South Carolina

As if Florence’s flooding wasn’t enough, now we have to worry about these 5 creatures

Here are 5 risks that come with floodwater

Biggest hazards sometimes come after the storm.
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Biggest hazards sometimes come after the storm.

It’s been weeks since Hurricane Florence slammed into parts of North and South Carolina, and many are still living with the damage the storm caused.

Florence not only brought high, damaging winds, but several feet of water that has ruined homes and displaced wildlife.

Floodwater carries with it a long list of diseases and bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease and Control. Even after the waters have receded, mold can become a problem for those with allergies or asthma.

Those aren’t the only problems to arise in the wake of the storm. Insects, rodents and other animals can poise a problem for storm-weary residents.

From mega-mosquitoes to alligators swimming in a flooded dog parks, here are some after-storm visitors you need to watch for:

1. Mega-mosquitoes

West Nile Virus can be deadly — but only one in five people who are infected by a mosquito bite will develop any symptoms, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Here's what to look for.

Mosquitoes love large bodies of water, so it’s not shocking that when hurricanes cause floods, these pests appear.

However, Florence has brought a unique type of mosquito, to North Carolina especially.

Reports say that N.C. residents are seeing some of the largest mosquitoes the region has ever seen.

Swarms of these “mega-mosquitoes” are unique because of their large size and signature white strips on their legs and body.

People are jokingly comparing the size of these pests from as small as wasps to as big as blackbirds.

2. Alligators

An alligator was spotted in the Osprey Cove neighborhood off of S.C. 707 as Hurricane Florence hit the coast.

Alligators come up from their usual home in lagoons and swamps as water levels rise due to flooding.

One flooded dog park in Conway had an unexpected visitor when a gator swam around for a bit, reported WMBF.

Be extra careful standing near or in any body of water in case alligators or snakes are swimming below the surface.

3. Snakes

Facebook video shows a large rattlesnake slithering through Columbia, SC resident Sandy Peebles' yard.

Like alligators, snakes already live in or near lagoons or rivers, so when water levels rise, the reptiles will swim wherever they can to get to higher ground.

If you have to walk in floodwater and think you’ve been bitten, these are the signs you should look for according to CDC:

  • A pair of puncture marks at the wound.
  • Redness and swelling around the bite.
  • Severe pain at the site of the bite.
  • Nausea and vomiting and labored breathing (in extreme cases, breathing may stop altogether).
  • Disturbed vision.
  • Increased salivation and sweating.
  • Numbness or tingling around your face and/or limbs.

The most important thing to do if you’re bitten, other than to summon help, is to try to identify what type of snake that bit you.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources offers a list of venomous snakes in South Carolina. Thankfully, out of the 38 species that live here, only six are venomous.

4. Rodents

Mice and rats are another danger and annoyance after hurricanes, but you might not notice until six to 10 months after they’ve invaded, according to CDC.

The rodents who survive the floodwaters will find higher ground in nooks and crannies, and the vermin will try to find food, shelter and water to continue surviving.

Rodents can be dangerous since they often carry diseases and contaminate food.

Make sure to keep all food properly sealed and contained and to always double-check for rat droppings, marks or burrows after the water recedes.

5. Displaced Wildlife (Fish, dogs, cats and more)

Dead fish are showing up on roads across northeastern S.C. as the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Florence recede. Horry County police warn residents not to touch these fish — and to contact the Department of Natural Resources for proper disposal.

Hurricanes wreak havoc not only on land, but in the sea and the saltwater fish that live in it.

All types of saltwater fish and ocean life can be washed onto shore after a hurricane.

Sometimes, something bigger can, such as the whale that washed up onto Caswell Beach, N.C., after Florence, according to The Herald Sun.

In North Carolina, Interstate 40 was littered with dead fish once the waters receded and firefighters from the Penderlea Fire Department had to clean up and wash away the rotting fish, reported The Charlotte Observer.

Once the hurricane dies down to a tropical storm, then depression, it leaves behind floodwaters that not only displace people, but animals.

Sadly people sometimes do leave pets behind. Even if they don’t, there are a number of stray dogs and cats that have to fend for themselves during a hurricane.

CDC warns that stray animals — particularly dogs — can be frightened, lost or hurt and may be more likely to attack if provoked.