Species Info

All pictures are from the study, meaning some are not a great view! If better pictures are taken they will be updated!

Creature Feature

North American River Otter

Although this species is native throughout the United States, many people may never see a North American River otter. In the same family as ferrets, weasels, and badgers, these animals are capable of living in almost any freshwater aquatic habitat. Their diets are mainly composed of fish but can eat amphibians and crustaceans.

Overhunting, pollution, and general habitat loss have affected the population of North American River Otters. The Clean Water and Air Act have helped the environments these animals live in recover, and protecting lands for state and national parks has helped bring the population of River Otters back.

North American River otters have only been seen on one camera, the Main Road Cut. The most we have seen at one time was three otters in one shot! Otters play an essential role in Fort De Soto’s ecosystem, so please keep your distance if you see one and observe from a distance!

Like most animals, the North American River Otter's range has slowly decreased as more human development occurs. This species is listed as Least Concern on the ICUN Red List and has many protections from the United States Government.

Check out this Video of a River Otter right here in Fort De Soto!

All Species Photographed at Fort De Soto


Raccoons are omnivores meaning they will eat plenty of different food sources. They also are also generally more comfortable being around humans, meaning you might see them in your backyard.

We have seen Raccoons on almost every camera, although they are most common at the campground!

Virginia Opossum

Virginia Opossums are North Americas only marsupial, meaning the young are born much earlier and feed from the mother. They also also have an interesting smell, which helps with there famous defense mechanism, playing dead!

Just like Raccoons, we have seen Virginia Opossums on almost every camera!

Nine-Banded Armadillo

Although Nine-Banded Armadillos, aren't able to completely curl up into a ball, their armor definitely protects them from many predators. They also commonly will have quadruplets.

We mainly see these Armadillos on Saltmarsh cameras, make sure to look at the Dirt Road Saltmarsh and the Old Pier Saltmarsh!

Laughing Gull

Native to North and South America, Laughing gulls are recognizable by their black head and funny sounding call. Being an omnivore, shellfish, fish, and human garbage all make up parts of their diet.

Seen mainly at the Dog Beach, next time you are at Fort De Soto, check it out!

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Although they are rarely seen, Yellow-Crowned Night Herons stalk for their food. Having a grey and black body, along with a striking yellow crown, these birds are easy to identify when you do see them.

Heading to a marshy area is your best bet, but they can be seen all throughout Fort De Soto!

Black-Crowned Night Heron

The most wide spread heron species, these birds are identifiable by there black, gray, and white plumage. They eat fish, crabs, and other small creatures, by stalking though water.

Although they are seen all over the park, they are skeptically of people so seeing one might be hard!

White Ibis

Although they used to be lower in numbers, White Ibis populations around Fort De Soto have increased dramatically over the past few years. You can identify a White Ibis by their white feathers and reddish/orangish face.

Just walk around the park if you want to see one of these beautiful birds!

Chucks-Will Widow

Only seen once on camera, the Chucks-Will Widow is a sight to see. They are only seen at night so you probably won't see one here, but if you are camping at the park over night you might hear its extraordinary call!

Great Blue Heron

One of North Americas largest birds as well as one of the most widespread, Great Blue Herons are hard to spot with their grayish blue color, but once you see one you can't miss it!

Try going to the marshy areas or near water if you want to catch a glimpse of them!

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, this is one of the largest species of sea turtle. Mainly eating mollusks, they sometimes will come on shore to lay their eggs.

If you see one here, make sure to keep your distance!

*Hard to tell from the image but that is a Loggerhead Sea turtle*

Marsh Rabbit

Marsh Rabbits are often found near water and are strong swimmers. They are herbivores and eat many different kinds of plants and are most active during night.

They are found all throughout the park, make sure to keep your eyes close to the ground!

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owls are North America's most common owl species. They don't actually have horns, instead it is tufts of feathers that can stick up. They hunt for their food by flying with their silent wings.

Make sure to listen and you might hear their hoot!