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A rainbow snake, a rare reptile spotted in a Florida county for the first time in more than 50 years, seen here on July 5, 2013. Kevin Enge / FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr

A Florida hiker recently stumbled across a slithering surprise — a rare snake that hadn't been spotted in the area for more than 50 years.

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A home is surrounded by floodwater on Sept. 30, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Risa Palm and Toby W. Bolsen

Advertisers understand that providing consumers with the facts will not sell products. To get people to stop and pay attention, successful advertising delivers information simply and with an emotional hook so that consumers notice and, hopefully, make a purchase.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Nick Aumen / USGS

By John R. Platt and Dipika Kadaba

Florida manatees had another deadly year in 2019.

An estimated 531 manatees died in Florida waters in the past 12 months. That's a significant decrease from the number of deaths in 2018, when 824 manatees died, but it still represents a nearly 10 percent loss to their population in the state.

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A baby burrowing owl perched outside its burrow on Marco Island, Florida. LagunaticPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.

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An iguana is seen on a tree branch on November 22, 2019 in Marathon Island, Florida. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP / Getty Images

An unusual weather report made waves this week as meteorologists warned residents of Florida to be aware of "raining iguanas."

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Donald Trump attends the opening of Red Tiger Golf Course at Trump National Doral on Jan. 12, 2015 in Doral, Florida. Johnny Louis / FilmMagic

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney made two controversial announcements about the 2020 Group of Seven (G7) summit: it will be hosted at one of President Donald Trump's golf resorts in Miami and it won't feature any discussion of the climate crisis.

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The last red tide in Florida lasted 15 months — pictured here at Bean Point Beach. TriggerPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The red tide that plagued Florida for 15 months — killing marine life and causing respiratory problems for humans — is back, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

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Native American burial mound at Lake Jackson Mounds State Park, north of Tallahassee, Fla. Ebaybe / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

By Jayur Mehta, Tara Skipton

Native North Americans first arrived in Florida approximately 14,550 years ago. Evidence for these stone-tool-wielding, megafauna-hunting peoples can be found at the bottom of numerous limestone freshwater sinkholes in Florida's Panhandle and along the ancient shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Hurricane Dorian, now a Cat. 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, gains strength as it tracks towards the Florida coast in this NOAA GOES-East satellite image taken at 13:40Z on Aug. 30. NOAA via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for every county in the state Thursday as it prepares for what could be the strongest hurricane to hit its East Coast since Andrew in 1992, CNN reported.


Dorian, currently a Category 2 hurricane, is forecast to make landfall on Florida's East Coast as a Category 4 storm Labor Day with winds of around 130 miles per hour. However, it is not clear exactly where on the coast the storm will make landfall: It could be anywhere between the Florida Keys and southeast Georgia.

"Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend," the National Hurricane Center warned on Friday.

There were concerns earlier in the week that Dorian would wreak havoc on Puerto Rico, still recovering from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago. But the storm brushed past the island Wednesday causing minimal damage, HuffPost reported. Dorian instead battered St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where winds of around 110 miles per hour blew the roofs off of houses.

However, what was good news for Puerto Rico could spell trouble for Florida. Because the storm was not weakened passing over the mountains of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, it is now in a position to intensify, CBS News explained. One reason it is likely to do so is that it will pass over water 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit on its way to Florida, and water warmer than 80 degrees tends to strengthen storms.

The storm is now predicted to blow over the Bahamas Sunday and then make landfall in Florida Monday, The New York Times reported. But Florida could begin feeling winds of at least 39 miles per hour by Saturday night. The storm is predicted to dump four to eight inches of rain on the Sunshine State. Forecasters are also worried about the potential for flooding caused by storm surges.

"All Floridians really need to monitor Hurricane Dorian," DeSantis said Thursday morning, as The New York Times reported. He advised residents to store up seven days' worth of food and medical supplies.

Floridians appeared to take him at his word. In a Facebook post Wednesday, Brooke Koontz shared photos of empty shelves at a Walmart in Port Orange, Florida, as CNN reported. She said that at one point employees brought out a pallet of water bottles.

"It was gone in seconds," she told CNN. "People were trying to race."

President Donald Trump canceled a planned trip to Poland because of the storm, as BBC News reported.

"It's very important for me to be here," he told reporters Thursday. "[It] looks like it could be a very, very big one. I have decided to send our vice-president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place."

If forecasts are correct and Dorian hits Florida, it will be the fourth year in a row that a hurricane has hit the state, the most consecutive hurricane years since the 1940s, CNN reported. Last year's Hurricane Michael was the strongest to ever hit the Florida panhandle, and meteorologist Eric Holthaus noted that the state has never before faced two such strong landfalls two years in a row.

"We are in a climate emergency," he tweeted.

A Greenpeace rally to call for a presidential climate debate, in front of the DNC headquarters in Washington, DC on June 12. Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Confronting the climate crisis is the No. 1 issue for 96 percent of Democratic voters, but it clocked only around seven minutes of airtime at the first Democratic Presidential debate Wednesday, Vox reported.

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The skyline of Fort Myers Beach. YinYang / iStock / Getty Images

First Fort Myers banned plastic straws. Now it banned Roundup, or glyphosate, the controversial herbicide recently blamed for causing cancer by several juries, the News Press reports.

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