While native wildlife use all parts of Naples Zoo as a haven, the Zoo also set aside a portion of the grounds to create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat™ and had it certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The site has all four elements required by certified sites including food, water, cover, and places to raise young.
Migratory Birds Nesting Nearby the Habitat
And by having their favorite food plants, the habitat is a popular spot to find wild butterflies flitting between flowers. The Zoo is also home to nesting boxes placed by the Bluebird Rescue Team Project. Beyond helping wildlife here, Naples Zoo provides this resource of inspiring ideas for you to create your own certified habitat. The program has tens of thousands of certified sites all over America. Click here to learn more.
Each year a variety of migratory birds nest in the trees above Alligator Bay adjacent to this area. The birds enjoy raising their chicks with the natural protection from nest raiders who stay away because of the giant reptiles. Nesting species include little blue herons, tricolored herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, anhingas, white ibis, common moorhens, and more. Many other species have been seen in the area but nests have not yet been confirmed. Stop by and see who's making their home here!
Backyard Bugs and Weeds
Although sometimes chemicals are a needed option at home and here in our historic garden, there are also natural ways to control pests and unwanted plants in your yard. Here in the gardens, we use a variety of natural methods to reduce pesticide use including plucking bugs by hand, washing plants down with a hose, pruning infested or diseased limbs, and using a soap solution. For unwanted plants, we will also pull weeds by hand (ideally before they set seed) and use landscape paper or mulch to stop weeds from returning in cleared areas. Get these and more tips from Audubon.
Exotics: The Good and the Bad
While we enjoy the ability to grow many tropical and subtropical plants in Southwest Florida, not all exotics are good. Without the natural controls from the places they're native to, some can grow so well they out compete native plants that local species depend on to survive. Learn more about which plants are good and which ones are not at the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Our Bigger Backyard: Local Waters
Locally, part of our backyard includes our beaches and waterways. Click here how to be a good neighbor to endangered sea turtles!
And to be a good neighbor by supporting fishermen and healthy fisheries, download the free Seafood Watch app to help you choose the best fish for your health and your coastal community.