Locals in Fla. Keys Stay Back for Animals
6-toed cats, nervous birds among the lucky as Ike moves in
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2008 7:44 PM CDT
A mother dolphin swims with her newborn at the Atlantis Resort Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas, Friday, April 13, 2007.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Animal lovers are staying back in the Florida Keys to make sure six-toed cats and frisky dolphins survive a brush from Hurricane Ike, the Fort Mill Times reports. While some residents flee, kennel owners and wild life managers are bunking up with extra food and medicine. "They are very, very nervous," said the director of a 25-acre wild bird center. "They know it's coming so they eat as much as they can."

Among the lucky mammals are nearly 50 six-toed cats at Ernest Hemingway's old house in Tampa and 312 chickens at a Key West wildlife center. Dolphins in Grassy Key are being tagged in case they flee, but another issue may arise: Males are known to leap to the female lagoon during storms. "In the past there have been known to be hurricane babies," one staffer laughed.