Wildlife and Habitat


Flights of waterfowl landing in the sloughs and oxbows each winter serve as a reminder of the Little River National Wildlife Refuge's primary purpose to preserve the bottomland hardwood forests for migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway. 

In addition to the plentiful mallards arriving for a winter stay, gadwall, wigeon and green-winged teal also seek the forested waters. Wood ducks remain throughout the summer to nest in cavities within large cypress trees.

Your first glimpse of white-tailed deer might be of tails raised and waving as they bound off into the forest shadows, where bobcats prowl largely unseen. Beaver slap their tails on ponds created by their finely engineered dams. Raccoons leave hand-shaped prints on muddy river banks and swamp rabbits readily leap into the water for faster travel or to make their escape. Gray squirrels prosper in forests laden with acorns & nuts. Try sitting quietly in one good location. Let wildlife get used to your presence. Many animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone. Walk quietly in designated areas, being aware of sounds and smells. Often you will hear more than you will see.

Snakes play a vital role in the hardwoods ecology by preying on rodents and other small creatures. The poisonous cottonmouth is a common snake found slithering within the wetland forested habitat. While timber rattlers, western pygmy rattlers and copperheads all find a home on the refuge, your chance of encountering these retiring reptiles is slim.

Download the refuge's bird brochure and check list here.  Additional species list can be found here.