Red Bug Slough Preserve

Red Bug Slough Preserve is a 72 acre refuge in the southern suburbs of Sarasota, Florida.  Stretching along a drainage channel, it is characterized by open water, wooded marsh, a basin swamp and a mixed forest of pine, live oak and cabbage palm.  Home to an excellent diversity of wading birds and other wetland species, the preserve also harbors river otters and alligators.  Access is provided from a parking area on S. Beneva Road (between Proctor Rd. and Route 72); a jeep trail follows the primary water channel and side trails loop through the adjacent woodlands.

On our visit, we failed to observe any alligators or otters but did see an excellent diversity of birdlife, including swallow-tailed kites, wood ducks, anhingas, little blue herons and great egrets, among others.  Wild iris and a host of other wildflowers adorned the slough while the dense woodlands offered welcome shade from the intense Florida sun.

Like many city nature preserves, Red Bug Slough is hemmed in by suburban development and has direct trail access to those neighborhoods; as one might expect, litter is a problem and dog walking (several off-leash on our visit; see The Futility of Leash Laws) is a popular activity within the refuge.  Those who established and work to protect this nature preserve must deal with these challenges and thus deserve special thanks from those of us who enjoy the fruit of their efforts.