There are seven types of terrapins In South Florida, there are three subspecies which include T. Tequesta in Biscayne Bay, T. rhizophoraruum in the Keys, and T. macrospilota in Florida Bay

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Green Turtle



The green turtle can be found throughout the world in all tropical and sub-tropical oceans. In the U.S., Atlantic green turtles can be found around the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and continental U.S. from Texas to Massachusetts. Important feeding areas for green turtles in Florida include Indian River Lagoon, Florida Keys, Florida Bay, Homosassa, Crystal River and Cedar Key.

Egret -Snowy



Today, the great egret, snowy egret , and roseate spoonbill have made a partial comeback and live relatively undisturbed in the Everglades with other rare and unique birds. This wading bird can be found in marshes, ponds, and mangrove swamps. It is white, with a narrow black bill, black legs, with yellow feet. It has long, graceful plumes about its head and neck. At the turn of the century, egrets were hunted for feathers to use in hats. It is now protected and the populations have recovered.




This species of manatee is found in the warm waters around Florida, the Caribbean and South America. It is a docile, slow-moving marine mammal which feeds on vegetation. Most adult manatees are about 10 feet long and weight 800 to 1,200 pounds, although some larger than 12 feet long and weighing as much as 3,500 pounds have been recorded. Because it moves slowly and favors warm waters, manatees are susceptible to collisions with motor boats. Historical accounts and archeological evidence of manatees prior to the first half of the 20th century are poor and often contradictory (O’Shea 1988). It does indicate that manatees probably are as geographically widespread today as they were historically. They were hunted by pre-Columbian indians, but the extent to which they were taken is unclear. In 1893, the State of Florida passed legislation prohibiting the killing of manatees. The long-term survival of manatees in Florida, however, is uncertain. Known mortality, which averaged over 170 animals per year between 1988 and 1992, is more than twice what it was in the late 1970s. Given what is known about the present population size and the species’ ability to produce only a single calf every 2.5-5 years per mature female, mortality may be exceeding the populations’ ability to produce new animals.

Osprey In Natural Florida

Osprey With FishThe Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica.

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Bald Eagle



The endangered bald eagle and the few hundred remaining snail kites are also at home in the Everglades. The kite, a bird with a wingspan of more than three feet, eats only the apple snail which is common in the Everglades. There are two subspecies of bald eagle: northern and southern. The southern species is present in Florida and along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, spreading west to Arizona, New Mexico, and California. In its first four years of life, an eagle is predominantly brown. By the fifth year, the head and tail have become all white. The average life span is unknown, but 30 years under natural conditions is a reasonable estimate. Eagles successfully rear one or two nestlings each season. After the young are fully grown and fledged, they remain near the nest while being fed by their parents. Because eagles need a large territorial range to raise young, habitat disturbances have threatened the species, even where regulations are strictly enforced. The bald eagle has no known natural enemies except man. Contaminants, mainly DDT, greatly depleted the eagle population in the 1970’s placing it on the endangered species list. The banning of DDT and other efforts has allowed the bald eagle to make a remarkable recovery and downlisting it to a threatened species.

Florida Panther



Another endangered animal that makes its home in the Everglades is the Florida panther . The few remaining in southem Florida are the last panthers in existence in the state. Because these big cats need an extensive hunting territory, they have been especially hard hit by loss of habitat. In recent years, they have received a great deal of attention as concerned groups and individuals work to save this beautiful cat from extinction. Florida panthers are a subspecies of the mountain lion. Once found throughout the southeast, their numbers have dwindled to approximately 30-50 animals, which live in Florida. Habitat loss is one of the major reasons for their decline. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working in partnership with the state of Florida, universities, and conservation organizations to rebuild the panther population through the introduction of a small population of western mountain lions




The shy and secretive cousin of the alligator is the endangered American crock dile is only seen in the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park and along the southern shoreline of Biscayne National Park. Similar in size to the alligator, the crocodile has a narrower snout and is lighter in color.



The male American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the largest reptile in North America and can grow to 16 feet or longer, while the female is usually 8 to 9 feet in length.

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The anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) is sometimes called the snakebird because it swims through the water with only its thin neck showing. The anhinga never seems to miss when it dives beneath the water’s surface for fish. Skewering one on its pointed beak, it then flips the fish up in the air, catches it with an open mouth, and swallows it. The endangered wood stork (Mycteria americana), the only stork native to North America, hunts by using its sensitive bill to feel for fish underwater. When a fish literally bumps into its open bill, the wood stork snaps it shut in a mere fraction of a second!

Moray Eel



The gold-flecked moray eel (Muraenidae) lurks in small nooks and Nannies. It shoots out from hiding places to claim unsus pectin" victims with its razor-sharp teeth. Stingrays, squid, and five species of sea turtle are also found here.




The parrotfish (Scandae sp.) got its name because of its brilliant coloring. Its sharp front teeth, which resemble a parrot’s beak, enable it to nip off bits of coral. It then grinds the gritty mouthfuls of coral with the rounded teeth at the back of its mouth in order to extract and eat the polyps and algae.



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