Our national bird lives on the preserve near large, open bodies of water and nests in its old-growth trees.
Southeastern big-eared bat: This tiny bat has ears as long as its body; they serve as “radar dishes” and seem to rotate on the bat’s head.
Cypress: This huge tree, with a lifespan of hundreds of years and a diameter up to 10’, thrives in the wetlands and lakesides of The Disney Wilderness Preserve.
Sherman’s fox squirrel: Sporting a white nose and ears, this huge squirrel may weigh more than 2 pounds. It inhabits only oak hammocks and longleaf pine forests.
Fallflowering ixia: Also known as Nemastylis floridana, it produces stunning, large deep-blue fall flowers that bloom for only a few hours in the afternoon.
Florida scrub-jay: The state’s only endemic bird, meaning it lives nowhere else on Earth, is a friendly and charismatic creature requiring high, sandy scrub habitat
Gopher tortoise: Habitat is dramatically declining for the tortoise, whose deep, wide burrow provides safety to more than 360 other species.
Longleaf pine: Although longleaf pine trees themselves are not rare, the larger ecosystem is very threatened. Frequent burns are critical to their health.
Wood stork: This large wading bird with a featherless head has a large rookery at the Disney Wilderness Preserve – one of the most closely researched in the U.S.
Catesby’s lily: This rare flower (Lilium catesbaei) is also known as pine lily. It requires the regular occurrence of fire upon the land. Check out other species in Florida that depend on fire.
Sandhill crane: The adult sandhill crane has a 6–8 feet wingspan, making it able to soar for hours. Cranes are often spotted near the entrance to the preserve.
Crested caracara: Florida is one of the northernmost areas where this threatened bird of prey, from the falcon family, is routinely seen.