Florida has wildlife in abundance, from the more famous of its residents – such as alligators, dolphins, manatees and turtles – through to some surprising ones, such as tortoises, deer, panthers and bears.
A list of species commonly found in Florida is below but you may want to look out for the more famous ones.
Pelicans – Get down by the coast and you will be unlucky not to spot them, these large pre-historic looking birds soar gracefully overhead sniffing out the slightest lift, or can be seen down skimming the water tops, then plunging in for a quick snack on a local fish.
Dolphins – keep an eye out to see, you will often see them a few hundred feet off shore, often closer. Generally just cruising along, sometimes fishing, and sometimes with their young which is a real treat.
Sea Turtles – Again down at the beach, you are more likely to see evidence of these rather than see a turtle itself, as these animals generally come out at night to lay their eggs. Many beaches have cordoned off turtle nests, often with the expected hatching date marked on a label. Get out for an early beach walk and you may well see the tracks where the adults have come out of the water, or on the way back in, possibly both.
Alligators – rarely seen to be honest and actually even when they are seen, you seldom see much of them. The large primarily lazy beasts prefer to sit and conserve energy. Should you see one in the open, stay away from it, and it will probably stay away from you :-).
Birds – yes, we have already mentioned the Pelican, but other notable birds you will see are Egrets, Blue Heron, Fish Eagles, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Buzzards in abundance, Blackbirds, Kestrel, Oyster Catcher, Cormorant and many, many more. For more information and identification you may want to visit this page
Geckos – Geckos are everywhere. For the avoidance of doubt, these are generally harmless, but leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Normally a few inches long and very light weight, you will see them on plants, walls and the ground. They do a lot of good too, feeding on the bugs that annoy the humans, including the mosquitoes, so Geckos really are your friends.
…yes, Florida has snakes too. Again generally very shy and more afraid of you than you are of them, should you see one, they generally pass by rather than bothering you, a process they would like to see from you.
As with customs, traditions, directions etc., it makes sense to find out about the environment you are visiting. Armed with the correct knowledge, Florida’s wildlife is fascinating, interesting and diverse, and you don’t need to be an Ecologist to find it mesmerizing. Wild Florida has a wealth of information about Florida and its wildlife, and whilst the wildlife is just that – Wild -, it is actually very adept at living with humans.
So please – respect our wildlife, find out, learn, and admire.