When most people think of the Florida Everglades, snakes are probably not the first image that comes to mind. With over 250,000 alligators, scores of wading birds and plentiful fish, the ‘glades is the place to be for extraordinary wildlife viewing. But among the lush subtropical landscape, there are some pretty incredible snakes lurking about that often go unnoticed.
Currently, there are over 50 species of snakes in the state of Florida, and 23 of them can be found in the Everglades. If you’re planning to visit the area or just interested in learning more about the amazing snakes of the Everglades, including which ones to avoid, here’s some information to get you started.
The Florida Everglades offers an exciting opportunity for families and outdoor enthusiasts to get up close and personal with nature and unique wildlife. Snakes are a major part of the experience and important inhabitants of the Everglades ecosystem. Most snakes that visitors encounter on a journey through the Everglades are non-venomous, and guided everglades airboat tours make it easy to take pictures, explore and enjoy the wetlands without worrying about a dangerous encounter. Many different snakes roam the area, and out of the over 20 different species who call the Everglades home, only 4 are venomous.
Non-Venomous Everglades Snakes
Eastern Indigo Snake - A non-venomous snake recognized by its lustrous black color, the Eastern Indigo snake is the longest native snake in the United States. Coming in at a whopping 9 feet on average, this Everglades snake is a sight to see! Preferring drier habitat, many of these creatures take shelter in hollow logs found throughout the area. Although the Indigo snake must endure commercial expansion and habitat degradation, it thrives within the confines of Everglades National Park’s pine and tropical hardwood forests.
Florida Brown Snake - On the opposite side of the scale from the Indigo, the Florida Brown snake is one of the smallest snakes in the Everglades. Measuring in at a mere 10 inches as an adult, Brown snakes can be seen feeding on small insects, frogs and spiders. Florida Brown snakes depend on the wet swamps and marshes that define the Everglades, and despite dealing with habitat threats, play a critical role in sustaining the health of the ecosystem.
Eastern Garter Snake - With three very long yellow stripes running down the length of its body, the Eastern Garter snake is easy to spot. Garter snakes prefer moist, grassy environments, making the Everglades ideal. They also prefer warm sunny weather, and feed happily on worms, fish and small toads.
Rat Snake - The Rat Snake is easily one of the most beautiful snakes in the world, defined by bright, tropical coloring. Elusive in the Everglades, the Rat snake doesn’t make an appearance often, but when they do, provide spectacular imagery to catch on film.
Burmese Python - Classified as an invasive species, the Burmese Python is one of the 5 largest snakes in the world, averaging 10-18 feet in length. Native to Southeast Asia, pythons have made their way to the Everglades mostly through abandonment and importation (which has since been banned by the U.S. Department of the Interior). They prefer grassland marshes and swamps, and feed on a diet of birds and mammals.
Venomous Everglades Snakes
There are venomous snakes in the state of Florida and 4 currently reside in the Everglades:
- Florida Cottonmouth
- Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
- Coral Snake
- Pygmy Rattlesnake
Florida Cottonmouth - As North America’s only venomous water snake, the Florida Cottonmouth, also called the water moccasin can be found in shallow marshes sunning itself in the Everglades. Incredibly strong swimmers, the Cottonmouth can grow to 6 feet in length and is identified by a thick body and distinctive block-shaped head.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake - Another venomous snake found in the Everglades is the notorious Diamondback Rattlesnake. As the largest rattlesnake in North America, Diamondbacks have been known to reach over 8 feet in length. Although a bite from a Diamondback can be dangerous, they are typically not aggressive, preferring to warn would-be threats with a characteristic rattle rather than a strike. Diamondbacks often live underground, and are skillful swimmers.
Coral Snake - The Coral snake is gorgeous to look at with bright red, yellow and black colors forming intricate patterns on the skin. Despite bright colors, Coral snakes are tough to spot as they prefer to stay underground and are not likely to make an appearance. A bite from a Coral snake is rare, accounting for less than 1 percent of all snakebites each year. Nevertheless, this snake is highly venomous and one strike could be fatal.
Pygmy Rattlesnake - Pygmy Rattlesnakes spend most of their time hidden, and as a result, are extremely difficult to spot. Identified by nine large scales on the top of the head, Pygmy Rattlesnakes are slighter smaller than traditional rattlers, measuring in at an average of 14-22 inches in length. While they can be found in a variety of habitats, they prefer marshes and swamps.In Conclusion
Snakes are an important part of the Everglades ecosystem, helping to maintain balance and equilibrium in the wetlands. Many snakes feed on smaller insects and bugs that damage the area, while others actually eat other venomous snakes! By helping to control the rodent population in the ‘glades and providing food for many other reptiles like alligators and birds, we welcome snakes as part of the extraordinary collection of spectacular wildlife that inhabit our lands.
Ready to explore the Everglades by airboat tour? If you’re searching for an exciting adventure for the entire family, be sure to visit www.evergladesholidaypark.com for more details on how you can book an invigorating tour through the magical Florida Everglades today!This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .