Fun Facts

Fun Facts

The Florida Panther

In 1982, the Florida panther was chosen as the Florida state animal.

Did You Know?

Florida panthers are spotted at birth and typically have blue eyes.

As the panther grows the spots fade and the coat becomes completely tan while the eyes typically take on a yellow hue.

The panther’s underbelly is a creamy white, and it has black tips on the tail and ears.

Florida panthers lack the ability to roar, and instead make distinct sounds that include whistles, chirps, growls, hisses, and purrs.

Florida panthers are mid-sized for the species.

Adult female Florida panthers weigh 64–100 pounds whereas the larger males weigh 100–159 pounds.

Generally, manatees swim at about 3 to 5 miles per hour. However, they have been known to swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts.

The Florida Manatee

Did You Know?

Manatees  average 880 to 1,210 pounds and can be a long as 9.2 to 9.8 ft. and about 12 ft. round.

The females tend to be larger and heavier.

When born, baby manatees have an average weight of 66 pounds.

They use the lip to gather food and eat, as well as using it for social interactions and communications.

At any given time, a manatee typically has no more than six teeth in each jaw of its mouth.

Manatees eat only plants and consume over 60 different varieties of freshwater (e.g. floating hyacinth, pickerel weed, alligator weed, water lettuce, hydrilla, water celery, musk grass, mangrove eaves) and saltwater plants (e.g. sea grasses, shoal grass, manatee grass, turtle grass, widgeon grass, sea clover, and marine algae).

Using their divided upper lip, an adult manatee will commonly eat up to 10%-15% of their body weight per day. That could be up to 180 pounds of food a day! Consuming such an amount requires the manatee to graze for up to seven hours a day.

As of January 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the range-wide manatee population to be at least 13,000, with at least 6,300 in Florida.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed downgrading the manatee’s status from endangered to threatened in January 2016 after over 40 years on the endangered species list.


The Roseate Spoonbill

Did You Know?

The roseate spoonbill is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and from central Florida’s Atlantic coast.

In the United States, a popular place to observe roseate spoonbills is “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

The roseate spoonbill is 28–34 inches long, with a 47–52 inch wingspan and a body mass of  2.6–4.0 lbs.

Like the American flamingo, their pink color is diet-derived, meaning they turn pink from what they eat!

This species feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging its bill from side to side as it steadily walks through the water, often in groups. The spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift easily through mud. It feeds on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and very small fish ignored by larger waders.