturdy buildings or evacuate out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, that Is not always the case with the Sunshine State’s wildlife. A few animals have sensors that let them know that a storm is coming and they can get out of the way. Some animals like raccoons who find new homes more readily available thrive during and after hurricanes. Many others, like burrowing owls who find their homes flooded, are put in danger. Here are seven ways that hurricanes can impact animals, birds, and reptiles.  

Wind Dislocation

Some birds can be blown hundreds of miles off course when a hurricane impacts the state. Many migratory birds either change direction or they fly into the eye of the hurricane and stay there to ride out the storm. The most in danger are larger birds as small birds tighten their grip and hold on to tree limbs when the wind blows. Woodpeckers and other birds who live inside trees do not leave their homes during a hurricane.  

Tree Loss

If Orlando experiences a hurricane and you go on an airboat tour in Orlando afterward, you may see a lot of trees knocked down. For some animals, this can be short-term good news as it makes food easier for them to find. Many, however, have a hard time later on as there are less ripe fruit and nuts for them to eat. Additionally, the leaves off the trees can end up in the water, which can be a severe problem for fish as the decaying leaves lower oxygen levels, causing the fish to suffocate.  

Dune and Beach Loss

Another area of concern during a hurricane is dune and beach loss. For example, following Hurricane Andrew, sand was stripped from over 70 % of barrier islands leaving behind exposed coastal marshes. A thick level of sediment smothered over 80 % of oyster reefs. Debris blowing onto coral reefs can cause them to die.  

Saltwater Intrusion and Freshwater Flooding

Many forms of wildlife rely on a delicate balance of saltwater and freshwater. When a hurricane makes landfall, saltwater intrudes into areas where it usually is not found. The saltwater can damage or kill many types of insects, young fish, and crabs. The damage can be long-term because marsh grass often dies. The amount of salt in the water can stay changed for many months.  

A few days after a hurricane is a great time to take an airboat tour in Orlando from Switchgrass Outfitters & Airboat Tours. There is no need to wait until after a storm, however, to take an airboat tour in Orlando. You will be amazed at how much you and your family can learn during one of these tours, so go ahead and book one now. You will be so glad that you did.  

 

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