In the first five miles of the trip during the gentle curves and long open stretches, observant paddlers may see animals (beaver and deer) and plentiful waterfowl.
Once you are below Big Eddy, look for layers of mussellshell beds embedded in the mud (visible in low water). The Big Sunflower River is home to the densest musselshell populations in the world. Some of these are endangered such as the sheepnose and spectaclecase mussels.
After the Holly Bluff Cutoff, as you enter the undredged portion of the river, you might have the opportunity to see black bears in the trees and alligators in the river. You probably won’t actually see bears, but the careful observer will notice scratch marks where the bears are climbing their favorite trees and leaving distinct red scratches on the otherwise grey bark of the cypress. Black bear tracks can be possibly seen alongside deer, raccoon and wild hog in the riverbank mud. Blue herons, and lesser egrets are common, and songbirds such as the Prothonotary Warbler and Indigo Bunting in their northward migration (March-April).