Raccoon - Procyon lotor
The raccoon is known as a bandit, not just because of its foraging abilities, but because it acts like a burglar. They are stealthy, quiet, and have mask-like markings on the fur around their eyes. They are so quiet, you will probably never see them unless you are very quiet.
Raccoons are omnivorous, meaning that they eat both plants and meat, and most anything in between. They are susceptible to many different diseases, including rabies and distemper, though it is fairly rare. Regardless, it is best to watch them from a distance and not have any contact with them at all.
The raccoon is one of the most adaptable and widespread native mammals in both the United States and in Mead Garden.
Virginia opossum - Didelphis virginiana
The Virginia opossum is known widespread as the "Possum." It is a marsupial, one of the few in the United States, which means that when it has young, it carries them around in a pouch by its belly.
It has a brain smaller than most animals its age, and it is apparently less intelligent. When threatened, the possum hisses or plays dead.
They eat almost anything, from carrion to grass. The opossum is one of the most adaptable and widespread native mammals in both the United States and in Mead Garden.
Gray squirrel - Sciurus carolinensis
A gray squirrel's territory generally covers less than two acres, but in Mead Garden, they wander the entire park.
They eat acorns, seeds, fruits, and other vegetation. It's not know for gray squirrels to eat meat, but under certain circumstances, they will.
They live about six years.
Flying squirrel - Glaucomys sabrinus
The flying squirrel is common in urban areas like Mead Garden. Squirrels occur in woodland and urban areas, especially near oaks and hickories, and are active during the day, often feeding on the ground.
Flying squirrels don't actually fly but glide, from tree to tree, or down to the ground as a means of escape. They eat the same foods that the gray squirrel does.
The Flying squirrel is about half the size of a gray squirrel and will have 2 to 3 babies per year.
River otter - Lontra canadensis
The river otter is a long, elongated water loving animal found throughout Florida, except in the Keys. It's legs are short and have webbed toes for swimming. The ears appear large on it's small flattened head.
River otters seem to prefer fresh water, and can be in rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, and swamps. Otters live in burrows on the bank of the water body, often under the roots of a tree.
They normally feed on animals such as crayfish and fish.
Seminole Bbat - Lasiurus seminolus
Seminole bats are closely related to the Eastern red bat and are very similar in appearance. Their wingspan is 11 to 13", and a body length between 1.8 and 2.7".
The Seminole bat is a solitary animal. It usually roosts in pine trees and Spanish moss.
This bat is insectivorous, meaning that it feeds on moths, beetles, tree bugs, flies, and other insects. It can be seen hunting for insects around streetlights.
Females usually give birth to three or four pups, but may give birth to only one or two. The young are normally born in mid-May through mid-June.
Marsh rabbit - Sylvilagus floridanus
The marsh rabbit is smaller than the cottontail rabbit, and has smaller ears. It is usually brown or light brown in color.
The marsh rabbit is nocturnal, foraging at night for food. It eats sugar cane, cattail, rushes, and the leaves and twigs of woody plants.
During the day, the marsh rabbit is hidden in a shallow depression called a "form", dug from the soil beneath dense brush or other vegetation.
Major predators of marsh rabbits include hawks, owls and alligators. The young are often eaten by feral cats or large snakes.
Feral Cat - Felis catus
Feral cats are cats that are either born in the wild from stray cats, or cats that are turned lose by their previous owners. Feral cats do not have a home and live in the wild.
These cats are not tame and carry many diseases. They also prey on local wildlife. A single feral cat can kill 100 birds or small mammals per year. These cats are not part of the natural eco-system.
They look just like a cat you may see in your neighborhood, but they are not to be touched or caught. These cats are sometimes fed by people who think they are helping the cat. They often carry rabies.
Source: Michael McDaniel, Eagle Scout Project - BSA Troop 62 - 2007.