Florida is home to a diverse array of wild animals. They come in all shapes and sizes, from big and furry to small and slimy. They can be familiar and friendly or elusive and majestic. The presence of these creatures and their habitats make Florida one of the most fascinating biospheres to explore. No matter how or where in Florida you venture off the beaten path in search of natural wonders, keep on the lookout for these amazing animals.
Perhaps one of the most famous wild residents of Florida is the panther. These mysterious creatures have been designated an endangered subspecies since 1967, because of the very few wild panthers that still roam the Florida wilds. If you catch a glimpse of one, you should count yourself as one truly accomplished explorer. These tan-colored, stealthy cats are shy and reclusive, hanging out in dense ground vegetation such as forests, marsh shrub swamps, and prairie grasslands.
Florida is an epicenter of Bald Eagle nesting activity. This national symbol frequents Florida’s lake, river, and coastal areas – wherever there are suitable nesting places and plenty of fish. A large, dark brown bird with a striking white head and a large, hooked beak, Bald Eagles are most plentiful around Florida’s inland rivers and lakes and along the Gulf Coast. If you find yourself surrounded by big, tall trees near shallow water, be sure to have a lookout for these majestic raptors.
If you find yourself near a pond, lake, river, or wetland in Florida, be aware that an alligator may be nearby. These large reptiles love to lurk beneath the waters and stroll along the banks of Florida’s inland waterways. If you encounter an alligator, you’ll know it by its size of 10+ feet, its dark green and grey color, and its huge, rounded snout. Even though they look sluggish, alligators can be unpredictable. If you see one, keep your distance but don’t forget to take time to marvel at this prehistoric wonder.
Florida’s lush wetlands are home to a wide array of salamander species. These little amphibians hide under leaves and dart around streams in wetland environments. The rich variety of species that live in Florida means there are many kinds, colors, and sizes of salamander to spot. From Mudpuppies to Newts, Sirens to Giants, these colorful, slimy little denizens of Florida make a fun discovery if observed in their natural habitat and left undisturbed.
Florida is an ideal habitat for a wide range of sea and land turtles. The varied climate and access to land and sea allow for lots of turtle species to thrive. The Gopher tortoise digs sandy burrows amid grassy, open plains. The Alligator Snapping turtle lurks in murky marshes, snapping up fish that pass by. Softshell turtles glide through lakes and ponds. Cooters swim up rivers and wade in muddy banks. And sea turtles arrive from journeys in the deep ocean to surf the waves and glide in the shallow waters of Florida’s coastlines, bays, and estuaries.
Florida is Full of Wildlife
Florida is one of the most diverse biospheres in America. From semi-arid savannas to sunny beaches, murky swamps to ghostly groves, thick forests to fertile grasslands, there are many varied locations to explore and adventures to be had. Whenever you venture into the wilderness of Florida, you will have an amazing encounter with some type of wild animal. You just need to be aware of their presence and keep your wits about you as the experience unfolds.
Justin always have the love of adventure and animals. It’s hard to count how many safaris he had visited and that includes Africa. Currently, he lives in Florida and works as a freelance photographer.