South Florida is home to extensive diversity of wildlife that individuals may encounter in their garden. Some are poisonous, others deliver a painful bite, while some are just scary looking. They seek shelter in gardens and want to be left alone, but they will defend themselves against what they perceive as an attack.

The best solution when gardening is wearing pants, long sleeves, socks and shoes – not sandals – look carefully where hands and feet are placed or if movement is detected. Individuals may also want to contact a professional should an infestation become apparent.


Spiders are the most common type of wildlife that individuals will encounter. The two most dangerous are the southern black widow and the brown recluse. Humans typically won’t encounter a brown recluse, but it’s important to be aware. While it’s not poisonous, it’s dangerous in the effect it has. The venom injected by a bite result in liquification of the flesh around the bite site.

Southern black widows don’t have the distinguishing red hourglass markings of their northern counterparts. They’re venomous, but their bite typically won’t result in death. The bite can cause pain, burning, swelling, redness, nausea and severe pain. The venom affects the nervous system. Some people are relatively unaffected, while others may have a severe reaction.


Between breeders and owners releasing exotic snakes into the wild and hurricanes that send snakes seeking higher ground, there are many different types of snakes in South Florida that people may encounter. Only six species are truly dangerous with bites that can harm people, but no snake should be trifled with, just to be safe.

Dangerous species include the Canebrake rattlesnake, copperhead, coral snake, cottonmouth/water moccasin, diamondback rattlesnake and pigmy rattlesnake. While most people won’t encounter the pythons or any of the other constrictors, they can appear. Snakes typically enter gardens in search of food such as moles, voles and mice, along with gophers, chipmunks and other rodents.

Fire Ants

Gardeners may encounter several species of fire ants that inhabit Florida. The red fire ant is the biggest problem. The species is native to South America and found a favorable environment in Florida. The imported species is aggressive and attacks anything that disturbs them. They come out of their mounds en masse and each ant can sting numerous times. The most common reaction is pain, itching and swelling. While the sting is painful to most, it can result in a life-threatening reaction for some.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

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