Not all of our Florida natives are photogenic. The purple bankclimber, a rare freshwater mussel, is an unglamorous inhabitant of only two river systems in Florida: the Apalachicola and the Ochlockonee, both in the Panhandle. It is a “bivalve” meaning it has two hard shell coverings with a soft interior and a hinge to open and close the shells.
A threatened species, the Gulf sturgeon is an ancient fish that grows up to eight feet long and weighs up to 300 pounds!
Water is an essential part of healthy wildlife habitats, including our gardens, yards and neighborhoods. When creating a backyard habitat it’s important to provide water along with food and cover. Many of us, while at home, have spent more time watching birds, planting native plants for food, maybe putting up bird feeders to provide an extra snack. Providing a birdbath brings even more birdwatching opportunities.
River otters seem to embody playfulness as they roll and chase and even wrestle each other in their aquatic habitats. Weighing between 11 and 30 pounds, otters have been in North America for almost two million years per fossil records.
One of our most beautiful amphibians, marbled salamanders live in North Florida and only grow to about four inches as adults. Their preferred habitats include damp woods and areas with soft, wet soil.
Florida Gulf Coast University's (FGCU) Wings of Hope Panther Posse program invites you and your whole family to participate in an online scavenger hunt!
All of the below snakes are often vibrantly colored, and you should consider yourself lucky to find any one of them in your backyard or out on a trail. If you’re unsure of the identity of a snake, the best course of action is to leave it alone! Each snake plays an important role in our ecosystems here in Florida, so we must always refrain from killing native snakes, even if we think they might be venomous.
The forage fish species on our coasts and seas, although small in size, are critical to the well-being of the entire saltwater food chain. Examples of forage fish are pinfish, mullet, menhaden and anchovies. Due to the importance of aquatic forage species, Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) remains an active member of the Forage Fish Coalition, an effort to bring needed attention and resources to the research and conservation of these often underappreciated and overlooked saltwater fish.
One of our state’s most iconic creatures is the alligator. This ancient species is estimated to have existed on the planet for 150-230 million years! That means they lived with the dinosaurs.
Florida has some wildlife species that only live here, and one of them is the Florida scrub jay.