Where: Live in freshwater environments: ponds, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes, swamps, brackish environments Identification: Looks like a crocodile! Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: Alligators in wetlands increase plant diversity and create habitats for other animals during droughts. They prefer slower moving water (i.e. swamps, rivers). Alligators are able to see in low light areas. The special structure called tapetum lucidum, […]
Where: In shallow water or wet soil. Found in the deeper, more frequently inundated areas. Identification: Can be very large (8-12’ tall) Best Time of Year: Small purple flowers are always paired together on a stalk with a blooming period of June-Nov. Fun facts: AKA “Fire Flag” Easily propagated by root division Host for Brazilian Skipper caterpillar
Where: Everywhere, particularly on trees Identification: 3-6 inch lizard, wide color range Best Time of Year: Any Fun facts: The exotic brown anole has driven the native green anole higher up in the trees to eat and live. Florida is home to two special lizards, the Green Anole and Brown Anole. Their names refer to […]
Where: Common at the waters edge. Identification: Snail varies in size from ping pong ball to baseball. Pink (exotic) & white (native) eggs deposits can be found above the water line. The larger and more common snails are the exotic, invasive species. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: Tubular siphon allows the Apple Snail to […]
Where: In shallow water Identification: Coloration varies from light brown to reddish-black. Frequently mistaken for Copperheads, Cottonmouths, or other venomous water snakes. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: Non-venomous. Eats fish and frogs. Ovoviviparous- meaning they give birth to live young. Able to emit a foul-smelling odor if disturbed.
Where: At the waters edge in trees or hovering to dive in the water. Identification: The belted kingfisher is a stocky, medium-sized bird that measures between 28–35 cm (11–14 in) in length with a wingspan of between 48–58 cm (19–23 in). This kingfisher can weigh from 113 to 178 g (4.0 to 6.3 oz). The […]
Where: in or near shallow water Identification: Black and white with extremely long legs (compared to body size). Legs are a bright pink. Best Time of Year: Fall and Winter
“Vultures — gross!” That or something similar is the typical reaction to birds that I have a growing affection for. Once you get beyond their bald heads, vultures are remarkable birds with astonishing abilities and surprising social lives. And one of the great things about being interested in vultures is that — if you live […]
The black racer is one of the more common constrictor snakes in Florida and is identifiable by its white chin. They will eat almost any animal they can overpower, including, rodents, frogs, toads, and lizards, and the racer is more likely to suffocate or crush its victim into the ground rather than coiling around it. They […]
Where: Throughout the park, but less common in dry areas. The Cabbage Palm is extremely salt-tolerant and is often seen growing near both the Atlantic Ocean coast and the Gulf of Mexico coast. Identification: The trunk can vary widely in appearance. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: The state tree of Florida! Sabal palmetto […]
Where: Swamps, rivers, hammocks. Generally grows on trees for support (but are not parasitic). Identification: Tall flower spikes tipped with multiple blooms colored red, yellow, green, and blue. Best Time of Year: Multiple blooms in spring, summer, and fall seasons Fun facts: Takes in nutrients and water from the air.
Where: The double-crested cormorant is found near rivers and lakes and along the coastline. Identification: The double-crested cormorant is a large waterbird with a stocky body, long neck, medium-sized tail, webbed feet, and a medium-sized hooked bill. It has a body length of between 28–35 in long, with a wingspan of between 45–48 in). Double-crested cormorants weigh […]
Where: Freshwater Identification: The Eastern mosquitofish is a small, light-colored fish with semitransparent fins. The females usually have a black stripe near their eye area and light spots can be seen on the caudal and dorsal fins of both sexes. Due to its similar size, shape, and reproductive habits, it can easily be mistaken for […]
Where: Open prairies and at water’s edge for drinking. Identification: Typically black (or dark) ranging in size from piglet to boar. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: As of 2013, the estimated population of six million feral pigs causes billions of dollars in property damage every year in the United States, both in wild […]
It comes as no surprise that the Florida Cooter is the most frequently seen turtle in Florida. This turtle, sometimes confused with the Peninsula Cooter and River Cooter, can also be found throughout the Southeastern Coastal Plain, from Virginia to Alabama. They enjoy the slow-moving rivers, ponds, swamps, and lakes with soft bottoms and abundant […]
Where: Prefers the still waters of ponds, streams, lakes, and swamps. Identification: The Florida softshell turtle is dark brown to olive green with a leathery shell and a cream-colored underside. It has a long neck and an elongated head with a long snorkel-like nose. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: Almost entirely aquatic, only […]