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: 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
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: 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 […]
Where: In and near shallow water. Identification: Large, all white (body length 39 in, 55 in wingspan), with black legs and feet, yellow bill. Best Time of Year: Fun facts: Catches fish while standing or walking in shallow water; may forage in open fields. Waits for fish to come near then catches them with their bill. Eats […]
Where: Plants are rooted in water-saturated soils or submersed soils near the water’s edge. During low-water conditions, emersed plants can grow in exposed, damp, sediments. Identification: Swollen nodes where the leaves meet the stems. Leaves are lance-shaped, narrow, willow-like, and alternately attached. Knotweed flowers are small and pinkish or white, and grow in terminal spikes that […]
Where: Often found basking on the banks of lakes and ponds. Identification: Distinct yellow stripes on head – often mistaken for sliders, which have a red stripe.
Where: Found in swamps, coastal swamps, and floodplain forests (hydric ecosystems) Identification: Small stature of a tree often has base submerged. Best Time of Year: Flowers in spring Fun facts: Undesirable for lumber: Wood is light and weak Native Americans (Miccosukee tribe) used pop ash wood for bows and arrows (light) and its bark for “women’s medicine”.
Where: Epiphyte that grows on forest trees or rocks (often found on live oaks). Can grow in full sunlight or partial shade. Identification: Fronds 25 cm high by 5 cm wide. Leathery yellow/green leaflet. Appears dead during dry periods. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: Can withstand periods of drought by curling up and rolling inward (exposes less surface area […]
Where: In shallow water Identification: Large pink bird with spoon-shaped bill. Best Time of Year: All Fun facts: The spoon-bill is used to forage and sift through muck for food. They present sticks to each other during courtship. Males bring materials for the nest and the female builds it. The oldest Roseate Spoonbill in Florida […]
Where: In freshwater ponds, rivers, lakes. Identification: With broad, thick, glossy, ovate leaves, water hyacinth may rise above the surface of the water as much as 1 meter in height. The leaves are 10–20 cm across, and float above the water surface. They have long, spongy and bulbous stalks. The feathery, freely hanging roots are […]