Everglades National Park: Animal Highlights

If you’re like me, when you hear “Everglades National Park” the first thing you think of is “alligators.”  If you’re also like me, the second thing you think of is “birds.”  While there’s much more to the Everglades than these exotic animals, they are perhaps the most striking features to most people.  I’ll get into the diverse plant communities and ecology more in the future.  For now I’ll stick to some of the cool animals I saw on my visit on April 8, 2012.

American alligator juvenile (Alligator mississippiensis, Alligatoridae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

First, the obligatory American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, Alligatoridae).  I saw a ton of these along the Anhinga Trail near the main road entrance.  There were smaller juveniles like the one above exhibiting their protective coloration.  There were also larger adults who have little need for camouflage:

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, Alligatoridae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, Alligatoridae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, Alligatoridae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

There were also a lot of Florida red-bellied cooters (Pseudemys nelsoni, Emydidae) in the same waters:

Florida red-bellied cooters (Pseudemys nelsoni, Emydidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

The reptiles were cool, but there were a lot of diverse and exotic birds here as well. Appropriately, along the Anhinga Trail I saw a lot of anhingas (Anhinga anhinga, Anhingidae).

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga, Anhingidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga, Anhingidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

There was also this juvenile American white ibis (Eudocimus albus, Threskiornithidae)…

Juvenile American white ibis (Eudocimus albus, Threskiornithidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

…a green heron (Butorides virescen, Ardeidae)…

Green heron (Butorides virescen, Ardeidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

…a double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus, Phalacrocoracidae)…

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus, Phalacrocoracidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

…and an American purple gallinule (Porphyrio martinica, Rallidae):

American purple gallinule (Porphyrio martinica, Rallidae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park.

Since I was only in one part of this enormous national park for about six hours, I only got a sampling of the fauna.  I imagine with more time one could see far more.  The Everglades are an insanely complex web of organisms.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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