Florida wildlife, in all of its many shapes and forms, is a big attraction for Judy and I. As I have said often in many of the pages of enjoy-englewood-florida.com, Judy is an avid and knowledgeable birdwatcher. (Visit her website at the bottom of this page.) But watching and enjoying the wide variety of birds to be found in this part of Florida’s Gulf Coast region is not our only passion.
We enjoy looking for alligators, sea turtles, egrets and more. In the Englewood area we are fortunate to have places to go to enjoy Florida wildlife in a safe and friendly environment. Of course I am referring to one of our favorite Florida destinations, Cedar Point Environmental Park. But, this is only one of several opportunities in the area to witness conservation efforts being practiced. To this end, we also enjoy visiting the various locales that are promoted and protected by the Lemon Bay Conservancy.
There are not too many areas in the entire state that do not have alligators as part of the Florida wildlife scene. Someone once told me that wherever there is water in Florida there is likely to be an alligator.
But we have been coming to Englewood for years and the alligators have never been a
problem. Instead, we are constantly on the look out for these amazing creatures, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of these creatures that have survived for centuries on this planet.
Of course, if you are a golfer then you are going to increase the possibility of seeing an alligator. But even then the presence of alligators may not always be evident.
“Golfing With Gators”
My father-in-law cautioned me the first time that I went golfing with him and his friends Eddie and Ralph, about watching out for alligators, especially near the water hazards. (He knew that I could hit the golf ball a long way, but I had no idea where it was going. Therefore there was a good chance that I would find more than a few water hazards during the course of our round of golf.) But after a few rounds of golf I still had not seen an alligator and I was very interested in seeing this important member of the Florida wildlife community. One day, as we were walking off the eighteenth hole, I chided the three of them about being too cautious about alligators. I said, “OK, guys, where are the gators?” Eddie replied, “Stop, and turn around very slowly.” About fifteen feet away three gators were sunning themselves! It is important to remember that the alligators usually are as wary of you as you are of them! But I have one recommendation for all golfers. If you lose a golf ball in a water hazard, just leave it there!
Egrets, Cranes, Herons
No matter where I am in my travels around North America, when I see a white egret I can’t help but think about Englewood.
Every morning we sit in the lanai with our coffee watching egrets and
sand cranes wander about the neighborhood.
My in-laws had a neighbor who everyday would stand on his front lawn and the sand cranes would come and eat directly from his hand.
There are plenty of pelicans to entertain you near most coastal locations. This is especially true at the Englewood area beaches. These awkward looking birds are in fact graceful in flight and lethal in their fishing skills.
We have spent hours, entranced, watching these great fishermen taking in their daily catch. One of our favorite pelican-watching places is any bridge across a body of water. (An excellent vantage point for watching many forms of Florida wildlife.)
Here we often see several human fishermen casting their fishing lines into the water hoping to catch a big one for dinner. But, at the same time there are countless pelicans swooping and splashing into the water scooping up their dinner.
It appears that these feathered fishermen are far more successful than their human counterparts!
Sea turtles are present on the beaches around Englewood or at any Florida beach for that matter.
Even if you never actually see one, there is plenty of evidence of their presence in the area. In the summer we find parts of the beach marked off, to designate the presence of turtle nests in the sand.
These gentle giants are sometimes visible from bridges and boats because they spend a lot of time swimming just under the surface of the water.
Manatees also called “Sea Cows”
Unfortunately because of this habit, boaters too often get too close and their propellers kill or injure these amazing creatures.
So if you are boating please be aware of their presence.
We enjoy visiting one of our favorite restaurants at the beach. This restaurant has a dining area on a deck that protrudes over the water. Sometimes if we look carefully we will see the outline of a manatee, swimming close by.
There are lots of snakes in the area. Some are venomous, while others are not. I am not about to claim any expertise in this area of Florida wildlife. But I can share a couple of lines which people remember just to help identify two types of the many snakes that live in Florida.
Red touching yellow,
You are a dangerous fellow,
Red touching black,
You are okay Jack.
The red touching yellow refers to the color pattern on the extremely venomous Coral Snake. While the red touching black, refers to the color pattern of the non-venomous Scarlet Snakes and the Scarlet King Snakes.
I dont know about you. But, I prefer to give all snakes a wide berth.
I doubt that many of us ever stop to check the color pattern of a snake!
My best advice: If you see a snake or want to know more about snakes in the area check with someone from the proper government or Florida wildlife agency.
Florida wildlife is fascinating and entertaining.
But please remember that if you respect these creatures and their habitat you will be safe.
After all, we want them to Enjoy Englewood Florida, too!