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some epiphytes:

  • bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
  • cigar orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum)

Epiphytes are plants that grow on top of other plants in a commensal way (unless they turn into a strangler fig). It takes its nutrients from the air and the plant it is living on.  The term “epiphyte” comes from a Greek term. “Epi” means upon and “phyte” means plant. Epiphytes can be very important water reserves for some small species such as frogs, some lizards, and even birds. 

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(Alligator mississippiensis)

an American Alligator taking a nice dip in the water.

The American alligator is a rare success story of an endangered animal not only saved from extinction but now thriving. It is now illegal to try to catch, feed, or kill an alligator. The American alligator is an apex predator and a keystone species to the ecosystem. They create alligator holes in which always have water, so that when the dry season comes around, animals will have a place to rest, feed, and survive. Alligators feed on fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals but a hungry alligator will eat just about anything it can, including people!

Big Cypress History

     When most Americans think of the swamps in South Florida, the Everglades usually come to mind. The Big Cypress however, is more diverse in fauna and flora than the Everglades! These two separate ecosystems that neighbor each other consist of bogs, marshes, hammocks, and the famous “river of grass” the Everglades is known for. 
When settlers came to the area they saw this as merely a swamp that is to be dug out and used for urban development. 
     Joe Browder spearheaded the resistance to build a development in this area. He actually relied on the alligator poachers, as they valued the land just as much as the Liberals, conservaties, and other advocates that wanted to protect big cypress. Browder had the poachers would survey the area to check for animal population. 

    Nathaniel Reed was politician who also cared for the protection and conservation of big cypress. He flew over the big cypress and saw they were going to build an airport over big a huge part of the swamp. Being a politician he was able to stop the process by legal means, stating it would disrupt the sheet flow of the Big Cypress.. Some remains of the beginning of the construction are still there today.
Today, about one million individuals visit the Preserve each year. They are allowed to hunt, camp, drill oil, and drive authorized vehicles through the swamp. 

a Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus)

Florida gars are found in the Ochlockonee River and east through south in peninsular Florida where there are canals, lakes and streams. Adult Florida gars feed on fish, shrimp, and crayfish.

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