Key West Wildlife

The wildlife in the gorgeous region surrounding Key West is definitely something you will want to explore on your vacation to this tropical paradise. The warm, equatorial region is ideal for an array of different oceanic life to thrive. Here, the clear blue waters off the shores of Key West have become the natural habitat for hundreds of species of beautiful marine life. The coral reef system in Key West forms a complex ecosystem filled with tremendous biodiversity. Among the myriad of inhabitants, you will be astonished by the numerous and diverse species of reef fish that utilize the structures of the coral formations as shelter. The sheer number of fish that surround the only living coral reef in North America is certainly of mention - you will be overwhelmed by the schools of vibrant fish that shimmer as they speed through the underwater world in unison. Hundreds of species of fish coexist, even in only a small region of this living reef. If you choose to snorkel or snuba Key West dive this area rich with ocean life, you will be able to see up close the result of millions of years of co-evolution among algae, invertebrates and the abundant and various species of fish. In fact, coral reefs contain the most diverse collection of fish to be found anywhere on earth, as well as hard and soft corals, sponges, snails, jellyfish, anemones, crabs, spiny lobsters, sting rays, sea turtles, nurse sharks and other marine life. The coral reef off the shores of Key West is home to its own unique coral reef fish fauna, each species exhibiting its own dazzling colors and patterns. This is truly a sight to behold.

Another renowned inhabitant surrounding the island of Key West are the wild dolphins. These affable, highly intelligent marine mammals have forever captivated those who have gotten a chance to experience them in person. Found in the open waters of Key West, these creatures actively socialize in a well-known area that the locals like to call the Dolphin Playground. Here, dolphins can be observed in constant movement as they search for food and interact with one another in a playful manner. The shallow, clear waters with their remarkable visibility provide you with the perfect conditions to experience the dolphins in their natural habitat. Although there are several types of dolphin, the most common and well-known species, the Bottlenose Dolphin, inhabits these waters of Key West. This species lives only in warm, temperate climates, which is why so many of them call this region home. Witnessing these amazing cetaceans in their daily lives can easily be the highlight of any Key West vacation.