Marco loves its wildlife! All of Marco is a protected area for the land tortoise and the burrowing owl, and the populations are growing fast! As you drive around Marco, be sure to watch for yellow caution tape in various vacant lots for a glimpse of our famous owls, and take heed when you see a tortoise crossing sign as the roads are part of their habitat.
The gopher tortoise likes to dig burrows in dry habitats, making them unique amongst tortoises. A key fact you should know: tortoises live on land, not in water (like turtles). If you happen to see one crossing the road, please DO NOT take it to the water because they cannot swim.
When you see yellow caution tape, these mark the protected habitat of the burrowing owls. The burrowing owl is a small, pint-sized bird. One of Florida’s smallest owls, this bird averages nine inches in height, with a wingspan of 21 inches. Instead of nesting in the trees, as most birds do, the Burrowing Owl gets its name from living underground in burrows. It digs its own holes or lives in abandoned gopher tortoise burrows.
Marco Island is one of the few places where these creatures can be observed in close proximity. Please be respectful, as these animals and their burrows are protected under state law.