Florida Guide > Other Florida
Wildlife at Home
You don’t need to travel far to encounter wildlife in Florida. When we first looked at the plot for our villa, there were Sandhill Cranes around. Thankfully they stayed and I spent one of my most memorable times sitting quietly with them by the pond behind us. The two adults and their youngster were quite undisturbed by my presence and came right up to me. They are very large birds and I managed to get some great photos of them towering over me, quizzical expressions on their faces.
Another time we were sat by the pool when I announced to my husband that there was a gator in our pond! Having been told not to be so ridiculous I insisted he took a closer look and sure enough there was a young gator about three feet long in the water. Gators are extremely common in Florida, any reasonable sized body of water is bound to have one at some stage. This is nothing to get alarmed about. If you don’t bother them then they are unlikely to bother you, unless someone has been stupid enough to feed them. Areas gators are known to inhabit have warning signs. It is illegal to feed or harass them but they are fascinating to observe. We were very disappointed to discover on our next visit that he had disappeared as quickly as he came.
As wildlife lovers having a pond and so much conservation land around our villa is heaven. We always keep binoculars close to hand and in the mornings as we lie in bed we are entertained by squirrels and birds in the trees behind us. The frog chorus at certain times of the year from the pond can be very loud but we love hearing it. They can be in full noisy song when suddenly it’s as if a switch has been turned off and they all stop together, this for some reason amuses us no end!
The wildlife can be quite a nuisance on rubbish days though. We have to put our rubbish out the night before as it is collected around 6am. Racoons are experts at getting into bins, even the wheelie type with hinged lids. We know there are racoons around but I’m very disappointed we have never seen one around the villa. A friend said they saw one sitting on our drive but we’ve not been so lucky. We also get turkey vultures and other scavenger birds that will tear bin bags apart given half a chance.
If like us you’re interested in Florida’s flora and fauna we can recommend the ‘National Audubon Society Field Guide To Florida’. Through it we are gradually getting to know the names of all the new animals, birds and plants we come across. It is a compact but extremely comprehensive book. The clear colour photos make it easy to identify species. As well as having all the flora and fauna it also contains sections on topography and geology, habitats, conservation and ecology, weather, the night sky and a guide to the national parks and preserves.
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