The Florida Department of Health is warning residents to be aware of snakes and alligators that could have been “displaced” during Irma, which barreled through parts of the Sunshine State over the weekend.
“After storms, be alert to wildlife snakes, alligators, etc. may have been displaced as a result of strong winds or rain,” the department tweeted Monday.
On Monday, Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, but it still packed winds near hurricane force. The storm moved north of Florida and into Georgia, drenching the coast. Forecasters are warning heavy rain could still cause swollen rivers, streams and creeks to overflow.
No deaths in Florida were immediately linked to the storm. At least 24 people were killed in the Caribbean and at least 10 in Cuba as Irma ravaged a string of resort islands.
One of the largest alligator farms in Florida, Gatorland in Orlando, promised its 2,000 alligators would not get loose when Irma hit.
“These critters have been fighting hurricanes and big ol’ nasty storms for about 65 million years. They are pretty good at it,” park president and CEO Mark McHugh said in a Facebook video.
“We just leave all our alligators in our ponds and lakes, they are on their own, they sink in the water and they just weather it out.”
And to ensure they don’t escape, the park is enclosed with an eight-foot-high double fence, he said.
“None of our animals are going anywhere at Gatorland, so if you see an alligator floating down your street, it ain’t ours. Don’t call us. Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Department,” he added.
Gatorland also has venomous snakes and boa constrictors, which have been put in a secure building.
The devastating storm displaced more than just alligators and snakes in Florida.
A flock of flamingos was also led to safety in Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay when the storm hit that area.
The water birds were relocated from an outdoor enclosure to a designated room where they rode out the storm.
Two Manatee County sheriff’s deputies rescued a pair of manatees stranded in the receding water Sunday. Several people posted photos of the mammals on Facebook amid reports rescuers were able to later drag them to deeper water.