10 Animals We Saw While Camping in Ocala National Forest, FL

Wildlife is abundant in Ocala National Forest. Thousands of visitors and residents enjoy the abundance of wildlife that resides in this national forest each year. There is also a variety of nature activities which provide up close and personal access to these animals. Some of these activities include camping, hiking and photographing these amazing creatures.

The Ocala National Forest is well known for its miles of trails and ancient trees. The natural beauty of the forest has made it a popular tourist destination and vacation spot in Florida.

Here are the beauties we saw on a camping and hiking trip we went on recently!

Florida black bears 

The Florida black bear is an endangered species that lives in the Ocala National Forest and other parts of the state. The bears are mainly black and have a white chest patch. They are about the same size as American black bears, but their fur is longer, shaggier and darker in color.

Florida black bears live in all four corners of the state, but most prefer open areas like forests and swamps. They are also found in residential areas as well as national parks like Ocala National Forest FL.

These bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists mostly of fruit, nuts and insects, but they will also eat rodents, birds and eggs if they find them available. They rarely attack humans unless provoked or protecting their young.


Alligators are an incredible part of Florida’s history and culture.

This native species has been around for millions of years, but it wasn’t until recently that they have become more visible to the general public. That’s because their habitat has shrunk dramatically as Florida has become more developed.

The good news is that there are still plenty of places where alligators can be seen in the wild. One such place is Ocala National Forest FL, which sits in Central Florida between Orlando and Gainesville.


The Ocala National Forest is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florida. It is a great place to hike and camp, but it also has a history of coyote sightings.

Coyotes are omnivores which means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet varies depending on what is available in their habitat but can include insects, fruit, berries, rodents, reptiles, birds, eggs and even small deer!

White-tailed deer

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a medium-sized mammal found across North America, including in Ocala National Forest.

White-tailed deer are the most abundant and widely distributed North American land mammals. They live in forested areas, but also in cleared areas near water. White-tailed deer can be seen in Ocala National Forest, especially during the early morning and late afternoon hours.

Wild boar 

Ocala National Forest is a beautiful place to visit, but it is also a great place for wild boars. Wild boars are native to Florida and have been seen roaming the state for hundreds of years.

They are typically found in northern Florida near swamps or pine forests, but they can be seen throughout the state. Wild boars live in family groups called sounders that consist of one male and several females with their young.

They are very territorial and will defend their territory from other wild boar sounders during breeding season or when food sources become scarce.


The squirrels in Ocala National Forest FL are a very unique species. They have adapted to the forest over many years and are now a part of its ecosystem. As you walk through the forest, you may see them running up and down trees or hiding in your favorite spot for picnics.

The squirrels in Ocala National Forest FL have many different types of habitats, which range from oak forests to pine groves. They also live near streams and ponds so they can find food easily.

They have adapted their eating habits to include nuts and acorns, which they store in their burrows during the winter months when there is no food available.

Gopher tortoises

Gopher tortoises are omnivores that eat insects and plants. They feed on grasses, fruits and flowers in summer and dry leaves in winter. They also eat the roots of plants like wild onions or thistles; this helps control pests in those plant communities.

The gopher tortoise digs holes with its front legs to find food or water on hot days or when it’s too hot inside its burrow during cold weather (it also uses these holes for nesting). In addition to digging burrows, gopher tortoises also use these holes for shelter from predators or as hiding places for important activities such as mating or egg laying (they dig these


The Ocala National Forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bats. There are three species of bats in the Ocala National Forest: the eastern pipistrelle, northern long-eared myotis and southeastern myotis.

Bats are helpful because they eat insects that can be harmful to humans and other animals. The Ocala National Forest has an ongoing research project to learn more about bats and what they do in the forest.

River otters

The Ocala National Forest is home to many types of wildlife, including river otters. The river otter is an agile swimmer that can dive deep into water when searching for food. River otters feed on crayfish and fish, but they also eat frogs, snails and mussels. When foraging for food, a river otter will dive to depths of 20 feet or more in search of prey items.

River otters are not only found in forests but also in swamps, marshes and wetlands as well as along rivers and lakeshores. They prefer areas with plenty of cover such as thick vegetation or logs so they can hide from predators while sleeping or basking in sunlight during the day time hours.


