Animal Watch, Key West
There are enormous iguanas all over Key West - and the first few times you see one, they are a little freaky... The strange part is that they blend into the environment so well, unless you hear one rustle some leaves, or dart across your path, you won't see them - until you do.
About 4 days into my trip, I stopped freaking out when I saw one. But let me tell you - it's like seeing something out of Jurassic Park when you do!!
These pretty, colorful, balloon-like creatures are Portugese Man-o-Wars. If you encounter one washed up on the beach - DO NOT TOUCH IT. The tentacles are still able to sting you, and when they do it is very painful.
Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live creature in the water and may remain potent for hours or days after the death of the creature or the detachment of the tentacle.
Stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last 2 or 3 days after the initial sting, though the pain should subside after about an hour. However, the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and may cause, depending on the amount of venom, a more intense pain. A sting may lead to an allergic reaction. There can also be serious effects, including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung function. Stings may also cause death, although this is extremely rare. Medical attention may be necessary, especially if pain persists or is intense, there is an extreme reaction, the rash worsens, a feeling of overall illness develops, a red streak develops between swollen lymph nodes and the sting, or either area becomes red, warm and tender.
The best treatment for a Portuguese man o' war sting is:
* To avoid any further contact with the Portuguese man o' war and to carefully remove any remnants of the creature from the skin (taking care not to touch them directly with fingers or any other part of the skin to avoid secondary stinging); then
* To apply salt water to the affected area (not fresh water, which tends to make the affected area worse)
* To follow up with the application of hot water (45 °C/113 °F) to the affected area, which eases the pain of a sting by denaturing the toxins.
* If eyes have been affected, irrigate with copious amounts of room temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes, and if vision blurs or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or show light sensitivity after irrigating, or there is any concern, to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Vinegar is not recommended for treating stings. Vinegar dousing increases toxin delivery and worsens symptoms of stings from the nematocysts of this species. Vinegar has also been confirmed to provoke hemorrhaging when used on the less severe stings of nematocysts of smaller species.
Beware of the many roosters in Key West. Sure, they look pretty, but if you try to chase or pet them, they will attack you.
I watched a little kid crouch down to pet a rooster, while the parents thought it was ok for their kid to touch the dirty bird, and the bird jumped up and scratched the child on the arm with its sharp claws on its two feel. I can only imagine it was a warning to the child and if the child tried to touch the rooster again, I am sure the rooster would have taken his eyes out.
In Key West you will occasionally find roosters roaming the streets. These beautiful animals are pretty harmless, we think. But do watch out for them to come out, in alleys, yards, and sidewalks, so don't be surprised. We even saw a rooster crowing in the parking lot of a McDonald's!
Never knew how dangerous these things were.
We followed this loner aroung the jetty time and time again.
Watched a tv a program when we got home and saw the damage they can do.
Can be a nasty piece of work, be careful.
"I am Homer, I am totally Blind
Nobody knows the troubles
I've seen, the places I've been
Still, I love life and good food
Talk to me, feed me, maybe I will tell you a story"
you can add your own moral to the story...
Key West is one of the safest and most peaceful places I've ever been. But do be on the look-out for the roosters running wild in the more dangerous parts of town.