Is Florida the wildest state? This list ranks it at the top for its thousands of species

Florida was just ranked as the best state in the U.S. to spot wildlife, confirming what most Floridians already knew: We live in a wild state.

African tour and safari company Go2Africa recently released a study that found the best countries and places in the world for wildlife spotting by analyzing the locations of almost 70 million photos from Flickr.

The U.S. didn’t make the list of top countries for spotting wildlife, but Florida took first place on the list of the best U.S. states for seeing wildlife.

Here’s why Florida placed first.

Which U.S. state has the most wildlife sightings?

According to Go2Africa’s study, Florida has the most photographic evidence of wildlife encounters, Texas places in second and California takes third place.

“Florida has a huge range of environments that are home to many colorful species from swamps to coral reefs,” the Sunshine State’s shoutout in the study said.

“The Florida panther, northern river otter, mink, white-tailed deer, bobcat, nine-banded armadillo, and Virginia opossum are all species you’d find within the state, making it a great spot for wildlife spotters to explore.”

Not to mention the not-so cute critters that might cross your path here, like Burmese pythons, alligators and water moccasins.

Best states to see wildlife

Here’s Go2Africa’s list of the states with the most opportunities to see wildlife:

  1. Florida: 34.31% of the 682,181 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  2. Texas: 18.53% of the 604,589 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  3. California: 14.71% of the 785,737 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  4. Alaska: 13.77% of the 616,856 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  5. Washington: 11.73% of the 668,404 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  6. Wyoming: 10.36% of the 531,591 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  7. Colorado: 9.9% of the 799,910 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  8. Oregon: 8.73% of the 780,385 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  9. Arizona: 7.42% of the 851,950 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

  10. New York: 7.24% of the 551,091 Flickr photos analyzed were of wildlife.

What are the most common animals in Florida?

Florida is the seventh-most biodiverse state in the country, according to The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service.

Since Florida has so many different habitats, like beaches, rivers, freshwater springs, forests and even caves, the kinds of animals that are most common will vary by region.

According to the FWC, “Florida is home to over 700 (species) of terrestrial animals, more than 200 freshwater fish, more than 1,000 marine fish, numerous other aquatic and marine vertebrates and many thousands of terrestrial insects and other invertebrates.”

Some of the most common animals you’ll see statewide are deer, raccoons, water birds, water moccasins, opossums and alligators.

In South Florida, iguanas are about as common as squirrels and frequent manatee and sea turtle sightings in intercoastal waterways and on beaches aren’t out of the ordinary.

Travel to the Florida Caverns near Tallahassee in northwest Florida, and you might spot a bat or a salamander.

You can read more about the many animals that share their habitat with Floridians here, on the FWC’s ‘wildlife’ page.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Florida's many animals make it the best state for spotting wildlife