30
Jun

What Animals are Native to Florida

Walt Disney World located in Orlando, Florida is one reason why many people include this place in their travel bucket list. If you are one of them, let’s make your trip to Florida one for the books. Also called the Sunshine State, Florida is home to many beautiful beaches. There are more things to see and do than just a beach trip or Disneyland. Ready for some adventure? Let’s explore the beauty of Florida.

Florida, with its dynamic environment, is a place rich in biodiversity. This means that there are a lot of different life forms, like plants and animals to see here. If you’re more for the wildlife, there are a lot of endemic animals as well.

Florida’s Wildlife

What animals are native to Florida? Animals that are native and can only be seen in certain places are called endemic. Florida is among the top five with the most endemic species in the United States, with 269 animal species, including birds and reptiles.

But not everything is rainbows and butterflies here in Florida. Sadly, the state also belongs to the top five states at high risk of some animal species extinction. So the best time to travel and see the animals is now. Seeing them in books and videos may be good, but seeing them for real will always be better. Here are some of the animals native to Florida that will surely excite you to come to visit.

Birds

There are more than 500 species of birds in Florida and here are some of the most popular ones.

Grasshopper Sparrows. The little birds can only be seen in Florida’s dry prairies. Due to this exclusive dependence on their habitat, they became highly endangered when most of Florida’s dry prairies were destroyed. In 2019, there were only less than 80 left in the wild. Conservation efforts through captive breeding, nest protection, habitat management, etc., show great hope in saving the species.

Limpkins. The cranes’ relatives are common in Florida but can mostly be seen near marshes, wetlands and freshwater lakes due to vegetation and their love for apple snails. Male and female limpkins look the same. They are called limpkins because of how they catch their prey, slowly step-pause wading like a limping motion. Although they are hard to miss being two feet tall, they are good at camouflage.

Snail Kites. They are in the same family as hawks and eagles and measure 17 inches tall. With their name, it’s a giveaway that they only eat apple snails. They can be found near freshwater wetlands. Snail Kites are easy to identify with their deeply curved yellow-orange beaks with pointed black tips. Hunting by sight, they can mostly be seen on high branches with access to water and vegetation. They scan the area from above for apple snails then swoop and grab them with one leg before going back to their perches.

Florida Scrub Jay. Blue jays’ smaller cousins, they can only be seen in scrub oak areas living in groups. They love hopping in branches of shrubs and oaks or gathering to find acorns and insects for food. They are not hard to spot, especially if you are in their natural habitat. They are a group of noisy, blue birds that are not shy around humans.

Reptiles

Florida is also one of the best places to see various turtles, alligators, lizards, snakes and crocodiles.

American Alligators and Crocodiles. American Alligators are Florida’s official state reptile, representing its wilderness and swamplands. You can identify alligators from crocodiles with their rounded U-snouts, while crocodiles have more pointed V-snouts.

Florida Worm Lizards. Did you know that Florida has 17 native species of lizards? One of them is this legless lizard that very much looks like an earthworm but is pink. They are so similar even with their lifestyle, spending their whole life underground, preying on termites and other small insects. But unlike worms, the Florida Worm Lizards have jaws and dry and rough scales.

Diamondback Rattlesnakes.There are 46 species of snakes in Florida wherein six are venomous. The Diamondback Rattlesnakes are the most feared of all. Aside from being the biggest of the rattlesnake species, they are also known for their extremely painful bites. Their venom, called hemotoxin, can also kill humans.

Other Wildlife

Florida’s wildlife has so much to offer. Here are some of the animals to check out when you visit Florida.

Cats. Florida has two native cats, the Florida Panther and Bobcats . Bobcats are usually twice the size of an average house cat, growing between 2-4 feet. Panthers are bigger than bobcats, growing at 5-7 feet long.

Rabbits. Marsh Rabbits and Eastern Cottontails are the only species of rabbits in Florida. Marsh rabbits are slightly smaller than cottontails, darker brown in color, and have coarser hair. They are strong swimmers and are found closer to water, living near wet prairies, flooded fields and marshes. Cottontails, on the other hand, live in shrubby landscapes and meadows.

Key Deers. These are currently included in the list of endangered species, with around 600 deers left in the wild due to hunting and habitat loss. A subspecies of the White-Tailed Deer, they are mostly found in Big Pine Key.

Time is ticking. The constant pressure of urbanization, illegal hunting and habitat loss are putting the animals in danger. Know how you can become a responsible citizen. Read more about animals and how you can protect them. To further appreciate the wildlife, you can join Swamp Fever Adventures. Take a closer look at their ecosystem, and be a catalyst for positive change. Call us at +1 352 643 0708.