Key West Attractions

Whether you’re a local looking for something fun to do or a visitor who’s made your way to the tropical paradise of Key West, there’s nothing quite like a rainy day to put a real damper on things. Lucky for you though, Key West’s treasures aren’t restricted to the great outdoors; and there’s a bunch of exploring you can do despite the less than ideal weather. So grab an umbrella, your sense of wonder, and get ready to have the very best time exploring these rainy day activities in Key West!

aquarium visitors at touch tank with tour guides

Key West Aquarium

Located in Key West’s famous Mallory Square, the Key West Aquarium is an interactive attraction that’s perfect for all ages! Given that Key West is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world (and the largest in North America), our aquarium is the perfect place to see and learn about the fascinating marine life of the Florida Keys! From jellyfish and hermit crabs to stingrays and sea turtles, get up close and personal with a variety of beautiful sea creatures and spend some time learning about the underwater world beneath the surface. Guests can enjoy interactive conservation talks as well as animal feedings. The aquarium’s touch tank features conchs, sea stars, sea urchins, giant hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs. Guests also have the unique opportunity to meet live sharks and stingrays. A couple of fun facts: our aquarium was Key West’s first tourist attraction and also the world’s first open air museum.

truman little white house front lawn

Truman Little White House

For those of you history buffs out there, here’s a rainy day activity you won’t want to miss! Right in the heart of Key West’s Old Town, the Truman Little White House was considered for many years the winter White House of our 33rd president, Harry S. Truman. Today, the Truman Little White House operates as a museum, allowing you to tour the home while embarking on a journey back through time. Enjoy a first-hand look at so many of the former president’s personal belongings and take some time to admire the original furnishings of a home that was once seen as a retreat and place of government business by our nation’s leaders.

Customs House

Rainy days are perfect for browsing through artwork; so if that sounds like something you might enjoy, then make your way over to the Customs House. Located near Mallory Square’s historic marina, the four story award-winning museum includes two whole floors of exhibitions that tell the story of an island in transition. From the Henry Flagler’s Overseas Highway exhibition to one featuring the Ghosts of East Martello, the museum (which was originally home to the Key West’s customs office, postal service, and district courts) is filled with plenty of art and history worth perusing through.

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

Rated one of the top things to do in Key West, the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is another place to add to your rainy-day bucket list. With hundreds of beautiful butterfly and bird species flying around, experience a mini-rainforest of sorts all under a climate-controlled, glass enclosed habitat. Forget about the rain outside and take some time to relax in one of the most magical spots here in paradise.Then head into the gift shop because it’s one of the most popular on the island.

ernest hemingway house yard

Ernest Hemingway House

The six-toed cats! Okay, that’s not the only reason to visit the Ernest Hemingway House. Nestled in the heart of Old Town Key West, tour the home of the famous Nobel-Prize winning author who spent ten years on this island paradise. It’s said that Hemingway wrote some of his best work in this home, so enjoy a tour of his residence and studio where he was motivated to write the books that would become a part of his long-lasting legacy.

tropic cinema signage at night

Tropic Cinema

You know what sounds absolutely amazing on a gloomy rainy day? Enjoying a movie indoors with a giant bag of popcorn! Tropic Cinema, Key West’s non-profit movie theatre, is the perfect place to do just that, offering a diverse movie selection that includes blockbusters, independent films, and cinematic classics. With state-of-the-art digital projection, an art gallery, and concessions that don’t disappoint (wine & beer served), this is where you want to be if you’re looking to escape the rain for a while.

old town trolley driving in front of southernmost point buoy

Old Town Trolley Tour

If all of those activities sound great to you but you’re not really sure how to get there, by far the best way to get around the island is via the Old Town Trolley. These hop-on-hop-off tours stop at 13 different locations and give you the opportunity to see over 100 points of interests.

So there you have it! A few of our favorite things to do on a rainy day in Key West. Don’t let a little weather get in the way of exploring paradise!

The Florida Keys are one of 15 areas that are part of the National Marine Sanctuary. This program is administered by NOAA and protects 2,900 square nautical miles from Miami to Dry Tortugas. Within the barriers of the Florida Keys Sanctuary you will find that everything from history to living species are protected.

The Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary is home to over 6,000 species of marine life, shipwrecks and treasures, seagrass beds, mangroves and the world’s 3rd largest barrier reef.

