Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals Home Rental's Florida Wildlife Guide

Florida Wildlife Guide

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One of the great things about visiting Florida is experiencing an eco-system completely different from the world that most of our visitors are from. We thought it would be fun to include a Wildlife Guide to help you identify what type of animal you might see, as well as the dos and donts of being a stellar visitor. We want to ensure that we protect the area, that gives so much joy to us, for generations to come. 

 

Have fun exploring Anna Maria Island's Wildlife!

Two manatees in Gulf of Mexico
Manatee

Manatees live in the coastal areas, rivers and canals of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean

 

Manatees are sometimes called Sea Cows since they are slow-moving herbivores. They can grow up to 12 feet long and are really pudgy and fat! They can weigh up to 1,210 lbs. These mammals have paddle-like flippers that help propel them through the water to grassy areas where they like to eat. They also live in the protected canal systems in the area of Anna Maria Island. Mangroves are another favourite food of the manatee.

 

The manatee is an endangered species. The oldest manatee on record is "Snooty", who lives at the South Florida Museum in nearby Bradenton. He was born in captivity on July 21, 1948 and raised by humans. He is often found with another rescued manatee who is recovering before being released back into the wild.

 

Manatees spend up to 50% of the day sleeping. Boaters must take special care to move slowly through the canal systems and grassy areas to avoid striking a slow moving manatee.You can view our live manatee webcam by CLICKING HERE

 

Anna Maria Island Home Rental is proud to be a Steward Member of Save the Manatee Club

Bottlenose Dolphin 

Lives year round on the Gulf Coast and in Anna Maria Island area

 

Bottlenose Dolphins are the most common in the area of Anna Maria Island and are a true delight to watch while on vacation. They vary in colour from dark grey on top to white underbellies. They are 6 to 13 feet long when fully grown. Adult males live mostly alone or in groups of 2 to 3. The largest pod we have seen in our area is about 10. 

 

The pods in our area are known as the Sarasota Bay dolphin pod and are the longest researched dolphins in the world. They love to eat mullet, tuna, and mackerel. When they hunt as a group, they will use the shore and canal walls to herd fish and trap them.

 

There are no wild dolphin, swimming encounters in the Anna Maria Island area. It is illegal to harass, feed or touch dolphins. They can mistake your hand for a fish and bite! 

You can, however, take a dolphin sightseeing tour or allow a curious dolphin to approach your boat. Alternatively, you cannot approach a dolphin, boaters must keep 50 yards away.

American White Pelicans near Cortez, Florida
American White Pelican 

Breeds in the interior USA

Winters in Florida, Central and South America

 

The American White Pelican is very similar to our Brown Pelicans that you see year-round in Florida, but it is slightly larger in size. Its overall length is about 50–70 because of its huge beak. It has the second largest wingspan of any North American bird, about 95–120 in. Their lifespan averages 16 years. its They prefer the bays, inlets and brackish water to the ocean. It doesn't dive for its food like the brown pelican. It catches its food while swimming. Our photo shows them just off of Cortez village, next to the fishing cannery where they can get an easy meal. 

 

The American White Pelican is a protected bird by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

Roseate Spoonbill 

Breeds in Gulf Coast, Caribbean,  Mexico, Central and South America

 

The Roseate Spoonbill is a wading bird similar to the Ibis. Their pink colour ranges from magenta to light pink and is related to their age and location. The more young they are the lighter coloured, pink their feathers are. You can find the Roseate Spoonbill feeding in shallow water by swinging its beak side to side in the mud and sand, looking for shrimp and other crustaceans, frogs, insects and very small fish. 

 

It often nests in mangroves in our area as well as other types of shrubbery. It lays from 2 to 5 eggs at a time. A mature adult can weigh between 2.5 to 4 lb.

Two Roseate Spoonbills roosting in a Florida tree

Statistics and facts source Wikipedia

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