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Top 7 Most Endangered Species in Florida

Top 7 Most Endangered Species in Florida

Here is a detailed article on the 7 most endangered species in Florida, recently, there has been an increase in the number of endangered species in the Philippines, some animals in Florida are also endangered and facing extinction.

The reason why these species are endangered ranges from natural factors, like climate change, habitat loss, desert encroachment, etc, to manmade factors, like habitat destruction, excessive hunting, pollution, etc.

So many organizations and individuals have risen to fight for these species and animals, the government is also going its best to save the species from extinction.

Top 7 Endangered Species in Florida

Below is the list of the 7 most endangered species in Florida:

  1. Florida Panther
  2. Miami Blue Butterfly
  3. Gray Bat
  4. Florida Bonneted Bat
  5. Key Deer
  6. Red Wolf
  7. Eastern Indigo.

Florida Panther

The Florida Panther is undoubtedly one of the most endangered species in Florida, the habitat of the Florida panther are: tropical hardwood hammocks, pinelands, and mixed freshwater swamp forests

The Florida panther is the only known cougar population in the eastern part of the United States of America, unfortunately, the Florida panther currently roams only about 5 percent of its original territory… Thanks to humans.

At birth, the cubs of a Florida panther have spotted coats and possess charming blue eyes, as the cubs the older, the spots on their coats gradually disappear. At adolescence, the cubs of a Florida panther become completely tan in coloration, and the eyes turn yellow, the underside assumes a cream coloration, while black patches appear on the tails and ears.

The Florida panther is a medium-sized big cat and is relatively smaller than other big cats. The Florida panther is not able to roar like lions, instead, they make distinct sounds that include: hisses, purrs, growls, hisses, whistles, and chirps.

Despite being adapted to the environment around it, the cougar panther remains one of the most endangered species in Florida, efforts are being made by many organizations and individuals to save the Florida panther.


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Location: Florida panthers can be found in Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Picayune Strand State Forest, rural communities of Collier County, Florida, Hendry County, Florida, Lee County, Florida, Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Monroe County, Florida. they can be found also in the wild.

Diet: The Florida panther is a carnivore and preys on anything it can kill, including small animals like raccoons, armadillos, nutrias, hares, mice, and waterfowl, etc, and larger animals pigs, goats, cows, etc.

Length: The average length of female Florida panthers is between 5.9 to 7.2 feet while the average length of a male Florida panther is between 11.2 to 14 feet.

The number of surviving individuals: About 200 individual Florida panthers are living in the wild.

Weight: They weigh between 45 and 73 kilograms.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. Habitat loss to human encroachment is one of the major reasons the Florida panther is one of the endangered species in Florida.
  2. Excessive hunting by humans.
  3. Low biodiversity.
  4. Road accidents.

Miami Blue Butterfly

The Miami blue butterfly is a small subspecies of butterfly that can be found in Florida, it is one of the endangered species in Florida, the subspecies are native to southern Florida, the Miami blue butterfly has gone from a high population to critically endangered status.

The Floria museum of natural history is doing its best to save the species and they have recorded huge success in recent years.

The underside of the wing of male Miami blue butterflies, with a white line running across the hind wings accompanied by four black spots, the upper side of male Miami blue butterflies have a bright metallic blue coloration.

The underside of a female Miami blue butterfly has the same coloration as the male, while the uppersides are dark gray and have some bluish colorations at the base of their wings. The larvae of the Miami blue butterfly have colorations ranging from light green to purple, while the pupae have black or green coloration.

Females of this species may lay up to 300 eggs in their lifetime, they lay the eggs one at a time, the females lay this egg into the body of living plants. It usually takes 30 days for the egg to metamorphose into an adult Miami blue butterfly.

The Miami butterfly is currently one of the endangered species in Florida and one of the most endangered insect species in Florida.


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Location: The Miami blue butterfly is found in the northern part of Florida, including the coastal areas, pinelands, tropical hardwood hammocks, etc.

Diet: They feed primarily on balloon vines, gray nickerbean, and blackbead plants.

Length: This species of butterfly has a forewing length range of 0.4 to 0.5 inches (1 to 1.3 centimeters).

The number of surviving individuals: There are less than 100 Miami blue butterflies in the wild.

Weight: They weigh about 500 micrograms.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. Habitat loss and degradation is the main reason why Miami blue butterflies are currently among the endangered species in Florida.
  2. Invasive species.
  3. Group isolation and habitat fragmentation.
  4. They are hunted and killed by various predators.

