You Can Help Key Deer – Leave Them Alone

The endangered Key deer, the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer found throughout much of North America, are perfectly adapted to surviving in the tropical island habitats of the lower Florida Keys. They feed on over 150 types of native plants that grow wild with some of their favorites being red mangrove, black mangrove seed pods, … Read more

7 Experiences to Savor Only in the Florida Keys

Florida Keys locals and in-the-know visitors often greet the news of some particularly offbeat happening by grinning, nodding and sagely murmuring, Only in the Florida Keys. FLORIDA KEYS — Florida Keys locals and in-the-know visitors often greet the news of some particularly offbeat happening by grinning, nodding and sagely murmuring, “Only in the Keys.” The phrase … Read more

Key Deer Refuge Preserving Organs from Dead Deer

As a backup plan to prevent species extinction, a federal agency has started harvesting reproductive organs from dead Key deer. The animals, only found in the Lower Keys, suffered a heavy blow to their population over the last few months from the flesh-eating New World screwworm. While the screwworm eradication effort has prompted the release … Read more

Plants Iguanas and Key Deer Ignore or Eat

Iguanas and Key Deer are plant eating animals and will eat many kinds of plants. In particular, they like flowering shrubs, like hibiscus, berries, fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, strawberries and figs. The best way for eliminating iguanas is to keep them out of the garden in the first place. This form of iguana control … Read more

Best stops on the Overseas Highway – Big Pine Key

Road trips don’t come more spectacular than the Overseas Highway. Sailing through tropical savanna over the Florida Straits, it links Miami on the mainland with the 180-kilometer-long Florida Keys island chain. Most visitors head straight to Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States, but if they stopped along the way they’d find secluded … Read more

Big Pine Key Man Charged With Shooting and Killing Key Deer

BY KEVIN WADLOW A Big Pine Key man confessed to the Friday shooting death of an endangered Key deer, state wildlife officers report. Grant M. Wilson, 33, was arrested Saturday on a felony count of killing a protected species. Officer Jeremy Foell of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated. “Mr. Wilson advised … Read more

Keys History 1954 – Save the Key Deer

The drive “Save the Key Deer” that started in 1950 issued a progress report. A survey when the drive began showed not more than 30 of the deer existed; in three years, the number had nearly tripled. Today: Estimates of the Key deer population have increased by about 60 percent from a 2004 estimate of 500 … Read more

Key Deer Reproduction

The breeding season, or rut, takes place in the fall and early winter. Most mating occurs in October. Pregnancy is about seven months or 200 days, with most fawns born between April and June. Fawns are tiny – only 2-4 pounds at birth. Most does have only one fawn per year. The males drop their antlers … Read more

Rockin’ Refuge Rangers – The National Key Deer Refuge

Rockin’ Refuge Rangers! The National Key Deer Refuge (NKDR) offers a series of free, kid-friendly, nature-oriented programs on Saturday mornings on Big Pine Key. Our Rockin’ Refuge Ranger events are open to all children in grades K-6 who are accompanied by parent or guardian. The programs will run from 9:45 am-12pm and will have an … Read more