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Enjoying Florida's Wildlife

by NANCY SCHILD 07/18/2021

 Photo by Paul Brennan via Pixabay

To live in Florida is to live closer to nature than you ever may have imagined. For life-long Florida residents, this is something that you grow accustomed to rather young, but for those who move into the state later in adulthood, learning to expect the sight of a lizard in the bathroom or a frog jumping into your foyer as you open the door for the Sunday paper are experiences that may seem a bit odd and even frightening, especially at first.

Part of loving nature is loving the immense variety of Florida wildlife that lives right among the rest of the Florida residents.

If you are an animal lover, then Florida may be the right place to call your home. There are some incredible resources in the Jacksonville area alone to help you get to know incredible animals—some of whom you may not realize are living in your own backyard. For example:

  • The Catty Shack Ranch is an incredibly unique animal rescue shelter on the Northside of Jacksonville, not too far from the Trout River area and the Jacksonville Zoo. It is home to wild cats that are native to Florida, including the Florida Panther. A visit to the Catty Shack includes the chance to watch the cats at feeding time, which is sure to include plenty of roars.
  • White Oak Plantation is another unique experience that gives you the chance to get up close and personal with incredible animals, some of whom are also native to Florida. The plantation has large animals including the rhinoceros and a family of giraffes, as well.
  • While meeting a gator in the open may be terrifying, zip-lining over a family of gators is just plain-old Florida-style fun. The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine is a unique trip for kids and adults, and the zip-line is just not-scary enough to make it the perfect day-trip for the whole family.

In addition to the abundance of opportunities for animal lovers to have face to face encounters with exciting wildlife, the Northeast Florida area is home to pristine trails that are ideal for taking the dog out for an enjoyable walk, state parks that are perfect for going bird watching and open water areas that make it easy to spot dolphins or even manatees at play.  Living in Florida means being open to sharing our space with all of these beautiful and majestic creatures.

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