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Marine Wildlife

Can I swim with the dolphins in Florida?
Several facilities in Florida allow people to swim with dolphins. These dolphins have been trained to interact with people and live in captivity. Attempting to swim with wild dolphins can be dangerous for both the swimmer and the dolphin. Wild dolphins may act aggressively toward humans. Males may be more aggressive in defending territory and can cause injury to humans. Human contact with wild dolphins may encourage the animals to approach humans in the future; this makes wild dolphins more vulnerable to injury from boats. The Department of Environmental Protection's policy is no contact between humans and wild marine mammals, including dolphins, manatees, and whales.

How do I treat a wound inflicted by a stingray?
If a stingray stings you, seek immediate medical attention. Infection can develop from bacteria entering the wound via seawater or from the stinger (spine) itself. A stingray spine can also break off in the wound and cause infection if it is not removed. The pain of the stingray toxin can be alleviated before reaching medical facilities by applying a heat compress to the wound or soaking it in clean, hot water, which breaks down the proteinic toxin.

Remember to shuffle your feet when you wade through Florida coastal waters to reduce the possibility of being stung by a stingray!

How likely am I to be attacked by a shark in Florida waters?
You are more likely to be struck by lightning in Florida than to be attacked by a shark. Few fatal shark attacks have been recorded in Florida since 1882.

Information provided by Fish and Wildlife Research Institute - to learn more visit the Florida Marine Research Institute webiste at

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