The Keeper of the Everglades

The Everglades is one of the most unique and incredible ecosystems of the world. It is the largest sub-tropical wilderness on the North American continent. Its unique biological diversity and significance has classified the Everglades as a World Heritage site. The Everglades is an incredible ecosystem and the alligator plays a key role in the survival of most of the animals living in the ecosystem. South Florida has two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. During the rainy season the alligator creates an incredible hole using its feet and rounded snout to clear out vegetation and muck. Enough water is gathered in the holes during the dry season to sustain plenty of wildlife and keep the alligator alive. The alligator hole (home) essentially becomes a sanctuary for birds, snakes, fish, frogs, snails, and other animals during the dry season. During this time the alligator’s guests live well. Although, there is a price to pay…  While plenty of animals are thriving and partying in the alligator’s hole, one of the guests inevitably becomes prey to a hungry alligator. Alligators were once hunted down for their hide until 1967 when the alligator was considered endangered and listed on the Endangered Species Act. Today the alligator is no longer an endangered species and continues to be the “Keeper of the Everglades.” Image: “Being Carried Away to the Everglades” Watercolor Norma Hartell, 2016  

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