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Located in the southern United States at the southwestern tip of Florida, the Everglades are home to hundreds of species of wildlife. There are five distinct ecological habitats in the Everglades: sawgrass, hammock, mangrove, pineland, and slough. Within these five habitats are more than 40 types of mammals, over 50 species of reptiles, nearly 350 different birds, and hundreds of fish and insect species.
The sawgrass habitat is characterized by a dense growth of aquatic sedge grass. Birds are the most distinctive species of Everglades wildlife that live in the sawgrass habitat. They include the great blue heron, the wood stork, and the bald eagle. Other types are the sandhill crane, the turkey vulture, the snail kite, and the red-shouldered hawk. Everglades sawgrass is also inhabited by the apple snail and the zebra butterfly.
The hammock habitat is characterized by stands of hardwood trees that grow on higher ground. Among the species of Everglades wildlife that inhabit the hammocks are two types of mammals: raccoons and gray foxes. Reptiles include the green snake and the box turtle. The amphibious tree frog and the tree snail, a gastropod, also live in the hammock habitat.
Some of the most distinctive Everglades wildlife live in the mangrove habitat. Mangrove trees bear fruit that sprouts roots while still on the tree, giving the trees their unique appearance. The types of Everglades wildlife that inhabit the mangrove forests are the American crocodile, the brown pelican, the key deer, and the manatee. The osprey, the mangrove cuckoo, and the roseate spoonbill are also known to frequent this habitat.
The pineland forests are also home to several notable species of Everglades wildlife. They are especially known for several species of snakes, including the diamondback rattlesnake, the indigo snake, the coral snake, the king snake, and the red rat snake. Mammals include Florida panthers and black bears. The most prominent pineland birds are woodpeckers and barred owls.
The slough habitat consists of bayous and swamplands that are home to yet another distinctive set of Everglades wildlife, including amphibians, aquatic birds, and insects. Alligators and snapping turtles inhabit the brackish waters of the slough, along with water moccasins, Florida otters, and spotted gar. Wood ducks are indigenous to the slough habitat, as are two species of fish-eating birds, the anhinga, and the purple gallinule. Dragonflies are among the most common insects that live in the slough habitat.
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