Over 2 Million visitors come to the Florida Keys each year. That is a LOT of people to come through an area of  only 2,900 square miles. Of course, I don’t blame them for wanting to come here and enjoy our scenic views and wildlife. We have white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, chickens and iguanas that roam free and the most beautiful sunsets.

During your visit please keep in mind these Do’s and Don’ts:

DO NOT:

– Move, remove, take, injure, touch, break, cut or possess coral/ live rock, protected wildlife or historical resources

– Discharge or deposit sewage from marine sanitation devices, trash, and other materials, except for cooling water or engine exhaust.

– Dredge, drill, or alter the seabed in any way including abandoning items on the seabed.

– Operate a vessel in a way to strike or injure coral, endanger life, limb, marine resources, property, seagrass, or other organisms living on the seabed, or cause prop scarring.

– Anchor your vessel on living coral in water less than 40 feet deep when the bottom can be seen. Anchoring on hard-bottom is allowed.

– Anchor your vessel 0n living or dead coral/ any organism attached to the seabed or when a mooring buoy is available.

– (Unless you are in a marked channel) Operate a vessel at more than 4 knots/no wake within 100 yards of shorelines, stationary vessels, navigational aids or within 100yds of a “divers down” flag.

– Dive or snorkel without a dive flag, touch or stand on living or dead coral.

– Damage or remove any markers, mooring buoys, equipment, boundary buoys, and trap buoys.

– Fish, remove, harvest, possess or land any marine life except as allowed by the FWC.

– Release exotic species

 

DO:

– Take pictures

– Pick up any waste/garbage that you find

– Report any mistreatment of living species you witness

– Fish under the regulations allowed by the FWC

– Anchor on a mooring buoy when available

– Observe marine life from a safe, respectful distance

– Visit the Key West Aquarium and the Eco-Discovery Center to learn more on conservation and protection efforts for the ecosystems in the Florida Keys

 

 

 

 

Sea Turtle Conservation

October 4th, 2017

Our mission here at the Key West Aquarium is to educate the public about the dangers of these turtles face on a daily basis. The sea turtles in this facility would not be able to survive out in the wild with their injuries. By educating and making the public aware, our hopes are to minimize these senseless encounters and allow the sea turtle population to thrive as they once did.

Some of  the Sea Turtles in our care at the Key West Aquarium are:

Spike the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Spike was found at roughly 9 inches in length with 3 of her 4 flippers eaten off by an unknown predator. She was treated for her wounds and has resided with us ever since. Loggerheads are an endangered species that inhabit the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. They can reach a size of 8-9 feet in length, weigh 900-1000 lbs. and live an average of 60 years.

Lola the Kemps-Ridley Sea Turtle. Lola was found twice entangled in fishing line. The second time the line was so tight on her right front flipper that it had to be amputated. The Key West Aquarium has had her fitted with a prosthetic that she swims with during the day. Kemps-Ridleys are a critically endangered species that inhabit warm waters in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They are the smallest of the sea turtles and only nest on one beach in Mexico. They average thirty inches in length, weigh up to 100 pounds and the average lifespan is unknown.

Lola trying on her prosthetic flipper she received in 2015.

Rocky the Green Sea Turtle. Rocky was struck by a boat early in his life. This caused the loss of his right front flipper and damage to his shell buoyant. The weights mounted to his shell help him to swim and lie flat when he chooses. Green Sea Turtles are an endangered species that inhabit the worlds tropical and subtropical oceans. They can reach a size of 5 feet, weigh an average of 400 pounds and live up to 80 years.

Hector the Hawksbill Sea Turtle. Hector was part of a head start program during the mid to late 1980’s. Head starting of the sea turtle hatchlings in captivity allowed the sea turtles to acheive a size large enough to avoid most predation. Hector was and remains a part of our educational program here at the Key West Aquarium. The hawksbill is a small to medium-sized marine turtle having an elongated oval shell with overlapping scutes on the carapace, a relatively small head with a distinctive hawk-like beak, and flippers with two claws.

Hunter the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Hunter, an adult male loggerhead was originally admitted to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL on August 8, 2o12. Hunter was emaciated with lockjaw, 5 fishing hooks were noted on the radiograph. After extensive rehab Hunter was released to the wild December 14, 2013. Hunter was rescued again on November 22, 2015. He had lockjaw and healed prop wounds from a boat strike. Hunter is fully recovered, eating and swimming well and a healthy body weight. He had surgery to remove a partial hook from his shoulder. The remaining two hooks are in areas that are too risky for surgery. Hunter is now placed here at the KWAQ where he can be closely monitored and will hopefully be released one day to the wild once the fishing hooks have degraded and are no longer an issue.

