Florida Keys — Wildlife Edition

Here is the promised post with a select few of some of the wildlife of the Florida Keys from our recent vacation

While at Theater of the Sea, this parrot (wish I remembered its name) was giving kisses, even making a kissing noise ;)

kiss
Mo gets a kiss

We even had some wildlife at our hotel (no, not that kind!) — at the bayside waterfront out back we discovered five manatees, two of which came up to the beach. K was able to touch one, which then rolled over to try and get a belly rub. We didn’t know at the time that interacting with the manatees is frowned upon, and we’re glad the contact never got more than that.

manatee
K and friend

Also, besides gar and other types of fish, we saw this stingray along the beach one day.

ray
stingray combing the sand for lunch

It wasn’t the best time of year for looking for interesting Key insects, but I did catch a few: here’s a Great Pondhawk seen while hiking at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park…

Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)
Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)

…and an Io moth caterpillar seen at Anne’s Beach.

caterpillar
Io moth caterpillar – Hodges #7746 (Automeris Io)

And a couple cool spiders as well; saw three Spiny-Backed Orb Weaver near the water at the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary.

spiny spider
Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)

Also saw three larger Golden Orb Weaver along the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park hiking trail.

golden orb weaver
Golden Silk Orbweaver (Nephila clavipes)

I’m not much of a bird watcher, but there were a plethora of sea fowl seen during our vacation — yet, the first bird I saw on our first day at the Keys … a cardinal! Go figure.

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