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Rare and Endangered Species of the Florida Everglades

You probably imagine alligators and crocodiles when you hear “Everglades.” They’re popular creatures and many Floridians have encountered them more than once in their life. If you live in Florida, odds are, you’ve probably seen one, too, in your backyard. But you might not know about the rare and endangered species that also live in the Sunshine State. It may interest you to know that the Everglades actually houses rare and endangered species you probably wouldn’t expect to see during a Fort Lauderdale airboat tour. Continue reading below to see what creatures you can see during a tour through the Everglades if you’re lucky enough.

Manatees

Everglades rare and endangered species - Manatee

Everglades rare and endangered species – Manatee

You’d expect manatees to only exist in the ocean, but the truth is there are quite a few of them living in Florida’s swampy region. These gentle giants are, unfortunately, in rapid decline and they’ve recently been dubbed threatened more so than endangered. Collisions with boats are common causes of death for these sea cows. Which is why you might not ever see one during an airboat tour. Tour guides are very cautious in riding through manatee habits in the Everglades. Some of them might not even dare to ride through their territory. Lack of sufficient habitats and reproduction are also other causes in their decline.

 

 

 

 

Sea Turtles

Everglades rare and endangered species - Sea Turtle

Everglades rare and endangered species – Sea Turtle

It’s actually surprising how many different species of sea turtles live in the Florida Everglades. There are five of them that exist in the swamp. They are loggerhead, green turtle, leatherback, Kemp’s ridley, and hawksbill.  They are also a species that is slowly declining in the swamp ecosystem. Near many residing beaches in Florida national parks, there are numerous turtle nests. Depending on certain habitat conditions, sea turtle mothers may or may not abandon their nests. Due to this, eggs are left unprotected and are susceptible to predators and human involvement. Foxes, raccoons, and alligators will feed on unprotected eggs. Foxes and raccoons especially will dig up a nest and steal whatever eggs they can for consumption. The predators’ trails can be recognized by prints in the sand and empty eggshells left behind. Some humans who are usually unaware of the extinction crisis surrounding sea turtles also accidentally aid in the decline. It’s even noted that changing a sea turtles course of direction just by swimming near it is considered a form of harassment and serious charges will follow. Fishermen who accidentally tangle sea turtles in their nets while hunting for shrimp or fish can also accidentally kill these creatures.

Snail Kite

Everglades rare and endangered species - Snail Kite

Everglades rare and endangered species – Snail Kite

This is a rare animal that you are actually likely to see more so than sea turtles and manatees. Snail Kites are birds that have lived in the Everglades for many years. Their odd name was coined due to the fact that their main source of food is snails, namely apple snails. The snail kites’ curved beak helps in the consumption of these large snails; once caught by its claws, the snail kite will attempt to fish out the snail hiding in its shell. If fishing it out is proving to be difficult, its strong beak will crack open the shell instead. These majestic birds are in decline due to an invasive species in the Florida Everglades. The Island Apple Snail, much larger in comparison to the Island snail, is an invasive species that have been consuming the swampy ecosystem’s native snails. Due to their large size (about the size of tennis balls), the island apple snail is difficult to consume by the snail kite as their shells are much denser.

Wanna Try to Spot These Animals? Book a Tour With Fort Lauderdale Airboat Rides.

Although it is unlikely that you will ever see some of these creatures when venturing through the Everglades, it is possible. And if you’re feeling lucky, come book a tour with our guides. Fort Lauderdale Airboat Rides have only certified experts guiding you through Florida’s massive swampy region. Whether you’re looking for a slow-paced ride or you’re a thrillseeker, our airboat captains can make just about anything happen for you. If interested, call us at 954.284.9130 or visit our contact page

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