Dangerous, Exotic And Famous Florida Animals That All Kids Will Love

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Jan 31, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit
American Alligator Swimming.

The Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Florida is one of the desired destinations that has rich flora and fauna.

Florida is filled with mammals, marine mammals, reptiles, marine creatures, native and non-native species. Some of the species can be dangerous, some are exotic and some are famous for their peculiar characteristics.

Stretching over 27147.6 sq mi (70,312 sq km), Florida is contemplated as the third most populous state of the United States. Wild animals in Florida are found in abundance and some of the species are facing threats due to climate change and habitat loss.

There are over 500 non-native species of animals.

There are approximately 99 or more mammal species, 142 native and 56 non-native amphibian species. The state of Florida even has its state animal, the 'Florida Panther' or 'Felis concolor coryi'.

The Florida Panther was voted by the students across Florida in 1982. Also, Florida’s state marine mammal is the West Indian manatee also known as ‘sea cows'.

Other marine mammals may include the Bottlenose dolphins, which are the largest beaked dolphin species, and whales such as the North Atlantic Right Whale, and Short-finned Pilot Whale.

Reptiles are also an important part of Florida state as it is a home for over 1 million American alligators. There are varieties of snakes and over 1500 crocodiles and some critically endangered species of turtles like the Leather-back sea turtles and Green-sea turtles.

Not only Florida has diverse mammals, reptiles, and aquatic creatures but also some extraordinary birds like the American flamingo, Snail kite, Peregrine eagle, Florida scrub jay. Climate change of the current world has made Snow buntings, snowy owls, razorbills, and few other new birds visit this state.

However, like many other species the Indian python, Green anacondas, African rock python was later introduced to southern Florida.

Apart from these species, the exotic species list of Florida includes the Burmese python, Indian peafowl, Peacock bass, Florida black bear, Florida panther, and many more. If you live in Florida you may be familiar with most of the state animals of Florida and if not then continue reading this article.

Please check our other articles on New Zealand animals and famous animals.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Florida

The wildlife of Florida will never fail to amaze because it has some of the most extraordinary yet dangerous animals. If you ever visit this state you will find that alligators and snakes are a common phenomenon. However, there are more dangerous animals in Florida than just these.

If you think that only big animals that roam free in the wildlife can scare you then you never came across the Brown recluse spider. This spider has medical significance in North America.

The most striking feature about this spider is that it can only see things above it because its eyes are over its head. This is a rare spider and can be spotted in secluded dark areas nevertheless the bite of this spider has a serious effect and can be fatal.

Unlike the Brown recluse spider, the Southern black widow is an extremely venomous spider.

It can be seen in broad daylight even in open areas away from wildlife. There are over 650 beaches in Florida that are being utilized by humans and Bull sharks can be a major threat to them.

They live in shallow water and are extremely aggressive, it is one of the most dangerous creatures and inspiration behind the movie ‘Jaws’. When we talk about dangerous animals in Florida we cannot forget about the American alligator.

The American alligator also called the Common alligator is approximately 11.2-15.1 ft (3.4-4.6 m).

It is Florida’s state reptile and other than in its natural habitat one can see them in the Springs state park along with other animals. Florida black bear is contemplated as Florida’s largest land animal, can also intimidate humans due to their size and aspect.

This was once under threat but now has recovered its conservation status. It can be seen in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park where it is protected under many laws.

Fascinating Wild Animals In Florida

If you ever visit Florida you will be amazed by the wildlife diversity that this state possesses. Apart from beaches, the state parks such as the Springs state park, Everglades National Park, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park have so much to offer. So let us learn about some of the fascinating wild animals in Florida.

The Southern Florida coast’s Key deer is the subspecies of the Virginia deer or the White-tailed deer. This White-tailed deer subspecies is exclusive to the Flora keys and is not found anywhere else.

It is very rare to spot one in the wild because it is an endangered species of deer. Identified for its small size and greyish to reddish-brown coat this deer can be very fascinating.

The nine-banded armadillo is another interesting animal that happens to be a mammal of medium size recognized for this peculiar armor, covering most of its body. The North-American otter is a mammal that tends to prey on fish primarily but also on freshwater mussels, clams, small turtles.

The most fascinating feature about them is their waterproof fur and fully webbed toes that make them one of the semiaquatic mammals. Besides mammals, other animals like the Leatherback sea turtle is another extraordinary sea creature.

The Leatherback turtle is a critically endangered turtle. It is the largest sea turtle and also the heaviest of all the non-crocodilian reptiles.

What makes it even more unusual is the absence of bony shells, unlike other turtles.

Instead of the body shell, it has leathery skin. The Leatherback turtle can maintain high body temperature and its metabolic rate is three times more than other reptiles of its size.

The Bottlenose dolphin is another marine mammal that can be found in temperate, tropical, or subtropical water. These dolphins approximately 6.6-13.1 ft (2-4 m) in length are incredibly intelligent.

The size of the brain of this dolphin is bigger than that of humans. This is also the largest beaked dolphin present in the world.

Florida is also the home of numerous different types of birds such as the Peregrine falcon that is the fastest bird in the world. Another bird of prey is the Bald eagle which is a sea eagle.

