Wildlife & Habitat

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Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge serves as a beacon of hope that wild places can still exist in South Florida. It is an outstanding example of an Atlantic coastal ridge and barrier island environment - where the wide variety of habitats supports an even richer diversity of plants and animals.

  • Habitat

    Habitat WH

    The Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge is characterized by a subtropical climate. Various habitats flourish here, from Atlantic coastal dune and beach on Jupiter Island to unique sand pine scrub and hammock on the mainland. Running along the shore of the Indian River Lagoon are communities of mangroves. The freshwater and saltwater habitats are important to many species of wildlife listed as either threatened or endangered.

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  • Birds

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    There are over 175 species of birds that call the Refuge home, which is famous for the neotropical migratory bird populations that travel through Hobe Sound as part of the Atlantic Flyway, a major migratory route. Seabirds forage and shorebirds nest seasonally on the beach, while other birds live throughout the Refuge all year round. What species will you see when you come to visit?

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  • Mammals


    Mammals of all sizes can be found on the Refuge. A manatee, larger than a human, might surface from underwater, or an Eastern spotted skunk could scurry underfoot. The majority also have fur, which allows them to maintain a constant body temperature.

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  • Reptiles


    Reptiles found on the Refuge include turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards. These animals are notoriously good at camouflage, so be sure to keep a sharp eye out for them.

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  • Non-native and invasive species

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    There are many threats to the integrity of South Florida’s delicate ecosystems, but none as pervasive and threatening as non-native, invasive plants and animals. After habitat destruction, invasive plants are the next biggest threat to biodiversity. Non-native species are not native to an ecosystem and which cause, or are likely to cause, economic and environmental harm or harm to human health. Our natural resources are threatened by the disruption in ecological processes caused by invasive species. Treatment and management of invasive species has been identified as one of the highest priorities within the National Wildlife Refuge System.