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Wildlife on Hutchinson Island

Sea Turtle

Wildlife on Hutchinson Island, like most places in Florida is spectacular. No matter what your passion is when it comes to wildlife, you can find it here.

The perfect balance of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River estuary create the ideal habitat for more than 2,200 marine and wildlife species (35 of these species listed as threatened or endangered) that depend on it's sandy beaches, sea grasses, coral reefs, mangroves, and warm temperatures. Manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, birds and alligators are among the favorites for both tourists and Floridians, alike.


Florida Manatee
Florida Manatee swimming in the Indian River Lagoon. Photo: Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours

Manatee, Florida Manatee
Manatee - Indian River Lagoon
Photo: Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours

Sea Turtle nesting on Hutchinson Island Florida
Sea Turtle nesting on Hutchinson Island FL

See Dolphins on Hutchinson Island
Dolphin playing in the Indian River Lagoon
Photo: Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours

Right Whales, Atlantic Right Whales
Atlantic Right Whales

Snowy Egret, Florida Wildlife, Hutchinson Island
Snowy Egret hunting a meal - Hutchinson Island

Osprey Hutchinson Island Florida
Osprey taking off with his fresh catch just offshore of Hutchinson Island Florida

 

Manatees
The endangered Florida West Indian manatee, also called sea cow, are gentle and slow-moving. Most of their time is spent eating, resting and in travel. Manatees have no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more. Unfortunately, many manatee mortalities are human-related occurring from collisions with watercraft. There are approximately 3,000 West Indian manatees left in the United States.

Manatees are found abundantly on the east coast in Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and can be sighted just offshore of Hutchinson Island in our coastal waters and in the Indian River Lagoon Estuary. In the coastal waters, they travel close to shore so keep your eyes peeled! In the winter months, just before a cold snap, you'll see manatee traveling south in search of warmer waters.

The Indian River Lagoon, which stretches from Brevard County to northern Martin County, is known to be important to manatees for a variety of reasons, including for feeding and traveling. During the winter months, hundreds of manatees aggregate near industrial warm-water discharges on the Indian River. The Manatee Observation and Education Center is a waterfront wildlife observation and nature education center located on Florida‘s east coast in downtown Fort Pierce. The Center lies just west of the Atlantic ocean and overlooks the nationally recognized Indian River Lagoon, a saltwater estuary and Moore‘s Creek, a freshwater creek and historical resting spot for the Florida manatee.

Sea Turtles

Hutchinson island is witness to many newborn babies including endangered sea turtles. Five species of sea turtles are found swimming in Florida's waters and nesting on Hutchinson Island beaches including Green Sea Turtles, Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Ridley's Kemp Sea Turtles, Hawksbill Sea Turtles, and Leatherback Sea Turtles. Annually, sea turtles annually make between 40,000 and 84,000 nests along the Florida coast. The nests are monitored daily during the 109-day sea turtle nesting season (May 15 to August 31). Researchers record nests and nesting attempts by species, nest location, and date. During nesting season the nests are marked with wooden stakes and orange tape with the pertinent information.

To learn more on the best ways to see a nesting turtle without disturbing her, the do's and don'ts and Florida laws that protect Sea Turtles and their nests, the species of turtles that nest on Hutchinson Island and authorized Sea Turtle Conservation groups that will take you out to witness nesting Sea Turtles, visit our very informative Hutchinson Island Sea Turtle page.

Visit: Sea Turtles

Dolphins

Dolphins can be spotted all around Hutchinson Island throughout the year. Many live their entire lives out in the Indian River Lagoon. If you spend anytime on the water of the Indian River Lagoon chances are you'll see them. Rent a Kayak and you might have the thrill of a few coming up and greeting you as you kayak through the waters of the Indian River Lagoon. Look out in the waters of the Atlantic while you're sitting on your balcony enjoying a tropical beverage and or relaxing on the beach and chances are you will see them traveling just a few hundred feet from shore in search for their next meal. If the ocean is bringing in some nice waves, look in the waves as often times you'll see them surfing the waves.

There are many Dolphin Boat Tours or Dolphin Watch Boat Trips that you can take advantage of as our local captains will give you a tour of the Indian River Lagoon. Great photo opportunities for dolphin, manatee and our beautiful Florida birds. Visit our Hutchinson Island Boat Tours for information on how you can take a Dolphin spotting boat trip and enjoy these loveable creatures in their natural habitat.

Visit: Dolphin Watch Boat Tours

Whales

From November to March, whales migrate down the Atlantic coast of Florida. During that time, you may have a special opportunity to spot them just off shore. Look for the blow. Migrating Whales include Humpback Whales, Right whales, Fin Whales and Sperm Whales.

Right Whales

The North Atlantic Right Whale, is one of the most endangered large whales in the world. Only 300 right whales remain. These whales are commonly found off the East Coast of the United States and Canada. Right whales had been hunted to near extinction until hunting was finally banned in 1935. Although whaling is illegal, 30% of the mortalities are due to collision with large vessels or entanglement in fishing nets.

From December through March, pregnant females migrate from their northern feeding grounds to the warmer waters of Georgia and Florida to give birth to their young.

Right whales are often visible from the beach and many citizens along Florida’s eastern coast participate in a Right Whale sighting program to help relay whale locations to mariners. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission , when a right whale is sighted the information is reported to the Marine Resources Council sighting hotline (1-888-97-WHALE or 1-888-404-FWCC), where the information is then incorporated into the extensive communication network that informs mariners of right whale locations. Other species of whales are also found in Florida coastal waters, so it is important to be able to distinguish a right whale from other animals when reporting a sighting.

Right whales lack a dorsal fin; therefore, they have a large, flat back. They are dark gray or black and have "bumps" called callosities, on their head. The callosities appear white due to the presence of cyamids, or whale lice, that often congregate on the callosities.

When right whales breathe they produce a V-shaped blow that is often as high as 15 feet and is visible from a great distance. Measuring up to 55 feet, an adult right whale can weigh 50 tons, and a newborn calf can measure 15 feet at birth and weigh 2,000 pounds.

Source: Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

Our Feathered Friends

Thanks to its diversity of habitats, tropical climates, and geographical location over 500 species either call Florida their permanent home or use Florida's vast wilderness during their migration routes, making Florida a birder's paradise. Whether your a die-hard bird watcher or new to the birding community, the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission has created The Great Florida Birding Trail allowing everyone the opportunity to experience all the wildlife Florida has to offer. This 2000-mile (489 sites) self-guided highway trail is designed to conserve and enhance Florida's bird habitat by promoting bird watching activities and bird education. Of course Hutchinson Island is included on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Please feel free to visit The Great Florida Birding Trail for additional information and locations.

While enjoying your time on the beaches of Hutchinson you'll most likely encounter  pelicans,  the great blue heron, ospreys, egrets, royal terns, and an American White Ibis, just to name a few.

When you visit Hutchinson Island, Florida, be sure to check the Florida Wildlife Calendar. This calendar is an excellent resource on Florida's wildlife with a plethora of information as to where and when to look for various species including mating and nesting locations and migration dates and routes. Also, be sure to check out the Places to Visit on Hutchinson Island to take advantage of the local eco tours, turtle walks and beautiful state parks.

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Indian River Lagoon and Swampland Boat Tours Fort Pierce FL - South Florida Wildlife Boat Tour, Dolphin, Manatee, Birds, Turtles, Fish and more.

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