The name of this bird can be deceiving however it is not bald it has a white head. Florida scrub-jay, American white ibis, and roseate spoonbills are some of the birds which are also an important part of Florida’s wildlife.

The Most Famous Florida Animals

We all know that Florida is famous for its beaches, but some of the animals of Florida are also famous. Let’s read more about these famous animals in the state of Florida below.

Almost every state of North America has its official animal of the state and Florida has one too. The Florida panther is their official state animal.

The geographical range of this panther is limited to the premises of South Florida. Their favorable habitat incorporates the freshwater marshland forest and the closed canopy forest of tropical hardwood.

Florida panthers are primarily cougars of North America. It can be spotted in the Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Park, Picayune Strand State Forest, and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge where it is protected.

It can jump to a great height of 15 ft (4.5 m) vertically. In 1982 it was adapted by the state as its official animal.

Key deer is another Florida’s famous animal it is a subspecies of White-tailed deer. The key deer can swim between the isles and once found in the areas that comprise the lower region of Florida keys.

Currently, the range of the Key deer exists between Bahia Honda Key and Sugarloaf Key.

It is presumed that the Key deers came from the mainland to Florida during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode. The Florida black beer is a very famous animal.

These mammals were mainly found in Florida’s forested region. It is a subspecies of the Ursus americanus or the American black bear and is recognized for its size, brown muzzle, and shiny coat.

It is mostly shy but was once widely hunted during the bear hunting season. The Florida black bears are omnivores but mostly consume plants.

The West Indian Manatee is a unique aquatic mammal that can be spotted rarely in the shallow coastal areas due to its endangered status. These mammals are also tagged as sea cows and are principally herbivores and have four subspecies.

The American Flamingos are big species of flamingos are distributed across Florida keys and southern Florida. It is assumed that in the '50s these birds escaped from Hialeah Park and some of the flamingos were even native to Florida.

Bottlenose Dolphin in the sea.

Exotic Animals In Florida

Snakes, birds, alligators, bears, manatees enhance Florida’s wildlife. Florida has its native species but some of the exotic animals that can be found here are non-native as well.

Reptiles like the Burmese python is a native South-Asian snake it was introduced in South Florida perhaps during the '90s based on its observation in the Everglades National Park. It is contemplated as an invasive species because it largely preys on the native species and hampers the ecosystem.

It is a huge snake that can grow around 16 ft (5 m) and has brown patches all over its body.

The Veiled Chameleone is another invasive species native to Africa and was procured to the U.S in the pet trade. The Green Iguana was also brought in from South America.

It was first observed in 1960 and since then the population of this reptile has increased. The black and white Tegu is also known as the Argentina Black and White Tegu is another non-native reptile.

This is a large lizard and can grow as big as 5 ft (1.5 m).

As it is a non-native species it is not protected under the laws of Florida. Besides reptiles, fishes like the Peacock bass are exotic predatory fish that was introduced in Florida in 1984.

It is evaluated as game fish however, after its introduction in Florida this species became invasive and started hampering the ecosystem like most exotic reptiles.

The species of Cichlid called the Mayan cichlid was initially glimpsed in the Everglades Park in 1938 and now is it a common non-native fish that can be found in South Florida. The diurnal mammal that is native to South America and Mexico is the White-nosed coati, is closely related to raccoons.

It is an introduced species and is labeled as an ‘escaped captive’ in the Florida Museum of Natural History. It is presumed that the Vervet Monkey was introduced to the state of Florida in the '50s.

The Vervet Monkey which was once captured from Africa was brought to America for an experiment.

Later, it escaped the farm and started living in the mangrove forest of Florida. Mention should be made of other exotic species such as the Indian Peafowl, Tui Parakeet, Cane toad, Cuban tree frog, and Cane toad.

Native Animals To Florida

Florida has numerous native animals some of these are under threat due to habitat loss, or climate change, or invasive species.

The American alligator is one of the common species that you will come across if you ever visit Florida and their population of this species exceeds over one million. The American crocodile is only found in the southernmost region of Florida and even near Mexico.

This crocodile is widely distributed across Florida as it can inhibit salt water, fresh water, and even the sea. The West Indian Manatees are completely endemic to Florida.

However, these manatees are endangered because of several factors including climate change, toxic algae, and collision with boats. Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins are also endemic to Florida these are frequently trained to perform in parks.

The status of these dolphins is currently listed as of least concern and they can be seen all around the year. Unlike manatees, the Florida black bear is considered a recovered species.

Even though these bears also encounter collisions with vehicles but their population has recovered. Florida Panthers on the other hand are facing a major threat and are currently listed as critically endangered.

This native panther species is adopted as the state’s official animal and efforts are being made to recover their population. Other native species may include few birds such as the Pelican, Bald eagles, and Northern Cardinal.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for florida animals then why not take a look at animals in Hawaii, or pack animals.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Nishtha Dixit picture

Nishtha DixitBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Nishtha is an experienced SEO writer and editor, with a passion for writing and self-expression. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate major in Literature and Communication and a minor in Political Science from the University of Delhi. Nishtha has completed a certificate master course in English from the British Council and has been appointed as the editor for the bi-monthly magazine of the University of Delhi.

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