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This is the only place on Earth where wild Florida panthers exist and alligators mingle with crocodiles. Manatee, Roseate spoonbill, black bear, dolphins, and horseshoe crabs are just the beginning of your wildlife adventure. Tropical and migratory birds, land and sea mammals, and other wildlife. Activities: Hiking, kayaking, camping, drive tours, boat tours.

Guided and unguided. This is also one of the only places on the planet where you can experience crocodiles AND alligators living dinosaurs! And that bis only the beginning.


Oh yes! Interested in being part of the conservation community? We have found plenty of Citizen Science opportunities to participate in while on vacation. Let's go! No visit to the Everglades is complete without an alligator sighting. The largest reptile in North America can be traced back millions of years. These living fossils rest during the day so the waters look empty and inviting, but stay out!

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Alligators are highly territorial. While attacks on humans are rare, they do occur, usually due to human error. Males can reach 14 feet 4. It might be a crocodile! Far less common than alligators, Florida lists them as Threatened, but Federally crocs are still listed as Endangered. Crocs AND 'Gators? Crocs and 'gators in the same area? The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles can be found together is south Florida, where salt and fresh water mix.

The area around Everglades City has great crocodile spotting potential! Look at their snouts for a fast ID. The almost U-shaped snout of an alligator is more rounded than that of a crock. Their coloring is different too, crocodiles are a more gray-green compared to the darker, blackish alligator. Big Cypress National Preserve is an almost guaranteed alligator sighting area. Look along the side the road for sunning alligators.

For a close encounter, take a kayak tour! Read this. For crocodiles you need to be where salt meets fresh water - the 10, Islands National Wildlife Refuge is perfect. Spotting Hint: In the water look for eyes and the tip of snout just skimming the surface. Watch for babies and very young crocodilians in shallow grassy pools.

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They are huge, weighing up to pounds k , slow moving, gentle, playful, and seem to enjoy a kind of relaxed body surfing and rolling in their warm water habitat. Manatees constantly graze on under water sea grass but must come up to breathe. Listed as Endangered in , Florida manatees have recovered to approximately 6, individuals and were federally down listed to Threatened in due to conservation successes. They prefer water temperatures above degrees F 20C. Fluctuating temperatures caused by climate change or other circumstances threaten their survival, deaths caused by cold in , as does the continued habitat loss, and threats from chemical and other pollutants.

Your Boat Can Kill a Manatee Water craft collisions are also responsible for Florida manatee deaths every year with killed in boating accidents in Look at any individual's back and flippers and you will see scars from propeller accidents. Spotting Hint: Watch the water for loose sea grass fronds floating to the surface.

First visit to the Amazing WILD FLORIDA!

Manatees are sloppy eaters. Broken fronds surfacing means there are manatees below feasting. Stop your boat and wait quietly, when a manatee comes up for air it will probably take the opportunity to check you out as well. Want to help a manatee?

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Slow your boat and secure your trash. Every year manatees are killed by boat collisions, ingesting plastic garbage and other trash in the water, and by becoming entangled by loose fishing line. Citizen Science opportunity: Be a manatee field work intern with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and help identify manatees. Look up too. The Roseate spoonbill roosts in trees. These are fairly skittish birds, give them space.

Go by boat or kayak, move slowly and be prepared to stop a fair distance away to watch the action. Black bear are the only wild bear species in Florida. They are fairly common the national parks and preserves in and around Everglades City. Want to see a Florida black bear? Take a driving safari in the early morning or late afternoon.

We did one early evening and were able to watch a young bear from the car just lumbering down the road completely unconcerned about us. Finally, after about twenty minutes, something in the forest caught his eye or his nose! Black bear range in color from black to cinnamon and in size from just pounds 60kg up to pounds kg.

Females are smaller than males. If they can steal your food or garbage they will. Be aware of black bears, they have no sense of humor when disturbed, and especially around the breeding time or with cubs they can be dangerous.

Conserving nature and our outdoor heritage

Does it look like a large, perhaps slightly inebriated, human? Grab your binoculars, it might just be a bear! The Florida panther is one of the world's most endangered species. This amber-eyed, tawny-colored feline once ranged throughout the southeastern United States. He Sees You! Try your luck.

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Florida panthers can and have been seen right here in Collier County. Careless Drivers Kill Panthers Unfortunately for the Florida panther, many encounters with humans result in the cat not living past the occasion. Staying vigilant and respecting 45MPH night time speed limits posted in panther areas are important ways you can really make a difference when driving through the western Everglades. They can reach 7 feet 2.

Space is limited and interest is high, so advance purchase is required. We have 60 mat spots available. Tickets are non-refundable as this is a donation to the sanctuary. We Need Your Support. We invite you to visit our Amazon Wish List, a registry of items used for day-to-day care and animal enrichment — providing hours of fun, entertainment and stimulation for our residents!

By purchasing an item from the registry, you are directly supporting the care of our animals. We hope you'll check back often, new items will be added weekly!

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    Wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitat. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be around for future generations to enjoy and also to recognize the importance of wildlife and wilderness for humans and other species alike.