Opossum, raccoon, even an occasional armadillo or two; Florida drivers have seen it all, but now state wildlife officials are warning them to be on the lookout for the rare Florida Panther.

Not so long ago Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials estimated there were fewer than 50 of the endangered species left to roam the scrub and swamps of the Sunshine State. But in just a few a couple short decades the Florida Panther has made a stunning recovery. Well, stunning might be a stretch, but let’s say that there are enough these rare (and still endangered) animals left in the wild that at least a dozen or so are killed every year on Florida roads.

The FFWCC wants drivers to slow down and use caution any time they are in areas where these elusive panthers are known to live and breed, especially during breeding season. The animals are known to be active at night and because of their small size and camouflage they are notoriously difficult for drivers to spot and evade. The best way to avoid these creatures is to expect the unexpected and slow down if you are in an area where Panthers are present.

Defensive drivers know that when confronted with an animal in the road they must resist the urge to swerve for fear of colliding with another vehicle, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t use caution when in an area where animals are likely to be present. Although t might seem unlikely an animal might cause damage to your vehicle, it is possible. In fact, colliding with an animal in the roadway might not only damage your vehicle, but could cause you to lose control and have an unexpected collision.

If you’re driving in Florida do yourself and the panthers a favor and just slow down.