Hunter testing the waters of his new home in 2015.

Caribbean Reef Octopus

June 14th, 2017

The Caribbean Reef Octopus lives in warm waters around coral reef environments and grassy and rocky sea beds. There are more than 300 different species of octopus that have been identified. Considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates, the octopus is found in the tropical and temperate waters of the worlds oceans. They prey on crabs, crayfish, and mollusks, and will sometimes use their ink to disorient their victims before attacking. Its first line of defense is its ability to hide in plain sight. Using a network of pigment cells and specialized muscles in its skin, the octopus can almost instantaneously match the colors, patterns, and even textures of its surrounding. Predators such as sharks, eels, and dolphins swim by without even noticing it. When discovered, an octopus will release a cloud of black ink to obscure its attackers view, giving it time to swim away. The ink even contains a substance that weakens a predators’ sense of smell, making the fleeing octopus harder to track. Fast swimmers, they can jet forward expelling water through their mantles. And their bodies can squeeze into impossibly small cracks and crevices where predators can’t follow.

Odd-Shaped Swimmers

January 18th, 2017

Fish that are considered “odd-shaped swimmers” have a tendency to be quite slow and awkward which should naturally present them as easy prey. However, their distinctive defenses help compensate for their slow locomotion. A favorite among divers and hobbyists alike, the pufferfish  is full of personality and charm. They have excellent eyesight and powerful jaws for crushing shells in order to feed on mollusks and smaller invertebrates. The pufferfish moves by combining efforts of its pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins. While they are slow moving, they maneuver quite well and use the caudal fin for a sudden burst of speed if a quick escape is needed. If they are unable to flee they will draw large quantities of water into their elastic stomachs, ballooning up to several times their normal size. All puffers have pointed spines so the predator may find itself choking on the inflated fish rather than swallowing it. This species also has neurotoxin and tetrodotoxin in the ovaries and liver that can have a lethal effect if consumed. Two popular dishes in Asian Cuisine, puffer soup, and raw puffer meat often cause intoxication, light-headedness, nad numbness of the lips and is often eaten for these reasons. However, if these dishes are improperly prepared they can cause death.

Boxfish, including trunkfish and cowfish are notable for the hexagonal or “honeycomb” patterns in their skin. Their plate-like scales are quite heavy and as a result the fish is slow moving. They have adapted to these obstacles by using their pectoral fins in a rowing manner for movement. While their slow nature should make them an easy prey item, few fish are able to consume them. Many boxfish secrete poisons through their skin when threatened, fouling the surrounding water and protecting them from predation.

Lionfish Invasion

May 31st, 2016

The lionfish, a relative of the scorpion fish, is naturally distributed throughout the western Pacific from Southern Japan to Micronesia, Australia, and the Philippines. The lionfish inhabits reefs form about 10 to 175 meters in depth. The  most probable explanation for the arrival of the lionfish population in the Atlantic Ocean is via the aquatic pet trade and their careless release. In the U.S., the lionfish has rapidly increased in population abundance from the first reports as little as 5 years ago. Lionfish are now as abundant as many native grouper species in the Atlantic Ocean. They are relatively quick to adapt to new prey types and rapidly learn to avoid deadly prey. Feeding primarily on small reef fish and crustaceans, lionfish may also compete with native piscivores by monopolizing this important food resource.  The reduction of coral reef fishes suggests lionfish have the potential to decrease the abundance of ecologically important species such as parrotfish and other herbivorous fishes that keep seaweeds and microalgae from overgrowing corals.

In an effort to control the lionfish population the “Lionfish Derbies” were introduced in 2009. A lionfish derby is a team competition to collect as many lionfish as possible. Teams have between dawn-to-dusk and can use a variety of capture methods while either SCUBA diving, free diving, or snorkeling. Prizes are awarded to the teams the most, biggest, and smallest lionfish caught. Derbies have been held in the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and throughout South Florida and have resulted in the removal of thousands of lionfish.