Gray Bat

The gray bat is one of the endangered species in Florida, it is a species of microbat that is found only in North America, in recent decades, the gray bat has suffered a massive decline in population. Gray parts used to populate the southeastern part of the United States, but they are now restricted to a much smaller area.

The population of the gray bat dropped to a low of 2 million in 1976, and 1.6 million in the 80s, currently, regulations have been enacted laws protecting the gray bat from extinction and favorable result have been recorded. The species remain on the list of endangered species in Florida.

Gray bats are much dependent on caves for survival, they have gray-colored coats which sometimes turn to a chestnut brown or russet color after the molting season which occurs between July and August, they also possess rat-like mouths and black eyes.

The wing membrane of the gray bats connect to the toe unlike in other species which have their wing membranes connecting to their ankles, gray bats are known to live up to 17 years, the gray bats however have a fatality rate of 50 percent, which means that only 50 percent of them grow to maturity.

Gray bats fly at an average speed of 25 kilometers per hour while foraging for food, but they can fly at a stunning speed of 39 kilometers per hour, they are also known to fly at an average speed of 20.3 kilometers per hour during migration.


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Location: Gray bats are found in Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and in Panhandle, Florida. Despite the distribution, gray bats are among the endangered species in Florida.

Diet: Gray bats mostly feed on insects while flying over rivers and lakes.

Length: Gray bats on average measure between 4 to 4.6 centimeters.

The number of surviving individuals: The population of gray bats is about 3 million.

Weight: They weigh between 7 and 16 grams.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. Habitat destruction is the main reason why gray bats are among the endangered species in Florida.
  2. Water pollution and various other types of environmental pollution also threaten the existence of gray bats.
  3. Manmade and natural flooding.
  4. Overuse and abuse of pesticides.
  5. Infectious diseases.

Florida Bonneted Bat

The Florida bat, also known as the Florida mastiff bat is a species of bat that is found only in Florida, it is one of the critically endangered species in Florida. It is the largest species of bat in Florida.

The species are protected under the endangered species act, the bonneted bat has an exceptionally high wing loading and aspect ratios, the species possess an extended tail and glossy furs with a color range between brownish gray and cinnamon brown.

The hairs of Florida bonneted bats are poly colored as the tip of their hairs has a darker coloration in comparison with the base, some f the individuals have a broad white line that runs across their abdomen, they also possess large ears that, the position of the eyes makes their heads have an appearance similar to that of a bonnet, hence their names.

The bonneted bats were once thought to be extinct until some populations were discovered decades ago, the species were then added to the list of endangered species in Florida and the United States. They are non-migratory and do not hibernate.


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Location: The Florida bonneted bat is found only in about 7 counties of southern Florida.

Diet: They eat flying insects.

Length: On average they grow between 6 and 6.5 centimeters and have a wing length of 10.8 to 11.5 centimeters.

The number of surviving individuals: There are only about 1,000 Florida bonneted bats.

Weight: They weigh between 40 and 65 grams.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. Habitat degradation is the major reason why the Florida bonneted bat is now counted among the endangered species in Florida.
  2. Low fecundity.
  3. Climate change.
  4. Use of pesticides.
  5. Natural disasters like hurricanes.

Key Deer

The key deer is one of the endangered species in Florida, it is endemic to Florida. The deer is much smaller than every other white-tailed species of deer in Florida.

For decades, the population of the key deer has been declining, this forced the fishery and wildlife service of the United States to add the key deer among the endangered species in Florida and have it protected by the laws of the state

The colors of the key deer range from grey-brown to reddish-brown, the fawns have white spots which fade as they mature, the females don’t grow antlers while the males grow antlers, these antlers are shed seasonally between February and March and another grown by June.

The new antlers are covered by a white coating with a velvet-like appearance; this material protects the tender antler from harsh conditions in the environment.

The key deer breed throughout the year, however, the month with the highest rate of matings is October, followed by December. The gestation period lasts an average of 200 days, most births between the months April of June.

Key deers are perfect humans and have little fear of humans compared to other deers, they live near human settlements and roam freely while foraging. This behavior is likely to be one of the reasons they are among the endangered species in Florida.


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Location: The wild key deers are found in the Sugarloaf and Bahia Honda keys in Florida, while those in captivity are in The National Key Deer Refuge in Florida.