Bobcats are solitary animals and can be difficult to spot. However, you may encounter a bobcat during your hike through the Ocala National Forest.

Bobcats are often mistaken for other species of wild cats. Their size is similar to that of an adult house cat, but they have larger ears, a shorter tail and different coloration.

The fur on their head, shoulders and back is reddish-brown with black spots on the ears and tail. The rest of their body is covered in dark brown fur with black-tipped hairs that give them their spotted appearance.

A Primer On The Wildlife Of Ocala National Forest: 10 Questions Answered

Ocala National Forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from black bears and white-tailed deer to bald eagles and river otters. But what other creatures can be found in this Florida oasis? In this blog article, we’ll consider 10 questions about the wildlife of Ocala National Forest, giving you a primer on some of its most interesting inhabitants!

Ocala National Forest is the southernmost national forest in the continental United States. The forest is located in central Florida, about an hour and a half’s drive north of Orlando. The forest covers 383,000 acres and is the second largest publicly-owned recreation area in Florida after the Everglades. Unlike the Everglades, which are largely wetlands, Ocala National Forest is mostly upland forests. The forest has a diverse array of plant and animal life. 

The Forest is home to dozens of species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish. The most popular animals in the forest are perhaps the white-tailed deer and the sandhill crane. Other notable animals include the American alligator, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and the Florida black bear. 

Ocala National Forest is also home to a number of rare or endangered species, including the manatee, the scrub jay, and the gopher tortoise.

What Kinds of Animals Live in the Ocala National Forest?

Ocala National Forest is home to a variety of animals, including white-tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, alligators, and river otters. There are also a number of smaller mammals such as raccoons, opossums, and squirrels. The forest is also home to a variety of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, and sandhill cranes.

Are There Dangerous Animals in the Ocala National Forest?

There are some dangerous animals in the Ocala National Forest, but they are not common. Alligators and snakes are the most likely to pose a threat to humans, but if you use caution and common sense you will be safe.

What Is the Best Time of Year to See Wildlife in the Ocala National Forest?

The best time of year to see wildlife in the Ocala National Forest is typically during the dry season, which runs from October through May. This is when animals are more likely to be active and visible, and when water sources are scarce, so they congregate around remaining watering holes. Keep an eye out for all sorts of animals, from deer and hogs to bears, alligators, and even panthers!

How Can I Observe Wildlife Safely in the Ocala National Forest?

There are a few things to keep in mind when you go out into the Ocala National Forest to observe wildlife:

-First and foremost, never approach or disturb wildlife. This includes making loud noises, trying to touch or feed them, or getting too close for comfort. Remember that these are wild animals and they can be dangerous if they feel threatened.

-Secondly, be sure to stay on marked trails and paths. This will help you avoid disturbing delicate ecosystems and also help keep you safe from potential hazards.

-Lastly, please remember to take all of your trash with you when you leave. This includes food wrappers, bottles, and cans. Litter can attract animals and cause them to become habituated to humans, which is dangerous for both the animals and us.

What Should I Do If I See an Animal While Hiking?

If you see an animal while hiking in the Ocala National Forest, the best thing to do is to stay calm and avoid any sudden movements. If the animal does not seem threatening, you can slowly back away from it and continue on your hike. If the animal does seem aggressive or if you feel like you are in danger, make a lot of noise by yelling or banging on something to scare it off. You should also try to put something between you and the animal, like a tree or large rock.

What Conservation Efforts Are being taken in Ocala?

The U.S. Forest Service is working hard to conserve the natural resources of Ocala National Forest. They are doing this through a number of different efforts, such as:

-Working with partners to thin overgrown forests and remove invasive species

-Restoring natural fire regimes

-Protecting and restoring critical habitats

-Improving water quality

-Providing public education and outreach


As you can see, there is a wide array of wildlife to enjoy when you visit the Ocala National Forest. The next time you are in the area, be sure to check out one of these nature hikes or activities. Be sure to bring your camera to capture your own unique photos of these animals. And remember, sharing is caring!

Ocala National Forest certainly has its fair share of wildlife. Whether you go camping, hiking or hunting, the wildlife viewing opportunities in this area are endless.

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