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8 animals native to Florida to visit in our Gator Park

Most people know about Disney’s characters, but at Wild Florida’s Gator Park, there are more than 200 four-legged characters you’ll need to meet during this vacation. The Gator Park is divided between two different categories of animals. While one side of the Orlando wildlife park showcases exotic animals such as two-toed sloths, ring-tailed lemurs, watusis, and zebras, the other half of the Gator Park showcases all animals native to Florida. Their Gator Park provides visitors from around the globe (and maybe even a few locals) the chance to learn something new about Florida's ecosystem. In this blog, learn about eight Florida animals you can meet during your visit!



  1. American alligator
    In the heart of their Gator Park lies the Gator Pond that houses more than 150 freshwater American alligators and crocodiles. Most of the alligators, are actually labeled "nuisance" alligators by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and were relocated to Wild Florida because they lost their natural fear of humans. If left in the wild, these reptiles would be humanely euthanized. After you're done visiting the gators and crocs, make sure to visit Crusher, the biggest alligator at Wild Florida! Weighing in at 1,000 pounds and a whopping 13.5 feet long, Crusher lives in his own bachelor pad to ensure he has plenty of room to sunbathe or cool off in his pond.

  2. White-tailed deer
    Near the back of the Gator Park, you'll find white-tailed deer. While they aren't unique to just Florida, they are the most abundant species of deer in Florida. You'll notice that there are more does (females) than bucks (males) in the exhibit. This is to mimic their most natural social group, which is known as matrilineal. This social group consists of a doe, her female offspring of previous years, and their fawns.   

  3. Alligator snapping turtle
    One creature native to Florida that you may have never heard of is the alligator snapping turtle. Measuring in length at about 29 inches, the alligator snapping turtle can weigh as much as 200 pounds and has a bite force of up to 1,000 psi, making it number 13 on the list of animals with the strongest bite force.
  4. Red fox
    Another animal you can see is the iconic red fox. Everyone knows foxes are elusive and quick, but did you know that they actually give the skunk a run for its money in terms of how stinky they can be? Chandler and Phoebe, Wild Florida’s red foxes, are some of the stinkiest critters! Don't believe us? Make sure to stop by their exhibit and smell for yourself!

  5. Florida panther
    There are currently less than 300 panthers in the wild, and they are primarily located in South Florida. In August 2017, Wild Florida welcomed Nala the Florida panther into the family. As one of the most endangered species in Florida, she is considered a "panther ambassador." Her role at Wild Florida allows visitors a unique opportunity to see this iconic big cat up close and learn more about positively impacting the panther species.  

  6. Raccoon
    Most famous for its appearance in Disney's 'Pocahontas,' the raccoon is a fan favorite of all Florida mammals! Easily distinguished because of their "bandit mask," raccoons are nocturnal, which means they are typically more active at night. So if you see them napping during your visit, don't take it personally, they were probably playing all night long!

  7. American crocodile
    Freshwater crocodiles are primarily found in South Florida, but it's very rare for people, even locals, to spot them in the wild. While there are predominately more alligators inside the Gator Pond, there are a few crocodiles you can see during your visit. One of the easiest ways to distinguish a crocodile from an alligator is by looking at the shape of their snout. Unlike alligators, whose snouts are wider and have a u-shaped look, crocodiles have a more pointed, v-shaped snout.

  8. Bobcat
    Located in between the raccoon and white-tailed deer exhibit, you'll find yourself in front of Duke's exhibit. The Wild Florida team has a unique bond with all of the animals, but after raising Duke, a bobcat, he holds a special place in the animal keeper’s heart. While bobcats are technically considered wild animals, Duke doesn't like to play as much as your average house cat. Depending on when you visit (and Duke's mood), you might get to see this big cat play with some of the animal enrichment toys.

If you want to see more Florida animals and Everglades wildlife, consider going on an airboat tour! With more than 80 different species of wildlife and foliage living in or around Lake Cypress alone, there's no telling what you might see during your airboat tour. But, if you're short on time, touring around the Gator Park is a great way to learn more about Florida's native wildlife.