National Key Deer Refuge

The refuge is on Big Pine Key, one of the largest of the Lower Keys and among the few with permanent sources of fresh water. Pinelands cover much of the island, with pockets of tropical hardwood hammock and a fringe of mangrove swamp. Fresh water and relatively abundant habitat are the primary reasons why Big Pine Key has the largest population of Key deer in the Keys. There are a few nature trails and an observation platform overlooking Blue Hole, an old quarry that has filled with fresh water.

Watchable wildlife:
Key deer are abundant, particularly along the road in early morning and evening. WATCH YOUR SPEED; MORE DEER DIE FROM ACCIDENTS WITH CARS THAN ANY OTHER REASON. DO NOT FEED THE DEER. Other wildlife you may see includes red-shouldered hawks, black racers, box turtles, and raccoons. Sea turtles and bottle-nosed dolphins are occasionally seen offshore if you venture out in a boat or canoe.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

(305) 872-0774

At Big Pine Key on U.S. Highway 1, turn north onto County Road 940 (Key Deer Boulevard).  Follow signs to the sites.

Related Sites:
Other Southeast Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks

FWC Facts:
Whooping cranes mate for life, but they will take a new mate after the loss of the original. The pair will return to use and defend the same nesting and wintering territory year after year.

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