Saturday, February 4, 2012

Florida Everglades - Shark Valley

Our first expedition into the Florida Everglades National Park was in the Shark Valley region. We did not see any sharks, so not sure where the name comes from!

We did see a ton of wildlife though, including about twenty or so gators, quite big and quite close. Several of the reptilian giants were sunning themselves in the grass very near the walking path and were sleeping away, very oblivious to the tourists and hikers and bicyclists who were passing by just a few feet away.

A few of these catnappers were over twelve feet long and one sort of yawned as we walked by, showing us his full mouth of teeth.  One or two of my boys are severely lacking in the area of caution and I admit  I was sort of leery of them getting close to these big guys. I had visions of of one of them leaping on top of the gators, trying to ride them like a pony. Fortunately they all gave the alligators at least a measure of the respect they deserve.

We also observed a ton of shore birds such as heron, egrets, wood storks, purple galliope and anhinga. Turtles were swimming in the nearby channel, sort of ignoring the alligators who go on a winter-long fast. We were fascinated by the Florida gar swimming right below our feet on the boardwalk near the visitors center and of course the ever present brown anole lizard catches our eye everywhere we go here in Florida!

We will spend some more time I am sure exploring the Everglades because our first day was filled with so much adventure and learning.

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