Florida Wildlife You Can Expect to See on Your Next Visit to Siesta Key

Florida’s year-round sunshine, sandy beaches, and tropical seas make it an ideal vacation destination. But humans aren’t the only ones attracted to Siesta Key’s climate! Lush green flora and fauna offer optimal living conditions for a wide variety of animal species. Florida has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the country!

While visiting Florida, and more specifically Siesta Key, you can expect to see a whole host of wild critters. From exotic bird species to sea creatures and elusive land mammals, Florida truly has it all.

Land Animals

Armadillo

Renowned for their scaley armor and dinosaur-like appearance, armadillos are one of the most unique Siesta Key animals. Thousands of years ago, they used to stand 3-feet tall and weigh 600 pounds! They prefer temperate climates because they lack fur and can often be found burrowing underground for protection from extreme cold or heat. Myakka River State Park is home to families of armadillos and a great place to see their babies!

Butterflies

Florida boasts more than 160 butterfly species that live and breed in-state. Many of these species are unique to Florida. Another 200 species are reported to migrate through. While you can see butterflies almost anywhere, there are a few great spots to see them in large groups, such as the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

While the following animals are less prevalent in the Siesta Key area, significant populations can be found in parks and preserves that make great day trips from the Sarasota area. They represent some of the best of Florida wildlife!

florida black bear

Florida Black Bear

You might be wondering, don’t bears live in colder climates? Usually, yes, but they can also be found in sunny Florida. Interestingly, their fur becomes lighter as temperatures increase, so you are more likely to see brown bears than black ones here. Wekiwa Springs State Park near Orlando has a significant population. May through September are the best times to spot them.

Florida Panther

The Florida Panther is one of the rarest and most endangered mammals in the world, so catching sight of one really is something special. They are active at night and rest during the day and are most likely to be found in pinelands and mixed swamp forests in the Florida Everglades. Visit the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park or Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge for the chance to see one.

Bobcat

These shy and elusive cats frequent woody and grassy areas, but if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of them along deserted roads at dawn or dusk. December through April are the best times of year to spot them in places like St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Key Deer

While deer can be seen in almost any state, the key deer is unique to Southern Florida. This subspecies of the white-tailed deer is very tiny, they weigh just 90 pounds. Only 700 to 800 of them live in the wild, and most of them can be found at the National Key Deer Refuge.

Water Animals

Florida’s calm, turquoise waters provide the perfect habitat for many aquatic species. You can take boat tours, go snorkeling, or even comb the beaches to see these extraordinary creatures! All of these animals can be found in Siesta Key.

Turtles

Flipper prints in the sand are a real treat to see. Even more impressive is catching a glimpse of one of these magnificent creatures nesting and laying eggs! There are a total of six turtle species that reside in Florida. Unfortunately, all of them are endangered – especially the loggerhead turtle. This fantastic creature spends almost its entire life in the water! Catching these turtles in one of their rare terrestrial moments is a treat indeed, and fortunately, they are one of Siesta Key’s beach animals, known to nest right on its shores. Green turtles are another common species in the area. The best time to see nesting sea turtles is between May and the beginning of October.

Alligators & Crocodiles

Of course, what is a trip to Florida without spotting some good old ‘gators! Both alligators and crocodiles reside in the Sunshine State, and it is the only place in the world where they live side by side. Alligators are much more common between the two of them, with about 1.3 million of them in total! They prefer fresh water and so your best to see them is in swamps, lakes, rivers, and canals. Everglades National Park and Big Cypress Preserve are great places to see these giant reptiles.

Manatees

Florida’s beloved “sea cow” is truly emblematic of the state. These gentle sea creatures have no organs for breathing underwater, so they live in very shallow waters. They are incredibly docile, and you can even swim alongside them. Unfortunately, their numbers have dwindled due to human activity, but recent conservation efforts have seen manatees making a comeback. From Siesta Key, it is easy to take a day trip to view these magnificent creatures. During the summer months, manatees move further north to escape the heat. You will find hundreds of these beautiful creatures in Crystal River.

Dolphins

For many, it would be a dream come true to see a dolphin splash alongside your boat. Well, this dream is often a reality in Florida! Both the bottlenose dolphin and the common dolphin frequent these coastal waters, and there is an abundance of dolphin tours in the Siesta Key area that will take you to all the right spots to see them. They are naturally playful creatures and can often be spotted putting on a show!

Exotic Birds

Every year, hundreds of migratory species pass through Florida during spring and summer. Many stunning species are also year-round residents, including the unmistakable pink Roseate Spoonbill, which can often be seen wading shores in search of a meal. Other common species include the American white ibis, great blue heron, and brown pelican. You are guaranteed to spot these shorebirds while at the beach!

Plan Your Next Visit

While staying in the Siesta Key area, treat yourself to the very best beach experience. Our Siesta Key condo rentals provide all the comforts of home plus luxurious amenities that are sure to help you relax and unwind after exploring the Florida wilderness.

Wildlife Parks/ Spots to Visit

Alone, you may not know the best place to spot Siesta Key wildlife, so here are some of the best parks, refuges, and tours to see them.

Myakka River State Park

Located in Sarasota, this park comprises 58 square miles of wetlands and woodlands. Trek across a wildlife viewing boardwalk stretched over the Upper Myakka Lake for a glimpse of all kinds of birds and critters, including the armadillo and alligator.

Kayak Eco Tours from Siesta Key Bike and Kayak

Adventurers will delight this wilderness tour. It takes you through the shallow lagoons and grass flats in protected waters to encounter the iconic manatee and bottlenose dolphins that call this place home.

Siesta Key Watersports Dolphin Watch

This dolphin tour takes you right up close and personal to see dolphins frolicking in waters near Siesta Key. Sometimes visitors are fortunate to see the entire pod swimming together and playing!

Mote Marine Aquarium

While these animals aren’t technically in the wild, the Mote Marine Aquarium provides a comprehensive look at most marine species native to Siesta Key’s waters. It is a fun and educational experience for all and worth a day trip!


Our Location

Crystal Sands Condominiums
6300 Midnight Pass Road
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Toll-Free: 888-419-1446
Local: 941-349-7007

Fax: 941-346-1963

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