Wildlife of the Florida Keys
Florida keys Wildlife – Wildlife here in the Keys is tropical, exotic, precious, and mysterious. Anyone visiting the Florida Keys from other parts of the US, excluding Hawaii, will find the creatures and flora to be exciting and very, very different from back home.
We get birds here that stop on their way to and from South America, and sea creatures you won’t find in the colder waters of the upper Atlantic. Some of our Keys creatures are simply transplanted, escaped exotic pets, like many of the iguanas here, and parrots as well. Some are native but endangered or rare, such as the roseate spoonbill.
Some of the creatures you’ll find here are magnificent-looking, such as the osprey, and some are tiny and strange-looking, such as the sea urchin or the man-o-war jellyfish. We have an amazing array of marine wildlife from impressive sailfish down to the curious sponge.
There are harassed creatures such as the green turtle, and abundant critters such as the chickens you’ll see throughout the Keys, but especially in Key West.
Sometimes there seem to be too many pelicans, according to most fishermen, and sometimes Key West can seem overrun with cats. But it also seems that at one time or another, almost all of the types of wildlife in the Florida Keys and its surrounding waters were at point exploited, depleted, or harassed.
This is an island culture, and all natural resources are fragile. The onset of human civilization played a harsh role in the history of wildlife and plants in the Florida Keys. Luckily, there are numerous laws and protections in place these days for both marine life, land creatures, and plants.
The Florida Keys are a subtropical climate which means, among other things, that it’s warm all year. Plants grow abundantly and flowers are large and colorful, compared with many of the temperate-zone plants and flowers you may be used to if you’re from more northern parts of the world.
On your visit to the Keys, be ready for eye-popping color in the most unexpected places. Fuscia blossoms spill over white picket fences on quiet city lanes. Bouquets with all the colors of the famous Keys sunset adorn restaurant tables. Even the water, on the reef, you’ll find exciting explosions of color in the various forms of coral.
While vacation brochures for the Florida Keys will tell you about diving, snorkeling, fishing, or getting married on the beach, they seem to overlook what’s often taken for granted. That’s the wildlife and plants of the Florida Keys, which are exotic and beautiful enough to fill an entire vacation.
While you’re here in the Keys, take a moment here and there and take stock of your surroundings. Examine the ground, the sea, the sky above you and check out the original residents of these islands. If you are intrigued, you can find out more while you’re here by taking a nature tour or visiting an attraction such as the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center oustide of Key Largo, for instance. Or you can simply visit a nearby park or beach and observe who shows up!