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Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve is a 720,000 acre protected area in South Florida just north of the Everglades.  The area protects vast stretches of Cypress Swamp with elevations just slightly higher than the freshwater prairies of the Everglades.

Wildlife:

Like the Everglades, Big Cypress is a great place to view wildlife.  And unlike the Everglades, there is no admission fee and tends to be much less crowded.

Alligators:

The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the most famous resident of Big Cypress.  The many canals throughout the preserve are an great place to spot alligators.  We saw several right in front of the Oasis Visitor Center.

Birds:

The anhinga (anhinga anhinga) is one of the most common birds in the area.  The gender of these birds can be distinguished by the coloring of their heads - males are all black and females, like the one below, have tan feathers on their neck and head.

Butterflies:

We hiked just a short ways on the Florida National Scenic Trail and saw three different species in just a half-mile along the trail.  The White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) is mostly white with black spots and brownish on the tips of its wings.


Gulf fritillary butterflies (Agraulis vanillae) are fairly common and have beautiful orange coloring.


The zebra longwing butterfly (Heliconius charithonia) has bright zebra patterns to warn off predators.

External Links:

National Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm