Florida Wildlife - A Short Guide

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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Florida Wildlife - A Short Guide

Florida is home to a large variety of wildlife due to its tropical climate. Most people have heard about the alligators, but not many think about the other wildlife in Florida.

If you like wildlife you will usually be able to find it, whether that is at some of the great parks like SeaWorld, Animal Kingdom or Gatorland or at the wonderful nature reserves and natural parks.

If you go looking on your own be warned that many are protected species and are protected by law.

Here is some of the wildlife you may see in Florida:

Manatees
These are gentle mammals that live in fresh and sea water around Florida. They are a plant eater that must come to the surface to breath every three or four minutes. An adult manatee weighs around 1, 000 pounds and is about 10 feet long. Female manatees are very good mothers and will stay with their calves for up to two and a half years. These mammals are on the endangered species list and are protected by very strict laws in Florida.

Bears
Rare black bears are occasionally seen in the pine woodlands of central Florida’s Ocala National park, though wild turkeys and armadillos are more likely to be seen.

Raccoons
There is no mistaking a raccoon for any other animal. It’s stout, bear like body, prominent black mask and heavily furred, ringed tail are all distinctive. Adult raccoons are about 2 to 3 feet long and weigh anything from 10 to 30 pounds. Raccoons are almost never in danger of starving - especially in Florida's mild climate. Even in urban landscapes, raccoons manage to find plenty to eat. Although officially classified as a carnivore, the raccoon will eat almost anything! Although raccoons look nice they have a good bite so caution should be taken to avoid physical contact.

Snakes
There are 45 species of snakes found in Florida, but only 6 are listed as being venomous
Snakes like warm places and are active during the day. If you find a snake and you do not know whether or not it is venomous, the safest thing to do is leave it alone.

Bird
Vultures, bald eagle and cranes are just a few of the big birds found in Florida. The magnificent bald eagle with the white head and a wing span of 7ft has made some recovery over years with the help of protection laws. This bird loves to fly high in the sky and sore over homes. The way to tell an eagle from a vulture is by looking at the end of their wing. If they have spaces at the end of their wings then they are vultures, no spaces means they are eagles. The wild turkey is easily recognized by their coloured plumage and “beard.” The common Sand Hill Crane is grey with a red beak and eyes and is about 4ft tall. These are wadding birds.

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