Shark Attacks, Pardoned Pig, Manatee Mom: FL's Top 2020 Animals

Tiffany Razzano

FLORIDA — It’s been a crazy year for everyone, including Florida’s animals. Here are some of the top animal stories Patch readers enjoyed in 2020.

Rescued Sarasota Manatee Had Big Mother’s Day Surprise: Video

A 1,700-pound manatee rescued near the Harbor Towers Yacht & Racquet Club on Siesta Key in early May turned out to be packing a big Mother's Day surprise. She was pregnant.

Mayor Pardons Pig In New South Florida Christmas Tradition

Chans the pig was saved from the butcher block. This young pig, rescued from a Homestead slaughterhouse, was pardoned by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava outside Latin Café's Brickell location just before Christmas.

Venomous Water Moccasin Bite Captured On Door Camera

The moment a venomous water moccasin snake struck a Florida man was caught on a video doorbell camera. The incident happened recently in a housing complex less than 25 miles from Miami.

Fort Lauderdale Cops Chase Runaway Kangaroo

Fort Lauderdale police received a call about a runaway kangaroo in July and traced the two-year-old named Jack to a residential neighborhood.

Baby Koala Sees World For First Time At Zoo Miami

A cuddly baby koala, named Hope in honor of the wildfires ravaging its Australian homeland, emerged from its mother's pouch for the first time last January at Zoo Miami, marking the first surviving koala born here in 28 years and only the third in the zoo's history.

No Kidding: “Owner of a Lonely Goat” Sought In Florida

On New Year’s Day 2020, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office found a goat walking the streets of Bradenton. A radio station decided to lend a helping hoof with a musical public service announcement.

Video: 87 Sea Turtle Hatchlings Rescued From Storm Drain

A nest of 87 logger head sea turtle hatchlings became disoriented and fell into a Clearwater storm drain in July. They were discovered by the Sea Turtle Patrol Team from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which spends nesting season from May 1 to Oct. 31, watching over sea turtle nests and watching out for baby sea turtles in distress. Their team worked with fire rescue members to save the turtles.

These Little Piggies Went To Market

Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies were called in to chase down a couple of wayward miniature pigs at a WaWa gas station and market in July.

Off-Duty Florida Cop Yanks Little Boy Away From Shark

An off-duty cop was walking along Cocoa Beach with his wife in July when he spotted a shark near a little boy on a boogie board and took action.

Unofficial City Bird Brown Pelican Now Official St. Pete Mascot

The bird with the big bill and penchant for plunging into the ocean to scoop up small fish is now the official bird of St. Petersburg. In January, the St. Petersburg City Council unanimously adopted the brown pelican as the official city bird.

After Rare Shark Attack, Man Walks Home Bleeding

A 39-year-old man was bitten by a shark in Siesta Key waters in December, Shark attacks are rare in Sarasota County. The last one was in 2007.

Turtles Can Fly, Too: Rare Sea Turtle Catches Flight To Chicago

How does a rare sea turtle get from The Florida Aquarium in Tampa to Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago? It flies, of course.

Florida Man Saved Puppy From Alligator’s Jaws

A retired Florida man ripped open the jaws of an alligator to save the life of his three-month-old puppy, Gunner, while on a November walk in a neighborhood in Estero.

Carole Freakin’ Baskin

“Tiger King,” Netflix’s true-life documentary about zoo owner Joe Exotic and his feud with Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin, made numerous headlines this year, from prompting cold case tips to Baskin’s “Dancing with the Stars” appearance to “Tiger King” coronavirus face masks.

This article originally appeared on the Sarasota Patch