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10 Things You Must Know About Retiring to Florida

Florida is its very own ecosystem, and the state’s various creatures may do more than make your skin crawl. They might also eat into your budget.

For instance, dealing with termites is just part of the routine for Florida homeowners. Of the 15 U.S. cities with the most termites in 2018, Florida scores four: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa and Orlando, according to pest control company Terminix. “Because there is no real winter season in most of Florida, termite treatments or a termite program can be valuable for homes made of wood,” says Century 21’s Perry. A termite inspection by a pro ranges from free to $350, and the cost for treatment of termites in a 2,500-square-foot house ranges from $1,250 to $5,000.

Then there are the rats — on the beach, in the trees, and perhaps on your roof, too. Yes, they are the same rats you know and loath; they’ve just adapted to the climate and are called, among other things, palm rats and roof rats. “Rats on the beach were a tough adjustment,” says Elliott. “I pay $300 a year for rat control. No regrets on that expenditure. Haven’t had any rats since the first year here.”

As a Floridian, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for alligators, panthers and pythons. Oh my. Florida has an estimated 1.25 million alligators of the approximately five million in the U.S., and you might encounter them
slinking across a golf course
, gliding in backyard swimming pools or skirmishing with a horse. “Beware of Alligators” signs are posted at lakes, lagoons, parks, ponds, golf courses and elsewhere throughout Florida. Alligator attacks rose in 2017 due to rising temperatures and people visiting their habitat more frequently, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission experts say. The Florida Museum tallied 351 alligator attacks in Florida — of 391 in the U.S. Seventeen of those Florida attacks were fatal.

Panthers, the state animal of Florida, are another tale. While there have been no documented panther attacks on humans, they do dine on pets and livestock.

And Burmese pythons, which aren’t native to Florida, are growing in numbers in Everglades National Park — and showing up in homeowners’ pantries, cars, laundry rooms and other spots.