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Give Blood  -  Visit the Everglades


The Everglades is the name given to an enormous region of interconnected mangrove swamps, lakes and channels where new land is in the process of being created by the advancing mangrove trees. It's average elevation above sea level is about two feet.

It is home to alligators, crocodiles, lizards, snakes and the most amazing range of bird life that you can imagine. The whole region is a National Park and there are a number of entry-points. We entered by way of Florida City (which is a city in the sense that Archer City where they filmed The Last Picture Show is a city) and found a well-appointed camp-site with facilities for canoeing, guided boat-trips and an excellent on-site tourist center and food-store. Camping in the Everglades is civilized and problem-free, except for the local mosquitoes who give visitors the opportunity to contribute to the food-chain that ultimately supports the ten-thousand alligators and three-to-four hundred highly-endangered American crocodiles. It's only fair really.

American Crocodile

Highly endangered American Crocodile chills out on the slipway near our campsite. It's tiring work, being endangered. We saw a total of three, about one per cent of the world population.

Crocodiles and alligators are everywhere in the Everglades, and a lot less dangerous and aggressive than they are cracked-up up to be. Obviously you shouldn't tease them or interfere with them when they are protecting young, but in a good year Florida can lose as few as three tourists to the 'gaitors which is a price well worth paying, considering all that the the state earns from the eco-dollar. Here is a large alligator that swam ashore and came right up to us to have its photo taken.

Floating Log?

"Hey! Karen! How come that floating log is headed right this way?"

Slitering Ashore "Do I look like a log, buster?"
Yawning Alligator

"I like tourists, but I couldn't eat a whole one.... I don't think."

Alligator Leaving

"Oh well. Things to do. Catch you another time!"

Baby alligators are little yellow-and-brown striped things, entirely different from their parents. Both crocodiles and alligators care for their young, and often carry them around tenderely in their mouths. It's a good idea not to approach them while they're doing this. We were able to see an alligator's nest from above by looking down from a specially constructed walkway.

Baby Alligator

This tiny striped lizard-like creature is a newly-hatched alligator (about 10" long)



Alligator vs Crocodile

Pelicans at daybreak on Lake Okeechobee.

As well as the reptiles, we saw huge numbers of unusual (to us) birds. Here are a few of them.


The anhinga, a bird that hunts underwater, drying its wings after a dive.


Portrait of a watchful cormorant.

Heron and Alligator

Heron pauses in its hunting to let an alligator go by.


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