Diet: The deers feed mostly on mangrove trees and thatch palm berries, while also foraging on over 150 other species of plants.

Length: Female adult key deers have an average shoulder height of 66 centimeters, while adult males have an average shoulder height of 76 centimeters.

Adult males (known as bucks) usually weigh 25–34 kg (55–75 lb) and stand about 76 cm (30 in) tall at the shoulder. Adult females (does) usually weigh between 20 and 29 kg (44 and 64 lb) and have an average height of 66 cm (26 in) at the shoulders

The number of surviving individuals: There are about 700 to 800 key deers.

Weight: The males have an average weight of 25 to 34 kilograms, while the females have an average weight of 20-29 kilograms.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. Habitat loss is the main reason why key deers are listed among the endangered species in Florida.
  2. Car accidents.
  3. Infectious diseases.
  4. Climate change affecting the mangrove plants.
  5. Illegal feeding by humans.
  6. Accidents involving being hit by debris.
  7. Impalation by wind-blown objects.

Red Wolf

The red Wolf is a species of wolf that is found in the southeastern part of the United States, it is one of the endangered species in Florida.

The red wolf is a close relation to the Eastern wolf found in Canada, it has physical features that resemble that of coyotes and grey wolves.

The red wolf is sometimes not regarded as one of the endangered species because of the argument as to whether the red wolf is a distinct species of wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, or a cross-breed of coyotes and wolves.

In 1996, the IUCN officially added red wolves to the list of endangered species in Florida and Thee United States.

The red wolves are partly social animals and live in packs, a pack consists usually of 5 to 8 individuals, which is made up of one breeding pair and their offsprings.

As soon as the puppies in the pack grow up, they live the pack to form a separate pack and start a new pack.

Red wolves have territorial behaviors, they also form lifetime bonds with partners and mate one in a year, in February.

The females give birth in well-hidden areas and inside holes, but less than half of the offspring live to maturity, hence, they find themselves among the endangered species in Florida.


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Location: Red wolves are found in specific locations within the southeastern part of The United States.

Diet: Red wolves tend to hunt small animals like raccoons, rabbits, etc, but they feed on any prey they can kill.

Length: Red wolves are 4 feet long on average and have a shoulder-length of 26 inches.

The number of surviving individuals: There are about 20 to 40 red wolves today.

Weight: They weigh between 20.4 to 36.2 kilograms.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. The major threat to red wolves is vehicle strikes and gunshot wounds.
  2. Habitat fragmentation.
  3. Climate change.
  4. Infectious diseases.
  5. Hybridization with coyotes.

Eastern Indigo

The eastern indigo is one of the endangered species in Florida, it is also known as indigo snake, blue gopher snake, black snake, blue bull snake, and blue indigo snake.

The eastern indigo snake has posses glossy iridescent ventral scales which have a blackish-purple coloration when subjected to bright light, hence the name “indigo snake”.

The indigo snake has a similar body size to the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, but the rattlesnakes outweigh them.

The eastern indigo snake has dorsal and lateral scales of bluish-black color, some individuals, however, have reddish-orange or tan colored patches on their cheeks, can l chin, and throat.

The species are one of the longest native snake species in North America and also one of the most endangered species in Florida and North America.

Adult male eastern indigo snakes are slightly larger than the females, the juveniles have a glossy black coloration with whitish-blue bands which fade away as they grow.


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Location: Eastern indigo snakes are found in Peninsular Florida and the southeastern part of Georgia.

Diet: Eastern indigo snakes mostly feed on rodents and any other animal they can manage to put down their throats, including snakes.

Length: Adult male indigo snakes measure between 3.9 and 7.7 feet on average, while adult females measure between 3.6 and 6.6 feet on average. The longest recorded length of an eastern indigo snake is 9.2 feet.

The number of surviving individuals: There are about 100 eastern snakes in Florida.

Weight: The males weigh between 0.72 and 4.5 kilograms on average while the females weigh between 0.55 and 2.7 kilograms on average.

Reasons Why They Are Endangered

  1. Habitat destruction is the main reason why eastern indigo snakes are listed as one of the endangered in Florida.
  2. Habitat fragmentation and degradation.
  3. Urban development.

Conclusion

This content only includes the 7 most endangered of all the endangered species in Florida, with all the basic and some secondary information about them. A few of the species might be missing though as data changes daily.

Recommendation

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