Fire Kills 'All Reptiles' at Florida Snake Enclosure

A fire broke out at a Florida animal park on Sunday morning, destroying a snake enclosure and killing all the animals inside.

The blaze at Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park is thought to have started after a heating device malfunctioned, co-owner of the park Sam Haught told Spectrum News.

"Unfortunately, none of the reptiles survived the fire," he said in an email. "It breaks our heart to lose these animals."

Fire crews from Osceola County Fire Rescue (OSCFR) and St. Cloud Fire Department responded to the incident at the attraction, extinguishing the fire at the snake enclosure before flames spread to other areas, OSCFR spokesperson Andrew Sullivan said.

The park is closed to the public on Sundays and so there were visitors a the site. While numerous reptiles were killed, no people were in injured in the blaze.

Despite the incident, Haught said the park plans to open as normal on Monday.

"We plan to rebuild and continue to provide a safe, educational experience for our guests," Haught said.

Wild Florida, located in Kenansville, features a Gator Park and a drive-through safari experience, while also providing airboat tours of the Everglades.

The park's mission statement is to "provide an unforgettable Everglades experience that promotes a connection with animals while inspiring education and conservation."

The Gator Park features more than 200 native and exotic animals, including alligators, zebras, sloths and lemurs.

The Everglades is a subtropical wetland ecosystem that stretches across two million acres of central and southern Florida.

This ecosystem is home to an array of wildlife and plants, including alligators, crocodiles, bottlenose dolphins, the rare Florida panther, more than 360 species of birds and around 30 species of snakes, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

The Everglades also provides crucial ecosystem services to humans, who live all around this region, including in the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. For example, the Everglades provides drinking water for around a third of Florida residents, as well as irrigation for far most of the state's farmland.

The ecosystem also helps to improve the state's water quality by filtering out pollutants. In addition, the Everglades also reduces the risk of flooding during storms.

But the Everglades has decreased dramatically in size in the face of agricultural and urban development, threatening the health of this ecosystem.

The Everglades is also threatened by numerous invasive plant and animals species, including the Burmese python, Cuban tree frogs, the Brazilian peppertree, Chinese privet, the broad-leaved paperbark tree or and Old World climbing fern.

A boa constrictor snake.
Stock image showing a boa constrictor. On Sunday, a fire broke out at a snake enclosure in Florida, killing "all the reptiles." iStock