Down in the swamps and marshes of Florida, there are a number of critters who you wouldn’t wish to run across on a humid, moonless night.
The Sunshine State is home to some of the nastiest predators in the United States, and your country club membership won’t keep you safe either.
This gigantic alligator named Chubbs is frequently seen walking around a golf course in Florida … 😊💗 pic.twitter.com/XKHNdL7hlI
— Scott Hefti ☘ (@Havenlust) May 18, 2019
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And then there’s the invasive python species that are wreaking havoc in The Everglades.
"happy" swamp day 🐉
A 17-Foot Burmese Python Was Found in Florida. What Was It Even Doing There? https://t.co/WNtqY1btvw
— Dwight Smith (@des0007) August 20, 2019
There are even rumors about a Bigfoot-like creature known as the “Skunk Ape” that has been terrifying residents for decades.
— Tedderman (@Tedderman1) August 16, 2019
But now, a mysterious condition is wreaking havoc among the state’s big cat population and leaving scientists stumped.
The Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission (FWC) this week announced some of the state’s big cats — namely kittens — have “exhibited some degree of walking abnormally or difficulty coordinating their back legs.”
So far, FWC officials said they have confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat, but noted at least eight other panthers and one adult bobcat are also “displaying varying degrees of this condition.”
Trail footage from three counties — Collier, Lee, and Sarasota — shows some cats exhibiting the disorder. In one clip, a kitten loses its balance; its hind legs seem to simply give out. It manages to get up, albeit slowly, before trotting off after its mother.
While there has been no official explanation for the sad state of these creatures, some have hypothesized that a commonly used rat poison may be to blame for the clumsy cats.
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