The blue tang is typically found on reefs in high current areas so that they can feed on zooplankton. Blue tangs are easy to spot due to their bright coloration. They are typically a vibrant blue with a yellow tail. They have two black lines. One lines the fish form the eye, along the back, and atop the tail. The other lines the fish from the gills to the back of the tail. Their pectoral fins can have some yellow coloration on them. Their body is oval shaped and flat. Read the rest of this entry »

Key West Marine Life

One of Key West’s biggest draws is the tranquil, aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean that surround the island. The astounding natural beauty found here fosters a unique and diverse marine ecosystem. In the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Florida Straits stretch from Miami past Key West, making it the third largest barrier reef in the world. Not far from there, the legendary Gulf Stream, a cold and fast-moving current attracts enormous pelagic fish, making it a dream for anglers. To the west, the shallow sand flats of the Gulf of Mexico harbor turtle grass and mangroves, which are the nesting and feeding grounds for a critical population of juvenile fish and migratory birds. There are many ways to explore Key West’s marine life and underwater habitats, both in the water and on land. Read on for a few of the best ways to experience Key West’s abundant marine life.

Grab a Snorkel Mask

What better way to encounter Key West’s coral reef than by diving right in on a snorkeling excursion? The reef is located seven miles offshore and you can set sail with various watersports companies located around the island. Aboard a snorkeling trip, you’ll swim amidst coral canyons made of colorful varieties of brain coral, Elkhorn coral, Staghorn coral, purple sea fans and more. Be on the lookout for yellowtail snapper, damselfish, rainbow parrotfish, angelfish and a wide variety of other tropical species, in addition to loggerhead sea turtles, stingrays and even sharks.

Feed a Stingray
The Key West Aquarium, located in the heart of Mallory Square, is a great way to learn about marine life that thrives in the Key West waters. With touch tanks and daily feedings, you can get up close and personal with stingrays, sea turtles and sharks. The aquarium’s exhibits and guides offer an informative, engaging and interactive introduction to Key West’s marine life.

Key West Aquarium Stingray

Lounge on a Sandbar
The only excursion in Key West that allows you to experience both the coral reef of the Atlantic Ocean and the shallow backcountry of the Gulf of Mexico is Fury Water Adventure’s Island Adventure trip. This half-day excursion will take you snorkeling at the reef, followed by kayaking through mangroves and relaxing on an idyllic sandbar beach. You’ll come away completely relaxed and with a true understanding of the diverse ecosystem that surrounds the island. Snacks and cold beer are provided.

Learn About Key West’s Delicate Ecosystem

Located on the bike ride to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, you’ll find the Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center. This immersive and hands-on science center is a collaboration between the National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Spanning 6,000-square-feet, its mission is to increase awareness of the need to protect and conserve South Florida’s delicate ecosystem. Here, visitors can explore Mote Marine Laboratory’s living reef exhibit featuring a 2,500 gallon reef tank, learn about the variety of marine life found throughout the ocean’s depths and tour a mock up of Aquarius, the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory.

Grab a Towel and Hit the Beach

When you’ve finished touring the Eco Discovery Center, continue your journey to Fort Zachary. There, you can spend the afternoon bird watching on nature trails winding amidst Australian pines, sunbathing on the rocky shore and snorkeling along the jetties. There’s nothing like spending a day in Key West’s natural beauty to truly appreciate it.

Fort Zachary Park and Beach

Look out the Windows of the Sea
For those who want to encounter Key West’s coral reef without actually diving in the water, a Glass Bottom Boat trip is an excellent alternative. Learn about the coral reef and its inhabitants as you view the underwater world of Key West through the boat’s “windows to the sea.”

Take a Journey to a Remote National Park
For a truly unique beach experience, devote an entire day to a trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, found 70 miles west of Key West. The Yankee Freedom III ferry whisks passengers to this remote destination in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico where you’ll experience some of the most unspoiled snorkeling on the planet. You can even opt for an overnight trip with camping under the stars.

Yankee Freedom Dry Tortugas Ferry

Book a Fishing Charter
The Florida Keys are a major draw for anglers, both experienced and brand new to the sport. Whether it’s flats fishing for bonefish and permit or deep-sea fishing along the Gulf Stream for mahi mahi and giant tuna, there are countless charter boat captains to choose from. Head to Charter Boat Row or give the Key West Information Center a call to connect you with a guide.

