Wildlife Comes First

As the name implies, this refuge is a place where wildlife always takes priority over humans. As noted below, St. Marks is a home for endangered and rare species, several of which nest and raise their young here. St. Marks’ biologists will close certain sections of hiking trails on the refuge during the breeding season to ensure that breeding activities are not interrupted. Always be respectful of wildlife and observe from a distance.

An Abundance of Wildlife

A list of 38 species of amphibians, 69 species of reptiles and 44 species of mammals have been compiled from observations, consultation with experts in respective fields, and literature research.

Some species are more common seasonally and some are nocturnal. Look for evidence such as tracks, burrows, grass tunnels and other signs of activity. Careful eyes and attentive ears can uncover numerous clues to the variety of wildlife present.

St. Marks is also an important sanctuary for birds. Over 250 species occur annually and the total number of species recorded here is over 350. Read more about the birds of St. Marks and birding in the Refuge.

St. Marks is a daylight use only refuge. However, if you are with a ranger on a night tour, remember that night spotting of animals with artificial lights is prohibited.

A Refuge for Endangered Species

The St. Mark's NWR provides nesting habitat for these federal and state endangered and threatened birds:

  • The Southern Bald Eagle

  • Least Tern

  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Other endangered or rare species include

  • Frosted Flatwoods Salamander

  • Woodstork

  • Swallow-tailed Kite

  • Peregrine Falcon

  • American Alligator

  • Eastern Indigo Snake

  • Florida Black Bear

Visitors may also observe Loggerhead Sea Turtles and West Indian Manatees offshore from the lighthouse.

Many state-listed threatened and endangered plants are also found on the refuge.