Perdido Key is known for inhabiting vast amounts of different wildlife and keeping the area natural and safe to cohabitate with its original residents!
Perdido Key Beach Mouse
The Perdido Key Beach mice inhabit the coastal dunes along with Perdido Key in both Escambia County, Florida, and Baldwin County, Alabama. The beach mice rely on the vegetation in dunes for food and shelter, some things that pose a risk to these endangered species include hurricanes, increased foot traffic, development along the beaches, and predation from cats, foxes, raccoons, and coyotes. The Perdido Key Beach Mouse is protected as an endangered species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a federally designated endangered species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.
When taking a stroll on the beautiful beaches of Perdido Key, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see sea turtles! Loggerhead sea turtles are the most prevalent in the area, although leatherback, ridley, and green sea turtles are also frequently seen in the summer months. One of the best places to spot sea turtles is at the Perdido Key State Park. Located just across the street from the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce, this protected area is a safe habitat for turtles and several other animals. Of course, all need to exercise caution when frolicking on the beach when these sea turtles are nesting. You shouldn’t interact with these creatures or interfere with their actions in any way, but you can observe from a distance. Nesting season runs the length of summer and ends in October. Baby sea turtles face many obstacles when leaving their nests- such as raccoons, crabs, birds, and fish. Sea turtle hatchlings use the light of the moon to guide themselves to the water but can get distracted by the bright lights from beach homes, condos, and businesses facing the beach. When walking the beach, make sure to follow turtle etiquette by using a red flashlight (turtle-safe lighting), avoid shining lights, or using flash photography. Fill in large holes and knock down sandcastles to leave a flat surface, and as always Leave No Trace behind by removing all tents, chairs, toys, and other obstacles from the beach at night!
The Perdido Area is a bird’s paradise! Located between two major fly zones, Gulf Islands National Seashore, the longest stretch of protected seashore in the country, is the first stop for hundreds of migrating birds and monarch butterflies flying north in the spring. The Perdido Area also features bays, bayous, beaches, rivers, and woodlands where more than 300 species of birds call home. So pick up those binoculars and come experience our great outdoors! (See popular Birds and Watching locations in Perdido!)
Also known as Sand Crab or Atlantic Ghost Carbs, the Ghost Crab can be seen scurrying along the shoreline between sunset and dawn. Their peak season is summertime from May to September. They live in tiny burrows about 4 feet deep and they try to hide from the sun as much as possible. Their two black eyes have sharp 360-degree vision, which helps them capture flying insects. Zooming at speeds up to 10 miles per hour these crabs know how to make tracks! Their white shells make them adapt to the white sand so it makes it harder for their predators to see them. Ghost crabs tunnel down for about four feet at a 45° angle, creating one- to two-inch-wide holes. At dusk, these crabs sprint into the ocean to obtain oxygen from the water, which washes over their gills. Females release their eggs into the ocean around the month of June. Ghost crabs hibernate during the winter, “holding their breath” for six months by storing oxygen in sacs near their gills. If you do decide to go on a crabbing adventure, we do urge you to use a gentle hand when observing these amazing little creatures and to definitely use the catch and release system.