As I ran the other night I thought it would be fun to share with you all the wildlife that I have seen as I ran. Here they are in order from lamest (or at least my least favorite) to the most exotic (or at least my favorite).

Squirrels – they are everywhere. So there is nothing special about seeing them, but I have seen them while running.

Lizards – those scampering little things literally are everywhere in Florida. Mundane as they may be, they are funny and awesome to me.

Snakes – thanks to the swampland that is Florida we have our share of snakes, some of which I have actually jumped over while running in the woods here in Florida.

Opossum – mean little cusses, you give these jokers a wide berth. They do kinda look like the Joker with that eerie grin on their faces, don’t they?

Raccoon – I saw this for the first time the other night… A mother raccoon and two little babies. I thought they were cats at first, but they didn’t act like cats… Then I realized they were raccoons.

Swans – not terribly special, but not something you see everywhere.

Ducks – they should have been listed closer to the top and other lame sightings.

Cows – see comments for ducks.

Deer – I am not 100% sure I’ve seen deer running in Florida, but I did come within 8 feet of one in the woods behind my old elementary school in Athens, Ga. last summer. I got no movement from the deer, except a head turn and a frightened look both times I passed it. I assured it both times it was safe from me. While mountain biking at San Felasco between Gainesville and Alachua Fl., I saw as many as 50 deer once. Given that the trail was a loop, I think there were some deer that got counted twice. Almost ran over a deer on that trail on my bike once.

Wild pigs – these are just cool to see/hear them running through the woods. Like the deer, I’m not 100% I’ve seen them running but have had numerous encounters on the San Felasco trail with my mountain bike.

Alligators – I used to run on this lake where I would daily see about 7 little baby gators in overflow retention ponds for the lake. I even once saw a 5 footer on the bank about 6 feet away from me. Gators are cool, and they are literally in every body of water. In Florida, you don’t swim in random bodies of water, unless you want to be gator lunch. No exaggeration.

Sandhill cranes – my favorite of all of Florida’s wildlife. These things are just amazing. They travel in family groups and are highly communal. We can learn a lot from the community of cranes. They look majestic, care for their young as a family, and will eat a hot dog out of your hand. They are allegedly endangered so you can’t hurt them. They communicate with each other through wing flaps, body movements and loud calls. They remind of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park 3.

And the last animal I have seen while running in Florida is the Skunk Ape – Florida’s version of Bigfoot. No, I haven’t actually seen one… But it’d be cool I guess. They say it smells terribly, I think people say cause when they see one they poop their pants. I know I would.

I hope you enjoyed the journey of wildlife seen by Eli while running.

What wildlife have you seen?

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