Are There Sharks in the Everglades?
The Everglades, spanning from Orlando all the way down into the Florida Keys are bustling with vegetation and wildlife of all shapes, colors, and sizes. Perhaps most famous to the Everglades is the American Alligator, which brings millions of onlookers each year, all hoping to catch a glimpse from the safety of an airboat.
The American Alligator is undoubtedly the most sought after and most feared animal roaming the everglades waters, which also provides an environment for crocodiles to exist in. Considering the access points to the Everglades in South Florida are situated more inland, many people tend to forget about other potential predators that could be looming just beneath the surface.
It may be surprising to learn that sharks can live in the Everglades as well, considering they are thought to require saltwater, which would restrict them to oceans. Contrary to popular belief, there are a few species of sharks that can adapt and live in freshwater, including black tip sharks, lemon sharks, and bull sharks. Bull sharks, known as one of the most aggressive species of shark can be found living in the Everglades freshwater, and are known for cruising the river mouths, coastlines, and estuarine areas for smaller prey. The various streams and rivers of the Everglades feed into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, providing a haven for blacktips and lemon sharks from their predators.
How are the sharks able to live in the Everglades?
Sharks use an internal process called osmoregulation, which helps them to maintain and control water and salt concentrations within their body. Sharks in the Everglades use this tool to adjust their kidneys to withstand varying salinity, based on the type of water they’re swimming in. So, if you’re considering swimming in the Everglades, think again, since alligators, crocodiles, AND sharks share these waters.
Head down to Everglades Holiday Park for a day of outdoor adventure. Cruise around the Everglades in our covered airboat tours and keep an eye out for interesting marine life!
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