Cover image for illustrative purposes\nFrom alligators to disease-carrying mosquitoes, Florida wildlife is scary enough as it is. Nicknamed “The Australia of America,” we locals can hardly deny the moniker. This summer seemed to be an especially threatening season with rabies cases in Orlando on the rise.\nEven Disney was not safe from the disease. In July, a portion of Disney’s Epcot theme park had to be closed off to the public due to a feral cat tested positive for rabies. Officials feared the cat may have been in contact with and infected other animals, and the alert lasted for 60 days.\nView this post on Instagram Forgive me but I’m going to spam pics I took at Disney. I took so many. Lol I love pic that I took of the ball at Epcot. #waltdisneyworld #disneyworld #disney #orlando #disneytrip #epcot #wdw #ball #spaceshipearth #vacation A post shared by - Jeanette - (@jeanette2150__) on Oct 11, 2019 at 5:57am PDT\nTwo Disney cast members had been scratched by a cat who was a confirmed carrier, and after seeking medical treatment, they did not contract the disease.\nOnly a month after the year began, there were already over a dozen rabies cases confirmed in Florida, and they continue to be on the rise. In late August, there were two separate accounts of people being exposed to infected raccoons in Lake County.\nView this post on Instagram I now have lock jaw. #raccoon #racoon #pet #love #mtoxins #mtoxinsvenomlab #licensed #educationalanimal #rabies #michaelscottmeredithpalmerrunraceforthecure A post shared by Nathaniel Frank (@mtoxins_venom_lab) on Oct 6, 2019 at 1:36pm PDT\nRabies is a potentially fatal disease and can be transmitted through exposure to saliva or nervous tissue from an infected animal through a bite, scratch, or contact with mucous membranes around the eyes, nose, or mouth.\nFlorida Department Of Health\nThough signs are slightly different in each animal, generally rabies can be identified if an animal’s behavior is differing greatly from its norm. Excessive irritability, excitedness, or aggressiveness, dripping or frothy salivation are just a few tell-tale signs.\nAnother thing to watch out for is strange behavior in normally nocturnal animals that are out during the day.\nThe best way to avoid being infected is to not handle wild animals or feral animals, and if you do come in contact with animal within an alert zone, seek medical attention and contact Orange County Animal Services on (407) 254-9150.\nIn more lighthearted animal news, check out this farm where you can cuddle alpacas, and this new cat cafe opening in Orlando.