Posted by: salamandercandy | January 3, 2007

Florida Fauna, Part 2

The Everglades are awesome! Most national parks are designed to protect geologic wonders, with only secondary condideration for biological conservation, but this park is all about biodiversity. I’m not a birder, but even I could appreciate the avian variation: wood storks, white ibises, nesting anhingas, snowy egrets, gallinules, and more. A double-crested cormorant, with stunning blue eyes, caught a walking catfish and flew down right in front of me to eat it. Walking catfish are slimy invasive species, and this particular specimen seemed way too large for the bird to swallow. After a few artful flips and pecks, though, the bird got the meal down its gullet in one piece.

I only saw one amphibian (probably a cricket frog), but the reptilian fauna stole the show with its star, the alligator. They’re everywhere! No external barrier stops you from walking right up to these enormous predators that could take off your limb without a moment’s hesitation. Watching a handful of them cruise around a small lake in the twilight, while birds called from the surrounding trees, was a beautiful experience.

As is true for so many amazing ecosystems, the Everglades have their share of troubles, notably invasive species and diverted water. Let’s make sure not to lose this incredible place.

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Responses

  1. Just curious, did you see any turtles? One thing I miss living in the PNW is the species diversity of aquatic turtles, they can be a blast to stumble across…especially if you run across a big snapper out of the water. Keep an eye out…I think they are under appreciated by most, but are very photogenic and can catch you off guard! I have some stories!

  2. I am known as Chief Snapping Turtle for my sweet disposition. I also have a common snapper’s skeletal remains on my wall..probably the same one Amanda hooked in our pond too many years ago. You want turtles? Come on down, we’ll get you turtles…with help from Wakantanka.


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