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Florida national parks are home to an abundant array of wildlife. Everglades animals in particular present a wide range of Florida wildlife. From the area's trademark symbol, the Florida panther, to the migratory and wading birds living in the area made famous by painter John James Audubon, the Everglades are home to a very diverse ecosystem.
Once there were enough birds in the Everglades to fill the sky. Due to over hunting and habitat loss, today only 350 species of bird remain. Of these species, notable varieties include the bald eagle, great blue heron, white ibis, wood stork, great egret, great white heron, glossy ibis, tricolored heron, woodpecker, roseate spoonbill, turkey vulture, and snowy egret. Two birds whose populations are rapidly dwindling, the cape sable seaside sparrow and the snail kite, are also Everglades animals.
Of the land mammals who make the Everglades their home, many can be found across most of the United States. The bobcat, raccoon, opossum, white-tail deer, wood rats, and skunk are all Everglades animals. The Florida panther, the most endangered species in the Everglades, has a very small population. Only 100 remain in the wild.
Other large Everglades mammals can be found in the area as well. The West Indian manatee can be found in the coastal areas of the Everglades as well as the saltwater bays. Bottlenose dolphins also live in the region. Smaller mammals, such as the black bear, grey fox, and osprey otter, are all species of Everglades animals.
Some very large, even scary-looking, creatures hail from the Everglades. Wild boars can grow to an enormous size and feature large fearsome tusks. Giant land crabs, the largest arthropods on Earth, can be as big as trashcans.
The most famous reptile of the Everglades animals is the American alligator. Alligators are considered an important part of the ecosystem, as the holes they build help provide water and food sources for other animals when droughts occur. Relatives of the alligator, American crocodiles, live in the Everglades, too. Other reptiles of the region include the diamondback rattlesnake, coral snake, green snake, snapping turtle, red rat snake, green sea turtle, king snake, and water moccasin.
Many people come to the National Park for recreational fishing. Spotted gar are common in the marshes, as well as short nose sturgeons. Other varieties of fish in the Everglades include the Atlantic sturgeon, bluenose shiner, key blenny, harlequin darter, salt marsh topminnow, suwannee bass, and shoal bass.
Though many large animals inhabit the Everglades, the marshes are also home to very small forms of wildlife. Various snails, particularly the apple snail and tree snail, live in the ecosystem. Dragonflies, manatee tree frogs, and green tree frogs also make their homes in the National Park.
A recent problem in the Everglades is the prevalence of pythons! When Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida in 1992, it destroyed a warehouse holding a whole bunch of baby pythons and they ended up washed into the Everglades, where there was food, humidity, warmth -- everything a python needs to thrive.
The problem is they're competing with the native alligators. Now, I detest reptiles, but the alligators are indigenous to the Everglades. That's their home and where the good Lord put them. The pythons are invasive interlopers.
It's gotten so bad that the Florida Wildlife division *pays* people major money to bring back pythons they've found, preferably dead. I don't have a problem with it. Those pythons belong in Asia and India, not in Florida.
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