The fact that the mascot for the University of Florida is the gator says much about the importance of this prehistoric species to Florida's personality. The Everglades are home to many of Florida's alligators, but they can be found throughout the state. These animals are ecologically essential to the state--they are responsible for digging holes that become an oasis of water for birds and other animals.
The Florida panther is one of the subspecies of cats also known as pumas, mountain lions and cougars. Florida's largest undomesticated cat is one of the most endangered animals in the country. Estimates are that fewer than 100 breeding Florida panthers still exist.
The manatee is Florida's official state marine mammal. Oddly, is it actually related to the elephant. You are very likely to come across a manatee in Florida's coastal waters during the winter months before they migrate north. The manatee is very friendly, and its personality leads to unintentional conflict with humans. Almost every manatee bears scars of a run-in with a boat, so the state urges you to be on the lookout for manatees when boating in their habitat.
Walk onto a fishing pier just about anywhere in Florida and you will see these large-mouthed birds. Both the brown pelican and the American white pelican will be found foraging around inland lakes and the coast. Watch a pelican in flight and eventually you'll be treated to the spectacle of it diving down into the water and coming up with a fish.
Florida's key deer is a very small member of this animal group, with an average weight of only around 60 pounds for a full-grown male. Key deer are not found throughout the state and mostly located in Monroe County and the Lower Keys. The best place to see key deer are islands that have a permanent supply of fresh water. The loss of habitat due to development has severely depopulated the once robust number of key deer in Florida.
Article Written By Timothy Sexton
Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.