Of the many species of wildlife that live in the Everglades, there are only a few that are well-known. The American alligator, Florida panther, and many wading bird species are the first animals people associate with the Florida Everglades. There are also several other Everglades animals native to Florida that make their home here as well, but are overlooked. Here are four of these Everglades hometown heroes.

Everglades Snail Kite

This medium-sized bird of prey differs from other raptors, as it feeds on mollusks, primarily snails. Snail kites are easily identified by their slender, curved bills, which help them to easily extract apple snails, their primary prey, from their shells. Their very specific diet depends upon the water levels and water quality of the Everglades, and they are listed as endangered due to habitat degradation affecting apple snail populations.

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Everglades Snail Kite

Florida Black Bear

The only species of bear found in Florida, the Florida black bear has adapted to living in a subtropical habitat. It mostly thrives on acorns, palmetto berries, nuts, and holly as well as colonial insects like ants, termites, bees, and wasps. During their breeding season in the summer, black bears consume 5000 calories a day! Florida black bears favor habitats that have a dense understory, and can be found in the forested sloughs, oak scrubs, pine rocklands, and other wooded areas in the Everglades.

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Florida Black Bear Cub

American Purple Gallinule

This colorful bird is found in marshes throughout the tropics, but it’s only year-round residence in America is the Florida Everglades. Named for its mostly purple feathers, its green back, red and yellow bill, blue forehead and long, yellow legs make it a walking rainbow. The purple gallinule also has very long toes to allow it to walk on lily pads and floating vegetation without sinking.

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Purple Gallinule

Everglades Mink

One of three species of mink living in Florida, the Everglades mink can be found in swamps and freshwater marshes. These aquatic mammals are nocturnal hunters and fierce fighters, capable of attacking prey larger than them. Everglades mink activity has been observed to increase before storms and other changes in weather.

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Everglades Mink

These Everglades animals might not have the star power that alligators and roseate spoonbills do, but their uniqueness to the Florida Everglades makes them equally as important. When you take a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, you get a chance to see the magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Like the Gladesmen Culture that has thrived here for generations, so do countless animal species.