Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.

Florida Nature: Endangered Mammals (3)
Big Cypress fox squirrel found in FloridaBig Cypress Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger avicennia) Threatened- Fox squirrels may have earned their name from their gray and red fur coat that resemble that of a gray fox, from their comparatively large size and thick bushy tail, and/or from peculiar way of running along the ground which gives the appearance of a small fox. The Big Cypress Fox Squirrel is found from the Caloosahatchee River in Lee county south and then east to the southern part of Dade county. Contrary to two common names sometimes given to the Big Cypress Fox Squirrel -- Mangrove Fox Squirrel and Everglades Fox Squirrel -- it is not common in either mangrove or Everglades habitats. It is most common in open pinelands, live oak forests, and stands of bigger bald cypress.

Sherman fox squirrel found in FloridaSherman’s Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani) SSC- The Sherman fox squirrel is found in peninsular Florida to the north end of Lake Okeechobee. Its preferred habitat is pine forests of longleaf pine or South Florida slash pine, where it eats pine seeds and acorns. The Sherman fox squirrel is rarely seen in urban areas. Fox squirrels weigh from one to three pounds, and exhibit color variations which range from a buff color to gray, and in some instances black. The under parts are usually lighter, and typical specimens have white noses with black faces and feet. They are noted for their long, bushy tails and for their strong hind legs which allows them to leap easily from place to place.

eastern chipmunk found in areas of FloridaEastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) SSC- The eastern chipmunk has reddish-brown fur on its back and sides and white fur on its stomach. It has two white stripes bordered by black on its sides and one black stripe on the center of its back. The eastern chipmunk has light stripes above and below its eyes and it has pouched cheeks that it uses to store and carry food. Most of the eastern chipmunk's diet is made up of  nuts, acorns, seeds, mushrooms, fruits, berries and corn. It also eats insects, bird eggs, snails and small mammals like young mice. The eastern chipmunk lives in open deciduous forests and at the edges of woodlands. It can also be found in bushy areas and in rocky areas like walls near houses and other buildings. Eastern chipmunks are also very vocal and can be heard chattering as they gather food. In fact, they get their name chipmunk from the "chip-chip" sound that they make!

silver rice rat found in the florida keys and currently an endangered speciesSilver Rice Rat ( Oryzomys argentatus) Endangered- Silver rice rat occupy wetland areas on 12 islands in the lower Florida Keys. The silver rice rat is of generalized rat-like appearance, with a slender skull and coarse fur which is colored silver-gray along its back. This rat has a sparsely-haired tail and reaches 250 millimeters (10 inches) in total length. The silver rice rat differs from the more common marsh rice rat by its rarity, larger body size, lower fecundity, and larger home range size. Populations of these rice rats are found at extremely low densities on 12 islands in the Lower Keys and were listed as endangered primarily because their wetland habitat had been destroyed by residential and commercial construction activities.

key largo wood rat an endangered mammal in FloridaKey Largo Woodrat
(Neotoma floridana smalli) Endangered- The Key Largo woodrat is found in the tropical hardwood hammocks of Key Largo, Florida. Currently, we estimate less than 100 woodrats exist throughout their range .Scientists aren't sure what's caused the population crash of the endangered Key Largo Wood rat. The color of the Key Largo woodrat is described as sepia or grey-brown above shading into cinnamon on the sides, with cream or white ventral coloration. The forefeet are white to the wrist and the hind feet are primarily white to the ankles. The Key Largo woodrat has large ears, protuberant eyes, and a hairy tail. The head-and-body-length of the Key Largo woodrat ranges from 120 to 230 mm,  and their tail length ranges from 130 to 190 mm. Males, on average, weigh 258 g, while the females tend to be much smaller, weighing only 210 g. Key Largo woodrats are nocturnal omnivores, but feed primarily on a variety of leaves, buds, seeds, and fruit.

key largo cotton mouse an endangered mouse in the Florida KeysKey Largo Cotton Mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola) Endangered- This mouse only seems to thrive in the Hardwood Hammock Forests of Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida. This is the only location the mouse can be found. Key Largo cotton mice are larger with a more reddish color than other subspecies of cotton mice from peninsular Florida. Its pelage is red dorsally, with dusky brown sides and white under parts. Its bi-colored tail is darker brown on top and whiter underneath. Body length is 170 to 189 mm, tail length is 72 to 87 mm, and hind foot length is 21 to 23 mm. Key Largo cotton mice are omnivorous and feed on a wide variety of plant and animal materials.
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