Do you know that Florida is home of a wide variety of interesting and cool animals? From the swamps to the reefs to the forests, Florida is has a diverse habitat. That’s why it is home to an eclectic mix of animals. You can see various animals in one day without traveling far.
If you’re an animal lover, then Florida is a perfect place for you to explore. However, be careful as there are some dangerous animals there. Be respectful to the environment too as some animals, such as black bear and Florida panther are in the status of under threat due to dwindling habitats.
Let’s check the complete list of the coolest native animals of Florida.
- West Indian Manatee
West Indian Manatee is the first coolest native animal of Florida. It is giant and gentle. Being referred to as sea cows, West Indian manatees act like cows as they graze on seagrass and you can find them in shallow, slow-moving rivers, saltwater bays, canals and coastal areas.
This species of manatees can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh 1000 pounds. They love warm water so that they can found in southern Florida waters and often migrate during winter to the Caribbean and northern coastline of Brazil.
- Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin
What a unique name! When you sit in the beaches of Florida and see dolphin fins in the distance, then you may also see them alongside the boat. These dolphins can be spotted all year round.
The best way to get close to them is by having an organized dolphin watching cruise, a dolphin swims program at an aquarium, or even at parks and sanctuaries from Northwest Florida to the Everglades.
Dolphins are friendly and playful animals and there is something so soothing about them. The best time to see them is around 10 a.m. to noon then 2 p.m. to dark. Oskaloosa Island Pier, Eglin Beach Park, Miramar Beach, and Henderson Beach State Park Dolphins are the best places to spot them.
- Florida Black Bear
The Florida black bear is the largest land animal living in Florida. It is mostly found in wooded areas during the month of May, June, July, August, and September.
Florida black bears are vegetarians as their main diet is made up of vegetation and they love honey too!
You can spot this bear in national Floridian parks, but it will be very rare. If you see one of them, then you can consider yourself to be very very lucky!
- Florida Panther
Florida panther is another rarest and endangered mammals in the world. It is commonly found in hardwood hammocks, pinelands, and mixed swamp forests of the Everglades.
Florida panthers are able to jump 15 feet vertically and 45 feet horizontally through territorial. There are only around 120 to 230 of them left in the wild. No wonder, seeing them in the wild is almost impossible. However, you can spot them in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Pelicans are not difficult to be found in Florida. You may even get one sitting next to you, waiting for you to feed it. Pelicans are considered funny, strange and odd. They are unafraid of humans, though they can often cause a bit of a nuisance. However, you will surely love them!
There are two types of pelicans in Florida: the brown pelicans and the American white pelicans. The brown pelicans are in Florida all year, while the American white pelicans migrate to Florida every winter. Know the reasons of migration of birds too.
- American Crocodile
American crocodile can be found only in the southernmost tip of Florida. If compared to its African and Australian counterparts, American crocodile tends to be much less aggressive. It has narrower snouts than alligators, but grows larger and is harder to come across.
American crocodiles prefer salt or brackish water. If you wish to meet them, you can visit Florida Everglades and Key Largo’s Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refugee.
Have you ever been confused about how alligators and crocodiles different? Read more about it in differences between crocodiles and alligators.
- Key Deer
Key deer can only be found in the Keys of southern Florida. They are only 2.5 feet tall and weigh around 90 pounds.
These deer and their habitat are protected by a lot of regulations, so please do not approach when you see it. You can simply visit them in the National Key Deer Refugee.
If you’re into deer, then you should know these most famous types of deers.
- Roseate Spoonbill
Do you love pink? Then this bird is perfect for you and you will surely love it! Roseate Spoonbills have a fuchsia body with a bright red shoulder patch. They also have a long and flat bill. You may see these birds in children’s storybook, but they are real!
This bird species doesn’t look like any other bird. During summer, you can find them throughout Florida and at other times, they are mostly in southern Florida.
The last but not the least, we have bobcat. If you love cat, then you will love bobcat for sure. Bobcats are twice the size of domestic house cats and have a bobbed tail. Don’t get tricked by the cuteness, be careful as these cats have razor-sharp teeth and powerful claws.
They are shy but they can be found often hunting for small rodents on deserted roads at dusk and dawn.