The subtropical weather, variety of forestry and access to water gives the animals of Florida places to live, eat and be protected. Florida has many animals that live in the waterways, coastal areas, on land and in the trees throughout the state. Some species of animals are native to the Florida area and are joined seasonally by those that migrate for the warmer climates.
Mammals can be found throughout the state, living near waterways, in the water and in forested areas. The most commonly seen mammals in Florida include deer, squirrels, armadillos and rabbits. The river otter can be found in freshwater streams and lakes throughout the state. Mammals that are found in coastal and inland waters include whales, dolphins and the Florida manatee. Other mammals found in Florida include bats, black bears, foxes, coyotes, skinks, pocket gophers and the Florida panther.
When one thinks of animals in Florida the American alligator comes to mind. However, alligators are not the only reptiles in the state. Other reptiles include the American crocodile, geckos, anoles, skinks and turtles. The green iguana as well as the ball python are not native to South Florida. Their population is exploding, however, as a direct result of the exotic pet trade. Between the months of March and October sea turtles make their way to Florida’s beaches to nest. Sea turtles found in Florida include loggerhead, green, hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley. There are also land turtles that are native to Florida, such as both the common and Florida snapping turtle.
In addition to the cold-blooded reptiles in Florida, there are many amphibians, including frogs, toads, sirens, salamanders, mudpuppies and newts. These aquatic land-loving animals include different varieties of toads, such as Fowler’s, oak and southern. The bufo-marinus toad, also called the bufo toad, is a non-native species that has overrun Florida's ponds. There are also different species of cricket frogs including northern, southern and Florida cricket frogs. The different types of tree frogs include pine barrens, bird-voiced, Cope’s gray, green, pinewoods, barking and squirrel. Other frogs in Florida include spring peeper, upland chorus, northern spring peeper and southern chorus.
The birds native to Florida are joined every winter by more than 450 different species of birds flying south for warmer weather. A common bird in Florida is the cormorant, which can be seen diving in the waters of lakes, lagoons and rivers searching for fish to eat. Other birds native to the state include osprey, brown pelican, great blue heron, great white egret, roseate spoonbill, American eagle, turkeys, raptor birds and different types of ducks.