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7 Cool Facts About the Florida Everglades

America’s Everglades are a subtropical wilderness covering more than a million acres of south Florida. In close proximity to Miami, Naples, and Fort Lauderdale, Everglades National Park is a popular destination for Florida locals and visitors who want to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and wonder of this wetland ecosystem. Activities include hiking, biking, wildlife tours, and fishing.

Whether you’re an Everglades expert or first-time visitor, these fun facts will teach you something new about this national treasure – and prepare you for a visit to Everglades National Park. 

a bird flying over the water

39 threatened or endangered species live in the Everglades.

From the Florida panther to the American alligator, the Everglades are teeming with cool wildlife. Snakes, manatees, birds, and deer are just a few of the species you might see wandering around this lush habitat. You can read more about them here.

Part of what makes the Everglades so amazing is the sheer variety of wildlife and ecosystems at play. There are nine distinct habitats in the Everglades, providing a home to mammals, plants, reptiles, birds, and exquisite flora like dozens of orchid species. 

The animals of the Everglades make it an ideal place for nature enthusiasts, families, and adventurers. Airboat tours are the perfect way to spot wildlife in the Everglades.

Bonus Fact: The invasive Burmese python is wreaking havoc on Everglades ecosystems, killing important native species, especially small mammals. 

The Everglades provide drinking water for 8 million Floridians.

If you live in or visit the Dade, Palm Beach County, and Broward communities, chances are you’ll drink water from the Everglades National Park! The waters of the Everglades drain into the Biscayne Aquifer, preventing it from running dry or becoming contaminated by salt water. The Everglades are truly vital to animals and humans!

a large reptile in the water

This is the only place on earth where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

Crocodiles and alligators both live in the Everglades! This may come as a surprise if you know your gator trivia – alligators typically live in freshwater marshes, while crocodiles inhabit saltwater regions. You can usually spot alligators inland, near freshwater, and the crocodiles will be hanging out in the brackish coastal areas of the Everglades.

Do you know how to spot the differences? Look for the wide, U-shaped snout of the alligator and darker black coloring. In contrast, crocodiles have a V-shaped snout and are a light gray-brown.

The Everglades have shrunk by half…

1.5 million acres may seem like a huge swath of land, but believe it or not, the Everglades used to be twice the size! Spanning almost a third of Florida, the Everglades covered 3 million acres just 200 years ago. 

Today, only half of the Everglades system remains due to agriculture, urban development, and climate change. 

Bonus Fact: The average depth of the Everglades is just 4-5 feet, with the deepest point measured at 9 feet.

There are only two distinct seasons in the Everglades.

Don’t expect all four seasons in the Everglades. There’s a wet season and a dry season down here, and you should absolutely take this into account when planning your trip. The dry season runs from December through April and is known for fewer bugs and cooler temperatures. 

During the wet season, from May through November, temperatures in the park can reach highs in the 90s, and heavy rainfall is common. However, you’ll encounter fewer visitors in the park, making your experience more enjoyable.

Bonus Fact: The Everglades receive 60 inches of rain a year, almost double the amount of rain in Seattle, Washington.

a tall green grass

Everglades sawgrass can cut through your clothing!

Sawgrass is a tall, reed-like plant that is extremely plentiful in the Everglades. Growing up to 10 feet tall, it’s known for its sharp points that can cut you and your clothing – hence the name sawgrass. 

Although it sounds a little scary, sawgrass is essential for life in the Everglades because it provides nutritious seeds to birds, shelter for animals, and peat for other plants. Don’t worry! If you book an Everglades tour, your guide will keep you far away from this prickly plant.

Everglades National Park is the third-largest national park in the U.S.

Everglades is the third-largest national park after Death Valley and Yellowstone! The park receives about a million visitors annually from all over the world. 

There’s so much to do here, from airboat tours and boat rides to relaxing kayak rentals that let you explore the mangroves at your own pace.

We hope these fun Everglades facts gave you a better appreciation for Florida’s beautiful River of Grass! If you’re looking for more tips and information to plan your visit, be sure to read our Everglades frequently asked questions. Happy exploring!