Although they are not the most commonly seen wildlife group on the Refuge, "Ding" Darling NWR is home to a number of charismatic mammal species. Mammals are characterized by having fur, producing milk, and being warm-blooded. Over 30 furry mammals can be spotted running around in the Refuge. Look for them in the marsh grass, swimming in the water, and up in the trees. View a comprehensive list of mammals that can be found in the Refuge.

  • Sanibel Island Rice Rat

    Sanibel Rice Rat

    (Oryzomys palustris sanibeli) The Sanibel Island rice rat, found only on Sanibel Island, is listed as a threatened species by the state of Florida due to habitat loss, predation, and competition.

    Learn more about the Refuge's Sanibel rice rat biological survey

  • Bobcat


    (Lynx rufus) Bobcats are the only big cat species native to the state of Florida other than the Florida panther (which is not found on Sanibel). Bobcat populations are stable and they are often mistaken for their famous larger cousin. Bobcats are active mostly at night, so keep an eye out during the later hours or early morning hours. 

    Learn more about the bobcat

  • Marsh Rabbit

    Marsh Rabbit

    (Sylvilagus palustris) As its name suggests, the marsh rabbit makes its home in the marshes and swamps of coastal areas. They are similar in size and color to the Eastern cottontail familiar to many Refuge visitors, though the marsh rabbit's ears are noticeably shorter. Marsh rabbits are known for being exceptionally strong swimmers.

  • Raccoon


    (Procyon lotor) Raccoons are a common sight along Wildlife Drive. Although known for being nocturnal, these masked rascals will often be out and about the Refuge during the day taking advantage of the low tides for a seafood snack. Raccoons are very social animals and will often be seen traveling around in family groups.

  • River Otter

    River otter

    (Lutra canadensis)  This medium-sized mammal with dark dense fur and long tail can be found bounding across the Indigo trail or playing in refuge waters.  Their short legs with webbed feet make them fast swimmers and helps catch fish, frogs and turtles.