Wildlife at the Beach

A beach mouse on the dune.

The white sands at the William J. "Billy Joe" Rish Recreation Area are anchored by sea oats (Uniola paniculate) and bitter panicgrass (Panicum amarum). Beach morning glory (Ipomoea imperati) covers the front dune. Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides), myrtle oak trees (Quercus myrtifolia) and woody goldenrod (Chrysoma pauciflosculosa) are present but show the effects of the harsh elements of salt, sun, wind and rain. Here, you'll find six-lined racers, monarch butterflies, snowy plovers and coachwhip snakes.

Beach mice live on the beaches of Florida and Alabama just above the high-tide line. Beach mice occur only in dune habitats.

Beach mice are small and pale with large ears and dark eyes. The pale coloration is thought to be an adaptation to the white sands of their coastal habitat.

When visiting the park beaches, please do not walk on the sand dunes as this causes them to break down and wash away faster. Also, take any trash home with you and pick up after others as well!