pictured is a couple of endangered key deer. your chances of seeing key deer on big pine key is very good. there approximately 800 key deer on this small island. the two main attractions of big pine key is the national key deer refuge and the looe key coral reef.
the blue hole on big pine key is part of the national key deer refuge. this small lake was originally a stone quarry. there is a nature trail at blue hole where you may see alligators, key deer, and other wildlife.
big pine key is home to the 9,200 acre national key deer refuge. key deer are a subspecies of the southern white tailed deer and are listed as an endangered species. there are an estimated 800 key deer in the refuge. the national key deer refuge visitor center a good place to learn about key deer and get information about the refuge and other lower keys natural attractions. the visitor center is located in the big pine key shopping center.
looe key is one of the best diving and snorkeling reefs in the keys. also off shore fishing is excellent just off of looe key. pictured is the big pine key fishing lodge marina. this full service marina is an excellent place to begin your visit to looe key.
One time after the flea market we drove out to No Name Key in the Key Deer Refuge. We actually did see a Key Deer in the flesh. Unfortunately my camera battery was running low, and I did not get a better picture than this. I know you can't see the deer in this pictures although it is a good picture of the road. The car ahead had stopped and was taking movies or video tape.
The Key deer are the smallest of the 28 subspecies of Virginia white-tailed deer. Bucks range from 28-32" at the shoulder and weigh an average of 80 lbs. Does stand 24-28" at the shoulder and weigh an average of 65 lbs.
Satellite refuges administered as part of the complex include: Crocodile Lake NWR, Great White Heron NWR and Key West NWR.