• Beach walkway to white sandy beach and bluegreen waters

    Gulf Islands

    National Seashore FL,MS

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  • Partial Closure on Horn Island

    Small portion of Horn Island, Mississippi, closed to entry due to discovery of asbestos and possible other bio hazards. Click on more for map and press release. More »


Northern river otter running down the white sand beach.

River otter on the beach at Fort Pickens.

Tom Messerall

There is an opportunity to see land and sea mammals at Gulf Islands National Seashore. You can spot bottlenose dolphins from the beaches or see cotton rats, foxes, beavers, armadillos, raccoons and river otters at the Fort Pickens Area. The endangered Perdido Key Beach Mouse is found only on Perdido Key and the Santa Rosa Beach Mouse inhabits areas on Santa Rosa Island.

Two gray bottlenose dolphin with their heads out of the water.

Bottlenose dolphin spy-hopping.

Carrie S. Barry

Raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, river otters, swamp rabbits, nutrias, and black rats can be seen in the Davis Bayou Area in the Mississippi District. Atlantic bottle-nose dolphins are often seen while taking the passenger ferry from Gulfport, MS to West Ship Island.

Most mammals are terrestrial but some, including manatees, whales, and dolphins live in the water. Other mammals, like seals, come to land only to breed.

Did You Know?

Rare Kemp's Ridley sea turtle hatchling moving towards the Gulf.

Of the seven species of sea turtles, four species nest at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Sea turtle hatchlings instinctively head for areas of brighter light. Artificial lighting causes thousands of hatchling deaths each year.