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Florida's Nature - Assorted Wild Animals

On this page - River Otter, Florida White-tailed Deer, Feral Pig, Bobcat, Raccoon

Florida White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus seminolus

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Pine flatwoods. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) forages in a Dry prairie.

One of three subspecies of White-tailed Deer found in Florida, a typical adult buck weighs about 125 lbs., the average doe is about 95 lbs., average adult height is about 36 inches at the shoulder.

The size of deer in Florida is mostly dependent on the nutritional quality of locally available forage, consisting of the leaves and newly developed tips of shrubs, berries, succulent green plants, grasses, acorns and aquatic plants.

Coloration ranges from light tan to dark brown with white inside the ears and on the throat, belly, rump, and the underside of the tail.

Habitat is largely dependent on the availability of food and water, though they prefer fairly open woodlands with a balance of grassland. Deer are most active in the early morning and again in the early evening around sundown, usually spending the remainder of the day in the dense cover of a thicket.

Feral Pig, Family - Suidae

Feral pig rooting

Damage to woodlands from Feral pigs rooting

This is one animal Florida could do without, however a statewide Feral pig population over 500,000 means they are probably here to stay.

Originally introduced by early Spanish explorers and since then by domesticated "escapees".

Feral pigs cause damage to everything from farm crops to Florida's natural flora & fauna, click the bottom photo at left to see an example of what a pig can do to woodlands, this marsh looks like it has been plowed.

Pigs will eat just about anything from young animals to carrion, a group of pigs can quickly clear an area of acorns, fruits and seeds that are needed by native animals - birds, Deer, and the Gopher tortoise are among the losers in this scenario.

In addition, wild pigs carry diseases and parasites that can be passed along to people or livestock and can be dangerous if surprised, cornered or have babies. Fortunately, for the most part feral pigs try to avoid human contact.

Wild hogs average between 100 and 200 pounds but can weigh close to 500 pounds, have razor sharp tusks and contrary to popular belief pigs can move fast and are surprisingly agile. 

Bobcat - Lynx rufus floridanus

Bobcat - Lynx rufus Pair of Bobcats

The Florida Bobcat is one of twelve sub-species of Bobcat in North America and is found throughout the state.

Adult Florida Bobcats are up to three feet long and usually do not weigh more than 35 pounds, although there are reports of animals weighing in at +/- fifty pounds.

Bobcats are at home in variety of habitat from flatwoods to swamp, using dense shrub thickets as den sites. Bobcats are territorial with a home range of around five square miles, males have a slightly larger range that usually overlaps the territory of more than one female.

Coloration in Bobcats is variable, they are generally yellowish-brown to grayish with spots. Their belly and chest are an off-white, yellowish color.

A Bobcats tail can be up to 18 inches long, this sometimes causes mis-identification because most people think they have only a stub or "bob tail".

Bobcats are excellent hunters and climbers and are strictly carnivores with a diet of small mammals and birds.

Raccoon - Procyon lotor

Raccoon - Procyon lotor

A Raccoon hunting at the waters edge.

The Raccoon is a very common inhabitant of Florida as well as most of the United States, Southern Canada and range as far south as the northern part of South America. About the size of a medium dog, adult Raccoons weigh up to 30 pounds and are 2 - 3 feet long, including a 10 inch tail. Color is grey and white with a black ringed tail and a black mask across the eyes, the white hair in many cases is more yellowish, all white or all black individuals are also possible. Raccoons are omnivores, eating insects, crayfish, eggs, small birds and rodents and any fruit or berries available. They have even been observed eating carrion.

Raccoons are solitary animals, the only real social bonds are between a female and her young. Babies are born in March and April and usually stay with their mother for around ten months. Raccoons are aggressive fighters, a mother will fiercely defend her babies from all perceived threats.

Raccoons may make a den in the cavity of a tree as high as 60 feet off the ground, a hollow log or in the burrow of another animal. Raccoons are excellent climbers and swimmers, although they avoid the latter if possible.

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