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5 animals Lionel Messi should keep an eye on while living in Florida

Among the reasons Lionel Messi decided to play for Inter Miami is the idea of enjoying soccer "in a calmer way" while having more time around his family.

Sure, it sounds like a long-term vacation, a downgrade to an ill-called "retirement league," but the truth is Messi shouldn't let his guard down.  

Not only because there are defenders like Walker Zimmermann and Miles Robinson that can make him run for his money, but also because off the pitch, there are a series of animals and critters living in Florida that he — and his lovely family — should be keeping an eye on.

Seriously. Just look what happened to Messi's new teammate Nick Marsman. Inter Miami's backup goalkeeper went to the zoo with his family last weekend and while exploring the venue, a "poisonous spider" bit him and sent him to the hospital for three days.


Marsman's now doing fine, but several others haven't been that lucky. According to CDC data collected by, Florida was the third-most deadly state in the United States over the 1999-2019 period with 247 fatal animal attacks.

The Sunshine State was only behind Texas (520) and California (299).

FYI, Messi: The 5 most dangerous animals in Florida

While there's not an "official ranking" in terms of what animals are the "most dangerous," there's consensus about which ones seem to pose the biggest risk to humans.

#1. Sharks

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The United States is the country with the most shark attacks reported every year and 39% of those attacks occur in the coasts of Florida. Although there hasn't been a fatal incident since 2010, the fact experts say that Florida is the world's shark bite capital tells its own story.

In fact, just in May there were two attacks in less than 36 hours.

The big white and bull sharks are the most feared species in the area.

#2. Alligators

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Since 2020, seven fatal alligator attacks have occurred in the United States. Three of those happened in Florida.

Wildlife experts believe alligator-human incidents are rising in the state as cities have been expanding and invading their natural habitat. Just last month, a man lost his arm after encountering one of these giants while trying to pee in a pond behind a bar.

An extra tip, Leo? Keep an eye on your dog. Alligator-domestic pet interactions are also on the rise, and the outcome tends to be very unfavorable for our furry friends.

#3. Snakes

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Copperheads, diamondbacks, rattlesnakes, water moccasins... there are several venomous snakes in Florida and up to 300 snakebites a year in the state. Somehow, fatalities are rare if the bites are treated on time.

I mean, being bitten by a snake is not a walk in the park. Take, for instance, the case of Sierra Lynn, a 21-year-old woman bitten by an Eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake last May and who had to learn to walk again after the incident.

#4. Spiders

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Brown recluses and black widows are the two most poisonous spiders in the US, and both can be found in Florida. To be honest, there are not a lot of stats related to spider bites available online, with most accounts saying that fatalities are very rare. But if those bites are not treated promptly, they surely could be deadly, especially when talking about brown recluse incidents.

#5. Bears

Bear encounters are rare in Florida. Local authorities say there haven't been more than 15 attacks registered since 1976, when they started to keep notes. One of the last ones occurred in 2022 while a woman was walking her dog and she lived to tell the story. There's also the case of a man that ended up with 41 stitches after running into a black bear.

Again, fatalities are rare, but the scare is one of those you don't want to experience.

Before someone gets mad, yes, it's worth mentioning that in the larger scheme of life, animal attacks are very rare, and most of the time they're because humans have invaded their natural habitat or even provoked them.

Being careful and respectful in front of them, of course, is never bad advice.

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