Wildlife and Habitat
J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is teeming with wildlife. The refuge contains some of the most nutritionally rich habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals in an intricate food web.
There are over 245 different species of birds that call the refuge "home". It is famous worldwide for its spectacular migratory bird populations.
Learn more about our beautiful birds
As you venture through the refuge, keep your eyes out for mammals as big as a manatee surfacing the top of the water or as little as a rat scurrying through the leaves.
Discover our mammals
Watch for movement on the water's surface or through the brush on the forest floors. The reptiles at the Refuge are great at camouflage and can be very sneaky.
Identify our reptiles
The amphibians that we have here at the Refuge consist of frogs and toads. Listen for their calls and try to distinguish which ones are around you.
See our amphibians
Seagrass beds and mangrove forests serve as shelter, nursery, and feeding areas for many fish and other marine organisms at the Refuge.
Find out which fish call the Refuge home
Classified as animal species without a backbone, invertebrates at the Refuge can be found on mangrove trees, building webs, and flying around you.
Check out these backbone-less species
The refuge was initially created to help protect endangered and threatened species on Sanibel Island. With the ongoing efforts of our conservationists, you are able to see many of these species today.
Explore our endangered species
The refuge is located within an estuary, which creates some of the most nutritionally rich habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals. The extensive mangrove forests and productive seagrass beds provide the basis of their intricate food web.
Learn about our habitats
Invasive and Non-Native Species
A non-native invasive species is a plant or animal that is not native to an ecosystem and is likely to cause harmful effects to the environment or humans. There are many non-native invasive species of plants and animals on the Refuge.
Find out what these species are
Page Photo Credits Roseate Spoonbill- Wayne Kliewer, Raccoon - Theresa Baldwin, Diamond Backed Terrapin - Dick Stilwell, Green Treefrog - Steve Johnson (ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu), Cormorant eating mullet - Wayne Kliewer, Mangrove tree crab - Theresa Baldwin, Manatee - Theresa Baldwin, Cuban Treefrog - Steve Johnson
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2017