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The Florida Space Coast Wildlife

When vacationing on Florida's Space Coast, not only will you find beautiful weather, long strands of beaches and the next ride to outer space, you'll also discover some of the most mysterious and interesting wildlife anywhere in the world. 


Alligators can be found in backyard ponds, canals, lakes rivers, ditches and streams.  Often you'll see only the gator's head in the water, not its body.  This way they can more easily strike their prey, such as fish, without being detected.  The Florida legislature, in 1987, proclaimed the American alligator ( Alligator mississippiensis) as the official reptile of the State of Florida.  Long recognized as the unofficial symbol of the State of Florida, the alligator symbolize Florida's extensive untamed wilderness and swamps.  Alligators have inhabited Florida's marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes for many centuries and are found in all 67 counties. 

Florida Manatees

If the weather is warmer, manatees are more widely dispersed.  Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals and coastal areas.  It is legend that Manatees were mistaken by sailors to be the mystical creature "Mermaids" after long periods at sea.  Manatees prefer water depths between 3 and 7 feet and are a migratory species.  Within the United States, West Indian manatees are concentrated in Florida in the winter.  West Indian manatees have no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more.  manatees are found abundantly on the east coast in Florida's Inter-coastal Waterway and occasionally sighted offshore in coastal waters.  The Indian River lagoon is known to be important for Manatees for a variety of reasons, including for feeding and traveling.  Brevard county seems to be a preferred year-round Manatee habitat. 

Sea Turtles

Over 6,000 endangered and threatened loggerhead turtles, green turtles and leatherback turtles live along the beaches of Florida's Space Coast including Canaveral National Seashore, Indian Harbour beach, the Sebastian Inlet and Melbourne beaches to lay up to 125 eggs in each nest.  During the summer months, from May through August, the Florida Space coast is home to the largest sea turtle nesting population in the whole United States.  The 72-mile long stretch of Space Coast shore provides solitude-seeking sea turtles a place to hatch their offspring.  Sea turtles are cold-blooded, air-breathing reptiles that lay their eggs in the sand on beaches around the world, sometimes never seeing their hatchlings again.  The females will only come ashore to dig a nest and deposit their eggs for incubation before retreating to the safety of the ocean. 

Nature lovers all over the world can gather to witness these endangered 300+ pound creatures nest during guided tours that are offered throughout the summer season.  The tours are carefully guided by environmental experts who point out the beauty of these marvelous creatures and the dangers facing them.  A short presentation precedes the turtle walks, which typically begin at 9PM.  Group sizes are limited to enhance the viewing and to provide as little intrusion as possible.  If you would like to participate in turtle walks, you must call to make reservations, or visit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society's website:  They offer walks from June 1 to July 31.  During June, the walks take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  During July, the walks take place Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 

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