Sanibel Wildlife Update – Post Irma

We talked about how we handled the mandatory evacuation during Hurricane Irma last month, but how did Sanibel’s wildlife and unique environment weather the storm?

Sanibel Beaches

Surprisingly, our beaches look fairly normal! Our McCallion Team member, Anna Turner, reported very little change when she strolled the beach after work this week. She even said she spotted a little turtle scurrying across the sand near the beach access point.


Sanibel Seashells

As far as Sanibel’s beloved seashells go… local “shell-ebrity,” Pam Rambo, recorded an emotional video shortly after the storm to share the good news with fellow shell-enthusiasts who had reached out in support. She explains that most of the shells she found were still living and were expected to survive just fine. 

I can tell you that most Sanibel residents echo the excitement and emotion she has when speaking about how wonderful it is that we still have our beautiful beaches!

Sanibel Wildlife

Yes, even the animals at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) followed the mandatory evacuation protocol for Hurricane Irma. Some animals were taken home with staff members, and other’s evacuated to the Downtown Fort Myers Holiday Inn.

Following the storm, CROW reported a high number of shorebirds such as Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones being brought in, along with a large brown pelican, a number of turtles, and even a few baby squirrels that had been displaced from their nests.


CROW has been working hard to clear debris from their property, while caring for the animals as residents continue to report animals in need.

Click here to read more about the veterinary care provided after the storm.

Sanibel Plants & Vegetation

Although Ding Darling’s paths were covered with downed branches following the storm, it only took a few (very laborious) days to reopen Sanibel’s wildlife refuge.

In the video below, Refuge Ranger, Toni Westland, explains how the mangroves did their part in protecting us from the high winds. She also explains, which trees didn’t do so well, and how Sanibel recycles the debris to be reused in the local environment.

While there are still some piles of tree branches and lawn debris lining a few neighborhood roads, our truck crews have been working 12-hour days, 7 days a week to clear the aftermath.

We can’t stress how fortunate we were compared to other areas that suffered far worse damage. We are happy to report no major losses of Sanibel wildlife or vegetation with Hurricane Irma. Thank you for your continued support, and the hard work you’ve put into restoring the beauty of our islands.

Susan McCallion About Susan McCallion

Meet "Your Favorite Redhead." Susan was exposed to real estate while young with her parent's 8 Re/MAX offices in Connecticut! In 2008, Susan and Jim became permanent Sanibel residents, starting McCallion & McCallion to bring a fresh approach to real estate.