Everglades Reptiles

Jul 10, 2009 by Janine
Visiting the Everglades in July consists of temperatures in the high 90's, near 100% humidity, and extremely high levels of mosquito activity. And also the best chance to see a panther, at least in our experience. Although we didn't see a panther during this visit, we did see plenty of reptiles, including a few new snake species, which was a treat.

We raced thunderstorms from Miami to Flamingo. Luckily the storms headed off in another direction and we were left with clear skies.

When we arrived at the marina, I was amazed to see several White Crowned Pigeons flying around, apparently roosting in the large Ficus trees nearby. I have never seen more than one at one time, so to see a literal flock of them was amazing.

Exploring the marina, we encountered both an alligator and a crocodile, an unusual occurrence. Alligators typically prefer fresh water, while crocodiles prefer brackish or salt. It is not common to see an alligator in salt water, although they can tolerate it for short periods of time.

This alligator swam into the marina. You can see in the background the exposed flats where Flamingos have been seen in the past. There were plenty of pelicans, cormorants, and herons out there, perhaps doing some evening fishing.

The crocodile, who had been basking on the bank in the mangroves, then decided to go for a swim. Whether it was investigating the arrival of the alligator, or attracted by the sounds of jumping fish, we are not quite sure.

The setting sun made for some interesting lighting.

We ate sandwiches while waiting for the sun to set, plagued by mosquitoes and deer flies. Finally, once it was dark, we set off in search of snakes. We had not even left Flamingo yet when we spotted this garter snake.

A little ways down the road, we found this Mangrove Salt Marsh snake, a new species for us.

Next, another water snake of some kind. I was not sure of the species, since none of the pictures in my books or on the web that I could find showed the red banding and eye color. Any snake experts out there feel free to chime in.

Brown water snake

One of the few non-reptilian sightings of the evening, a Chuck-Will's Widow. I was pleased to see it as it used to be quite common to hear their calls (which sound like their name). I have not heard them the past few years so it was nice to see one.

So even though we didn't see a panther, it was a great trip, and I can't wait to go back.


Jul 14, 2009, 04:02:39 oldcrow wrote:

You do get to see and photograph the most interesting creatures. Great photos! That garter snake is a beauty.

Jul 14, 2009, 17:11:27 Tricia wrote:

The variety of species which we enjoy through you eyes and camera is impressive Janine. A Chuck-Wills Widow - what a fascinating name for an unusual bird.

Nice pics as usual :)

Aug 08, 2009, 05:44:29 Bearded Dragon wrote:

one of the finest photograph an info shared by u people thnx

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