Dive Right In
SCUBA diving is an extremely immersive way to experience the coral reef. In order to do this, you’ll need to be PADI certified, which you can do while on vacation in Key West. For both certification and dive trips, seek out Captain’s Corner and their Sea Eagle dive boat. Most of their daily dive trips will have you in waters between 25 and 40 feet deep, discovering all of the thriving marine life around you.

Dolphin Watch Tours

There’s a good chance that you’ll spot a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins on any offshore excursion in Key West. That’s because these marine mammals breed in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico in an area that’s become known as the Dolphin Playground. On a Dolphin Watch Tour you’re practically guaranteed to spot these graceful and playful porpoises surfing in the boat’s wake and splashing around nearby. Dolphins in the wild are always a thrilling sight!

Standup Paddleboarding & Kayaking

For a chilled out approach to experiencing Key West’s marine life, consider a standup paddleboard or kayak rental from Lazy Dog at Hurricane Hole Marina. From there, you’ll wind through mangroves in the shallow waters of the backcountry. Keep your eyes peeled for conch shells, starfish, Cassiopeia (upside down jellyfish) and maybe even a friendly manatee.

When touring the Atlantic Shores exhibit of the Key West Aquarium, you will notice a large tank off to the side housing juvenile American Alligators and some Red Slider friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Did These Alligators on Exhibit Come From?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The juvenile alligators are on loan from the Everglades Alligator Farm located in Homestead, Florida. Every September we adopt 3 juveniles from the farm for this educational exhibit. After a year we return them to the farm and adopt a new trio of juveniles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8427

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The average size for an adult female American Alligator is 8.2 ft and the average size for a male is 11.2 ft. Large males can reach weight of half a ton or 1,000 lbs. Both males and females have an “armored” body, with the skin on the back covered with embedded bony plates called osteoderms or scutes. Alligators have a long snout with upward facing nostrils at the end; this lets them breathe while the rest of the body is underwater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reproduction:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both males and females reach sexual maturity when they are about 6 ft long, a length attained at about 10-12 years. Breeding takes place during the night, in shallow waters. Males roar to attract females and to ward off other males. Courtship starts in April, with mating occurring in early May. Then, around late June and early July, the female lays 35 to 50 eggs. Some females lay up to 90 eggs. The sex of the juveniles is determined by the temperature of the nest: above 93ºF all are male, below 86ºF all are female, and temperatures in between will produce both sexes. Toward the end of August, the young alligators begin to make high-pitches noises from inside of the egg. This lets the mother know that it is time to remove the nesting material. When the alligator hatches it measures about 6 to 8 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Distinguish a Crocodile From an Alligator:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AC teeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The easiest way to distinguish an alligator from a crocodile is by looking at the teeth. The large fourth tooth in the lower jaw of an alligator fits into a socket in the upper jaw and is not visible when the mouth is closed. This does not happen in crocodiles. Alligators have between 74 and 80 teeth in their mouth at a time. As teeth wear down they are replaced. an Alligator can go through 2,000 to 3,000 teeth in a lifetime.

 

 

AC shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution and Habitat:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocodilians are carnivorous. They eat fish, snails and other invertebrates birds, frogs, and mammals that come to the water’s edge. They use their sharp teeth to seize and hold prey. Small prey is swallowed whole. If the prey is large, crocodilians shake it apart into smaller manageable pieces. If it is very large, crocodilians bite it and then spin on the long axis of their bodies to tear off easily swallowed pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?

Although alligators have no vocal cords, males bellow loudly to attract mates and warn off other males by sucking air into their lungs and blowing it out in intermittent, deep-toned roars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The alligator became the official state reptile of Florida in 1987.

Red-bellied sliders may sometimes deposit their eggs in alligator nests.

Crocodilians are unusual among reptiles in providing maternal care to their young.

The greatest threat to the American alligator is not hunting or poaching, it is currently destruction of habitat; this includes water management systems and increased levels of mercury and dioxins in the water.

Learn About Key West Dolphins

December 30th, 2015

Bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds of over 18 miles an hour. They surface often to breathe (two or three times a minute).

Bottlenose dolphins travel in groups and communicate with each other by a complex system of squeaks and whistles, and track their prey through the expert use of echolocation. They can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second. These sounds travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back to their dolphin senders, revealing the location, size, and shape of their target.

The bottlenose dolphin often feeds on bottom-dwelling fish, and sometimes eat shrimp and squid.

Dolphins are threatened by commercial fishing for other species, like tuna, and can become mortally entangled in nets and other fishing equipment.

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