Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.

Florida Nature: Florida Mammals
In total, 97 species of mammals are known to inhabit, or recently to have inhabited, the state of Florida and its surrounding waters. This includes a few species, such as the Black-tailed Jackrabbit and Red Deer, that were introduced after the European colonization of the Americas. The dolphin is the state saltwater mammal, the Florida Panther is the state mammal and the manatee is the state marine mammal. For further information on Florida mammals, you may want to purchase a book from our Florida Nature Library.  Don't miss our "Florida Nature" slideshows set to music.

Florida's mammals are broken up into several groups. Rodents account for roughly one quarter of all species, followed closely by mammals from the Cetacea and Carnivora families. Click on the name of each mammal for complete information and photos.

Florida's diverse wildlife includes a number of large, predatory mammals known as carnivores. Carnivores are characterized by having teeth designed for tearing and consuming flesh. However, some carnivores, such as bears and coyotes, are omnivorous and eat both animal and plant material. Florida carnivores include: American Black Bear, American MinkBobcatsCoyoteFlorida Panther, Gray Fox & Red Fox Long-Tailed Weasel Northern River Otters, RaccoonsRed Wolves,  and Skunks.

Bats as a group are nocturnal; their eyes are small and inefficient, but their ears are usually well developed. Experiments suggest that the middle and inner ear and high-frequency vocals are highly important in guiding bats in flight and in their aerial feeding activities. Florida bats include: Big Brown Bat, Eastern Pipistrelle, Eastern Red Bat, Evening Bat, Gray Bat, Hoary Bat, Indiana Bat,  Jamaican Fruit Bat, Little Brown Bat, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Northern Long-eared Myotis, Northern Yellow Bat, Rafinesque's Big-Eared Bat, Seminole BatSilver-haired Bat, Southeastern Myotis, Velvety Free-tailed Bat, Wagner's Bonneted Bat.

Rodents are the single largest group of mammals.  Florida rodents include: squirrels including the Mexican Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, Southern Flying Squirrel, and the Eastern Gray Squirrel. Florida mice including the Cotton Mouse, Eastern Harvest Mouse, Florida Mouse, Golden Mouse, House Mouse, Oldfield Mouse. Rats in Florida include Black Rat, Brown Rat, Florida Woodrat, Hispid Cotton Rat, and the  Marsh Rice Rat. Other rodents in Florida include the American  Beaver, Capybara,  Coypu, Eastern Chipmunk. And our last section contains the Meadow Vole,  Round-tailed  Muskrat, Southeastern Pocket Gopher,  and the Woodland Vole.

Artiodactyla, or cloven-hoofed mammals, include such familiar animals as sheep, goats, camels, pigs, cows, deer, giraffes, and antelopes — most of the world's species of large land mammals are artiodactyls. Many living artiodactyls have evolved features that are adaptive for life on open grasslands. As beasts of burden and as sources of meat, hair, and leather, artiodactyls have assumed important roles in many cultures around the world. Florida artiodactyla include: Rabbits-Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Eastern Cottontail, Marsh Rabbit, Swamp Rabbit; Moles-Eastern Mole,  Star-nosed Mole; Shrews-North American Least Shrew, Southeastern Shrew, Southern Short-tailed Shrew; Deer-Key Deer, Sambar deer, White-tailed deer;  Other cloven hoofed Florida mammals include the Feral Pig Nine-banded Armadillo Rhesus Macaque, and the Virginia Opossum.

Florida marine mammals include the state marine mammal, the West  Indian Manatee. It was designated the state marine mammal in 1975 and is protected by federal and state laws. Of the several whales seen close to Florida, the most frequent visitor is the Atlantic Northern Right Whale. Named as such because they were the "right" whales to kill, their only known calving ground is located off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. Pregnant females migrate from feeding grounds located far north and deliver calves from mid December to March. The most common dolphin in the state is the Bottlenose Dolphin. Dolphins, like manatees, are vulnerable to red tide and have mass fatalities when one occurs. Dolphins were designated the Florida State Saltwater Mammal in 1975. Florida marine mammals include: Whales-Atlantic Northern Right Whale, Bryde's Whale, Cuvier's Beaked Whale, Fin Whale, Gervais' Beaked Whale, Humpback Whale, Minke Whale, Orca, Pygmy Sperm Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Sperm Whale, True's Beaked Whale; Dolphins-Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin,  Common DolphinRisso's Dolphin, Rough-toothed Dolphin,  Spinner Dolphin, Striped DolphinSeals- Caribbean Monk Seal, Common Seal,  Hooded Seal,  and the West Indian Manatee.

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