Island Profiles

Wildlife is Vast in the Florida Keys
The Lower Florida Keys are still somewhat sparsely settled as much of the land mass of each island consists of protected wetlands, transitional wetlands, pine lands, and hardwood hammocks. Much of this acreage is owned by the state and federal agencies, set aside as wildlife refuge, and protected from further development.

Most homes occur in developed habitation areas with man-made canals for good boating access to open waters. Many of these neighborhoods are bordered by the protected lands. Bird life is still prolific, with many species migrating through in large numbers on their way to summer and winter feeding and mating grounds. The animal life on these islands consists mostly of Key Deer, raccoons, various wood mice, and a few rare Keys marsh rabbits.

The surrounding waters abound in many descriptions of marine life, including bottle nose dolphins, several species of marine turtles, occasional manatees, hundreds of fish species, and the very rare saltwater crocodile.

Anglers looking to test their skills offshore will find the deep blue waters surrounding the islands filled with marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, and other ferocious fighters waiting to take the bait. Trolling along the reef will yield yellowtail, snapper, grouper, and more.

The stunning reefs and intriguing wrecks of the Lower Florida Keys are an underwater adventure for snorkelers. The Lower Keys has numerous reputable dive shops that offer snorkel and scuba trips for all skill levels.

State Parks, Community Parks, Hiking Trails, and Wildlife Preserves are abundant and provide endless opportunities to see and photograph wildlife. With world-class marine science educational and research organizations such as the Mote Marine Laboratory exploring cutting-edge techniques, there is so much to learn and take in.