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Everglades National Park 1 - Fauna

Photos from April 2008.
This page features animals of the Everglades National Park.  For Everglades plants see Everglades Flora.

'Gators everywhere!

The first animal that comes to mind when you think of the Everglades has to be alligators-- or possibly mosquitoes! Regrettably, I don't have a photo of a mosquito as I was too busy swatting at them. This alligator is just soaking up some warm sunshine right next to the road. If you look close you can tell the grass has been mowed on the side of the road, leaving lots of sunshine and a great place for the gators to soak up some warmth. Taken just a few feet from the Shark Valley Visitor Center, which is one of the best places in the north section of the park to see wildlife such as alligators. Another good location to spot alligators is the Royal Palm area.

Same gator, different photo angle. They look slow and lazy, but they can move like lightning over short distances. Many a bird has discovered that the hard way! At one point on our hike we heard a bird meet the bitter end just a few feet away from us, but out of sight in the dense swamp. There was a big splash and a loud squawk, followed by a rapidly fading series of squawks as the bird succumbed to the gator.

A couple of juvenile alligators, each is about 24 inches (0,6m) long. They look cute, like you could just reach out and grab one. But those teeth are sharp, they could take your hand off if you grab one! Photo taken near Otter Cave Trail in the Shark Valley area.

"I'm just an old log floating in the water. Pay no attention to the log! Don't you want to come a little closer for a better view?" Photo taken from the viewing deck at the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

Small alligator in the Royal Palm area.

Vision Test: How many alligators are in this photo? Look close, try clicking on the photo above for a larger image. Answer is on the next photo. Photo taken near Shark Valley Visitor Center.

There are 3 alligators in this photo. The mother alligator is inside a concrete pipe under the road, her head is sticking out of the pipe and visible. 2 babies are sitting in the shallow water next to the bank. Don't try to grab one of those babies unless you want to see how fast mamma gator can move!

Alligator skull in the Visitor Center.  

This is a Florida Soft Shell Turtle. Note the "snorkel" ended nose, which is used for breathing. (The lighter color snorkel looks like a rectangular box stuck on the end of the nose in this photo.) By extending only the end of the snorkel above water the turtle can breath while keeping its head and body submerged. In addition to breathing through their nose, they can absorb oxygen through special adaptations in the neck and anus. The theory is these work almost like gills in a fish, providing supplemental oxygen and allowing them to stay underwater for longer. Photo taken on Shark Valley Loop Road.

A Florida Water Snake sunning itself on a log in the mangrove swamp.

A Blue Heron. Photo taken near Shark Valley Visitor Center.

Life in the Everglades can be short when you're a bird!

This is a roseate spoonbill, which are often mistaken for flamingos. Flamingos are rare in the Everglades, but they can be seen at times. However, if you see a pink bird, it is probably a roseate spoonbill. Photo taken at Mrazek Pond with a telephoto lens and low light.

Vultures.  Not sure what else to say...  they were in the Royal Palm area.

More Everglades!