Florida's Gulf Coast is the ideal habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. Multiple ecosystems meet in the area. Florida is most often associated with alligators and other reptiles, but the area is home to innumerable species of birds, mammals, and other creatures.
Although they may look desolate to the untrained eye, the palmetto scrubs of Florida host gopher tortoises, rabbits, white tailed deer, and several species of snakes. This habitat can be found throughout Florida, especially inland.
Mangroves form where fresh water flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Mangrove trees are easily distinguished by their high prop roots and pencil-like seeds. Mangroves are home to over 200 species of fish, 181 species of birds, 24 reptiles and amphibians, and 18 mammals. Crabs and oysters are also plentiful in the mangroves.
Around freshwater like lakes and rivers and in low lying areas, you'll often find cypress swamps. Home to Florida alligators, along with many other reptiles and amphibians, the cypress swamp offers a look at what Florida might have looked like eons ago. Florida's fresh waters teem with fish and make the ideal home for aquatic birds.
Meanwhile Florida's marine life is also incredibly diverse. The Gulf of Mexico holds innumerable fish of all shapes and sizes, from tiny baitfish to snapper, tuna, dolphins, and sharks. Other marine life, such as sand dollars, sea anemone, clams, crabs, and scallops also reside in Gulf waters. Dolphin watching is a popular pastime, and from December to March right whales are sometimes spotted as they migrate. Fishing enthusiasts should check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for information about getting a fishing license and what's in season.