Driving along 30A after dark is always challenging. Because of lighting restrictions the area is usually pitch-black, leaving one grateful that the deer grazing just inches off the roadway actually stay in place.
Repeated sightings of a large cat-like animal made me curious enough to do a little research, and from the descriptions it is possible these residents may have seen a jaguarundi.
Although it is native to both North and South America, it seems to exist today mostly in the Amazon Basin. It is postulated that if the species does exist in Florida it was introduced near Chiefland after a writer imported some of them and released them near his home. In the last century sightings have been reported in Florida and in coastal Alabama as well.
These animals have long bodies with short legs and a distinctively long tail; they range in size from 21-30 inches in length with the tail nearly as long as the body. They weigh 8-20 pounds and may be brownish-gray or chestnut red in color.
Although they are diurnal (active during the day) most sightings around this area seem to be at night. Neighbors near our community pool described an animal much like a jaguarundi running around the perimeter of the pool enclosure in daylight, but most other sightings describe the animal's running wildly across 30A in the headlights. The long tail seems to be the most memorable feature of the encounter.
These shy and reclusive animals are a threat only to rodents, small reptiles and a some ground-feeding birds. If they truly do exist here in South Walton County they may only give us a fleeting glance of their existence, adding to the mystical environment we call home here in Santa Rosa Beach.
Author:Joyce Hogue Phone: 850-841-0083 Dated: April 12th 2018 Views: 78 About Joyce: Joyce brings to her real estate practice her well-honed communication and analytical skills from thr...
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Coming from the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama to live on the Gulf Coast for the past 31 years from Pensacola to Mobile and now to Walton County, my wonderful husband and I continue to enjoy the slower pace and southern hospitality. When our son joined the Navy in 2011 we chose to write the next chapter of our adventure here; to our delight, this place we enjoy as home has offered more surprises with community and values that make it even more special than we imagined.
With a 12 year background as a mortgage loan officer, it has been important to me to understand the many facets of this Florida market of primary residences, second homes and investment properties. As a result, I pursue community activities and I continue to learn by earning my designations of CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) and GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute).
I’d love to help you find your “HOME” here whether from Destin, Sandestin to Santa Rosa Beach and 30A… “There’s No Dream Too Big and No House too Small”
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