Our gray fox is a member of the canine, or dog family, but acts like a cat! It weighs about as much as a house cat, 7-13 pounds, and hunts its prey by stalking just like our feline tabbies and kitties do. Gray foxes eat rodents, reptiles and even berries and fruit.
This spring, as we continue social distancing and staying at home as much as possible, many people are writing about the pleasure they’re finding in gardening. Some are life-long gardeners, others are finding connection to nature in planting seeds for the first time.
The Florida panther is Florida's official state animal and has been listed as a federally endangered species since 1967. Historically, the Florida panther roamed across the southeastern portion of the United States—all the way from Florida to Louisiana throughout the Gulf Coast states and Arkansas. Today the breeding population is limited to the southern tip of Florida.
Monarch butterflies have captured the imagination of many people and it’s easy to see why. Monarchs are big and bold. Their bright colors warn predators that the butterflies are poisonous to many. They are excellent fliers, with one generation flying up to thousands of miles to locations where they will overwinter.
Our wonderful native Florida black bear is a smaller version of the much more common Eastern black bear. Generally shy and reclusive unless protecting cubs, it has good eyesight up close and possibly the best sense of smell of all native animals.
As we try to stay safe at home, many families are looking for interesting and educational activities for kids. Even on days when we can get out to walk or play close to home there are still hours spent inside.
Besides the iconic Florida panther, our other native wild cat is the bobcat, named for its short, or “bobbed” tail, and exists only in North America. While the bobcat may look like a domestic cat, it is definitely a wild animal. Generally living a solitary existence, it uses its eyesight and excellent hearing to hunt for its food.
As many of us are staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may give us a chance to enjoy the natural world close at hand. The first bloom on a sunflower is a welcome sign of spring. Last week in our garden this mighty sunflower, already over 6 feet tall, produced its first flower.
Due to the coronavirus issue, it has been decided to cancel the Florida Wildlife Federation Annual Awards Banquet scheduled for June 6, 2020 at Hutchinson Island. The Awards Banquet is a tradition going back many, many years in which conservation leaders from across the state are recognized for their contributions to the protection of our natural resources. We plan to have the 2021 Awards Banquet next summer at the same location and with the same award winners.
Gopher tortoises are found in all 67 counties across Florida and have been on the planet for 60 million years!