|Mammal characteristics: have hair or fur, raise young on milk, have backbones, and are warm-blooded|
1. White-tailed deer - are hoofed animals, brown in color with a white rump patch and white hair on the underside of their tails. These deer are found throughout the eastern United States, how- ever, South Florida deer weigh less than their northern relatives, as they don't need the extra layer of fat, which deer living in colder climates require. The deer bed down in the hammocks. They are herbivores, feeding on a variety of plants including sawgrass. Fawns are born in the spring months.
2. Otters - have brown fur which appears shiny black when they are wet. These "playful" animals are usually seen in the water. They are carnivores, feeding on frogs, crayfish, fish, turtles and an occasional immature alligator. Otters have webbed feet, a long, muscular tail, and sensitive whis- kers which help them to locate fish in murky water. They are primarily diurnal animals.
3. Opossums - are the only native pouched mammals, (marsupials), in the United States. They have white faces, pointed noses, coarse fur, and hairless ratlike tails. Baby opossums are tiny at birth weighing only 1/15 of an ounce. Once they are born, they have the most difficult journey of their life. They must crawl from their mother's birth canal to her fur lined pouch where they spend the next 2 months of their lives. Opossums are nocturnal omnivores. They eat eggs, birds, small animals, and fruit. If they are threatened by enemies, they may bare their teeth or try to run away. If they are trapped, they "play possum" by collapsing and appearing to be dead.
4. Raccoons - are the masked, furry bandits of the 'glades. Like the opossum, they are primarily nocturnal and are omnivores. Their diet consists of almost anything, including immature alliga- tors, birds, fishes, clams, insects, and fruit. Raccoons are highly adaptable, living in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, hammocks, pinelands, and mangroves. In Shark Valley, the ham- mock habitat is usually their home during the day.
5. Bobcats - are also nocturnal. They have dark spots on their tawny-colored fur and are smaller than their endangered cousin, the Florida panther. The easiest way to identify the two cats is to look at their tails. The bobcat's tail is much shorter than the panther's. Bobcats are carnivores and feed on rodents, marsh rabbits, raccoons, birds, and fawns.
6. Panthers - are few in number and are rarely seen. They are tawny brown and have a long tail. Like the bobcat, they are nocturnal and carnivorous. They feed on rabbits, raccoons, and as adults, they primarily feed on deer. Food from a deer kill will feed a panther for several days. The panther may conceal the uneaten portion of its food by covering the food with leaves and dirt.
All animals in the Everglades are wild, no matter how cute they seem.
NEVER TOUCH OR FEED A WILD ANIMAL!!!