Click to Home

Go To Search

Vertebrates
Vertebrates Tri-Color Heron

While visiting a spring, you may see a variety of wild animals. Deer, bobcat, raccoons, and other animals are usually spotted near the springs. While canoeing, you may encounter beavers and their dams, or be followed by a curious river otter. You may also see an endangered Florida manatee.

Birds

The great egret, great blue heron, tri-color heron, snowy egret, and other wading birds can be seen at or near springs. Limpkins forage along the banks for their favorite meal of apple snails. In the water, double-crested cormorant and anhinga hunt for fish, and common moorhen or American coot forage for small invertebrates and aquatic plants along the marshy shorelines.

In nearby swamps, you may hear the call of a red-shouldered hawk or a barred owl. You may also encounter one or more wood ducks as you canoe down river.

Fish Gulf Sturgeon

Fish are one of the most abundant inhabitants of springs and spring runs. Various sunfish (bass and bream), suckers, gar, bowfin and minnows can be seen.

One of the more unusual features of the fish community of Florida springs is the presence of marine species. The hard, calcareous water of Florida's springs and spring-fed rivers permits many marine fishes found at the river mouth to migrate upstream.

Typical marine fish found in springs include:
  • Gray snapper
  • Striped mullet
  • Atlantic needlefish
  • Hogchoker
  • Gulf pipefish
  • Gulf sturgeon

Reptiles

A number of turtles and snakes are found in and near Florida's springs. Most of the snakes are harmless, although one, the cottonmouth, is venomous. American alligators also thrive in the springs and spring-run streams of the state.

Turtles are perhaps one of the most readily observed reptiles in springs. Various sliders are frequently seen sunbathing on logs bordering the spring run banks.

One of the more interesting of these is the Suwannee River cooter, a large slider associated with only a few large river systems in the southeastern U.S.

Other turtles include:
  • Chicken turtle
  • Common musk turtle
  • Alligator snapping turtle

The Suwannee River region represents the southernmost range of the alligator snapping turtle in the U.S.

Water For Nature, Water For People