Endangered Species In Boca Raton | 5 Native Endangered Animals To Be Aware Of
As the Summer months are fast approaching, the presence of our local flora and fauna will teem in comparison to the more temperate days behind us. New residents and longtime locals alike should exercise caution on behalf of themselves, but most of all for our beautiful wildlife, much of which has become critically endangered via the habitat destruction and poor environmental practices exhibited by several industries in recent years. Read on to learn about 5 endangered species in Florida, and what you can do to care for these beautiful creatures, whether that means doing something different or doing nothing at all.
The Florida Manatee is one of the gentlest, most beloved icons of South Florida. This docile herbivore is often mistaken for a lumbering, slow, creature but in reality, is quite deft at acceleration, capable of reaching 20mph in short bursts, and is only one of two marine mammals without blubber! Contrary to what many think, the greatest killers of manatees are not boats, although it is fundamental to be mindful of your speed in boating channels. Cold water and algal blooms are responsible for the majority of manatee kills, so be wary of how you care for your lawn, and how you dispose of organic materials that may otherwise lead to an excess of nutrients in the water supply.
The greyish American Crocodile is easy to identify when contrasted with the infamous Florida Alligator. The American Crocodile is extremely rare but very hardy. These prehistoric reptilians are capable of navigating brackish and even saltwater for a short time, and are more aggressive towards humans but far less abundant than the alligator. Habitat and food loss contribute to the dwindling numbers we see today. Despite their fearsome nature, apex predators are intrinsic to a healthy ecosystem.
The sandy-colored gopher tortoise is endangered, but encounters are far more common than with most animals on this list. The gopher tortoise is identifiable by its relatively monotone color, with defined and separated toes, distinguishing itself from the webbed feet of its aquatic brethren, the turtle. The gopher tortoise creates a shallow burrow for itself, hence the name, and often shares its space with the much less docile Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. For that reason alone, it's best to leave the gopher tortoise be.
Eastern Indigo Snake
This gorgeous, blue-black snake grows over 7 feet in length, with the male species registered as the longest native snake to North America, and the largest native non-venomous snake to Florida. Due to overdevelopment and subsequent habitat loss, the South Floridian presence of the Eastern Indigo Snake was fragmented and nearly lost. However, a decades-long effort to breed and release the Indigo Snake to the Florida wild is underway and is finally showing some real traction in repopulation efforts.
Green Sea Turtle
An iconic species long associated with South Florida, the Caribbean, and Tropical Seas worldwide, the Green Sea Turtle is one of several sea turtle species native to Florida, and easily the most visually represented species in media and art. Residents of beachfront condos like Marbella among others may notice cordoned off areas of open sand and dimmed, reddish lights during the summer months. These efforts are in conjunction with the desire to create as little disruption as possible to the sea turtles, whose hatching on shore is a crucible that determines life or death at the moment of birth. If you notice a sea turtle hatching, DO NOT touch or help the hatchlings, no matter how tempting. This will irrevocably disrupt their evolutionary capacity and they will perish, as the crawl from egg to the shoreline is the immediate challenge that determines the future of every hatchling.
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