Orlando Florida Wildlife





Florida with it's tropical/sub-tropical climate is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Some of them cute so not so friendly! The aim of this article is not to scaremonger or put you off visiting Florida but to give a balanced view of what is there. I can say though, in all the years I have been going to Florida I have only seen two snakes and they were soon caught and taken away. It is expected and understandable that these creatures will wander into our civilisation.


Mockingbird - Florida State BirdThere are many varieties of bird in Florida. The state bird is a Mockingbird. It is quite common to see Vultures, Eagles and Hummingbirds. If you venture to the coast you will come across Seagulls the size of large hens that will literally swoop down and steal the food off of your plate or out of your hand. I have seen quite a few times small children with Ice Creams lose them to the gulls. If you decide to picnic on the beach be prepared to do battle with them.

Brown Pelican - FloridaAlso at the coast you will see a large number of Pelicans. These are fascinating to watch as they swoop and dive vertically into the sea to get the fish. These birds have huge wing spans and will glide and soar above the ocean looking for their pray. Here is a list of Birds found in Florida.

Birds of Prey:
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Mississippi Kite, Snail Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Broad-winged Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, American Kestrel, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Burrowing Owl, Great Horned Owl, Screech Owl.

Other birds:
Black-hooded Parakeet, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Budgerigar, Canary-winged Parakeet, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Mitred Parakeet, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Eastern Towhee. Plus many more.

Water Birds:
American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull, Ring Billed Gull, Least Bittern, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Reddish Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great White Heron, Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Wood Stork, Sandhill Crane.

Above was just an abbreviated list and may not be found in all parts of Florida.

Animal Life.

The Florida Panther
The state animal is the Panther and they are quite difficult to spot. Partly because of there habitat being wooded areas and also because they are few in number. I understand there are less than 100 in Florida and are one of the most endangered animals on Earth. One of the biggest problems is all the building that has taken place over the last few decades. A male Panther has a roaming range of around 200 square miles and when these animals try to find new areas to roam they get involved with vehicles on newly built roads.

Females give birth to 1 to 4 cubs and it is rare that all the litter survive. The mating season is year round with a rise in Winter/Spring. The gestation period is around 90 days. The biggest population of panthers is in the Southern Most parts of Florida.

The Florida Bear.
Florida Black BearThe bears of Florida are one of 3 distinct species of the American Black Bear. Currently the five major populations are found in the Ocala, Apalachicola and Osceola National Forests in northern and Central Florida, the Eglin Air Force Base and Blackwater State Forest complex in the Florida panhandle and the Big Cypress Swamp in South Florida. There are believed to be somewhere in the region of 1500 bears in Florida from what was a population of 12,000. They have suffered the same fate as the Panthers with urban construction. There are estimated to be 50 bears a year killed on the roads and highways.

The Florida Black Bear is black with a brown snout. Some have a white flare on the neck. The average weight of a Florida Black Bear is 350 pounds and has a home range of around 66 square miles. No human has ever been killed by a Bear in Florida.

Raccoons & Other Critters.
Florida RaccoonRaccoons are found state wide in Florida in ever increasing numbers. They are smaller than their Northern cousins and are easily spotted. If you stay in a vacation home or villa the chances are you will see one as they tend to scavenge around bins etc looking for scraps of food. It is not uncommon on "bin days" where the bins have been out all night, to find the rubbish strewn all over the place. So if you do stay in a villa and put the bins out make sure the lid is attached. I have seen them walking on the pool cage roofs, these little guys look cute but they can certainly be a nuisance.

Florida ArmadilloThe Nine Banded Armadillo is quite common in Florida although they have not always been there. They have migrated South over the years. Although they are common they are difficult to see as they tend to live in certain areas and only come out at certain times of the days. You can often see them on the roadside after being involved with vehicles.

American Alligators are distinctly different from Crocodiles, the alligator has a more rounded shorter snout. They can grow very big weighing from 500 - 1000 pounds. The record for length was 19ft 2in. A more common size is around 13ft.

Florida AlligatorAlligators eat almost anything, but primarily consume fish, birds, turtles, mammals and amphibians. Hatchlings however are restricted to smaller prey items like invertebrates. Insects and larvae, snails, spiders and worms make-up a big portion of a hatchling's diet.

You can see alligators near water even in public areas such as Golf Courses and parks etc. It is illegal to feed alligators in Florida as this encourages them to not fear humans and they may associate humans with food! That you don't want! Alligators are capable of killing humans but generally are afraid enough to keep away. The tail is a powerful weapon and is capable of knocking you off of your feet and breaking bones.

Snakes and Other Crawlies.

Florida Resources