Monday, February 23, 2015

After a While...


Teri and I have seen alligators in many locations along the Gulf Coast, but had never seen an American Crocodile. Their range in the United States is restricted to Southern Florida, and they are not nearly as common as alligators.

During our first day at Everglades National Park we made our way to the Flamingo Visitor Center in the southern end of the park. We were told that the best place to see crocodiles was along the Buttonwood Canal. So we headed to that area, only to be blocked by a gate across a bridge. As we stood there we became aware of an enormous gray shape on the other side of the bridge. We slowly realized that we were seeing not one, but two, very large American Crocodiles!

American Crocodile
For the safety of the visitors, and perhaps the crocodiles, we were kept back at a safe distance from the pair. They were easily 12' - 14' long, and very wide. They were a dull gray color and our first impression was that they were concrete replicas. But Teri noticed that they blinked occasionally and we determined that they were the real deal.

In the marina itself, we found a group of Florida Manatees loafing. We got great looks at these remarkable animals. 
Florida Manatee
On our second day we took a tram tour through Shark Valley at the northern end of the park. From the observation tower we observed a smaller crocodile. The location was unusual as this was fresh water and crocs typically inhabit salt water. We were told that this was a first.

This crocodile was smaller than the two from the previous day, but his Florida Softshell Turtle buddy was impressively large at around 24" long.
American Crocodile with Florida Softshell Turtle
Some of our readers may be wondering about bird pictures. I promise plenty of them in another blog. But for now, I'll mention that we were treated to a group of Swallow-tailed Kites flying over the road. Some consider them the most striking of the North American birds, and I wouldn't argue.
Swallow-tailed Kite
The End!


  1. That kite is gorgeous! Okay, the crocs are ugly, but they're supposed to be ;-)

  2. It's hard to beat the Everglades for stunning sights!

  3. We saw our first Swallow-tailed Kite in the Rio Grande Valley at El Ranchito when I was doing bird surveys!!! Nice Sight!!!