Florida Scrub-jay
Florida Scrub-jay

The loop trail offers pleasant hiking through several of the dominant plant communities. Florida scrub-jay and gopher tortoise are common in the oak scrub. Seasonal wetlands host ibis, egrets, herons, wood storks and Florida sandhill cranes. Look for deer, turkey, and fox squirrels in the pine flatwoods. Hikers may leave the loop trail and follow service roads to the western side of the area to reach the mature pine flatwoods where they might see red-cockaded woodpeckers. Cavity trees are marked and are easy to spot. Open areas, such as former pastures, attract southeastern kestrels, Florida sandhill cranes, and northern harriers (winter).

You may request a copy or download or print the Platt Branch Bird List Adobe PDF.


Wildlife Spotlight: Florida Mouse

True to its name, the Florida mouse is found nowhere else in the United States. Considered fairly large, as mice go, this Florida rodent is seven to eight inches long from nose to tip of tail. It also has relatively large ears and hind feet, compared to other species of mice. Fur on the upper side of the body is tawny or brownish, with buff-colored (golden brown) patches on the shoulders and lower sides, while the feet and underside of the body and tail are white. How to identify the rare Florida mouse.

photo of Florida mouse
Florida Forest Service
Anne Malatesta
Florida Mouse

The Florida mouse is found in sandy upland habitats such as scrub or sandhill. It occurs in peninsular Florida from the north central portion of the state, south to Highlands and Sarasota counties and along the Atlantic coast from St. Johns to Palm Beach counties. The species has a spotty distribution, which results from its need for specific upland habitats, much of which have been lost to development. Population size can vary considerably, but typically is larger on larger sites with higher quality habitat.

Because the Florida mouse is usually found in association with gopher tortoises and their burrows, it is sometimes called the gopher mouse. Within the main gopher tortoise tunnel, the Florida mouse locates a spot where it digs a small tunnel and nest chamber. This species is active at night. Acorns are a favorite food, but seeds, berries, mushrooms, and insects also are eaten. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists the Florida mouse as a Species of Special Concern. Regular prescribed burning in fire dependent ecosystems benefit both the Florida mouse and the hundreds of other animals that depend on the gopher tortoise burrow for food and refuge.


Platt Branch Bird List Adobe PDF
Wildlife Viewing Tips

FWC Facts:
Agility, speed, power. These are fitting words describing the flight of the peregrine falcon, the world's fastest bird.

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