Orlando Wetland Park is located about forty-five minutes east of Orlando in Christmas, Florida. It’s a wonderful spot to walk and observe the diverse fauna and flora typical of Florida wetland habitat. While Deb and I wandered around the wetlands, quite lost in the vast expanse of the park, we met Josh and his family, who were serious herpetologists. They taught us a whole new way to observe wetlands, concentrating on the snakes and reptiles of the area as opposed to the birds we normally focus on. There is a whole new world out there, one that we will pay more attention to next time in the wetlands and I probably won’t wander as close to the water’s edge to get that low angle on a shore bird without also looking for fangs and rattles.
Pygmy Rattlesnake, a small rattler that is rather reclusive however we were told not to confuse its small size with its ability to really cause some grief if it sunk its fangs into your leg. Apparently, although rarely fatal in adults, a bite would cause a couple of days of severe pain regardless of treatment.
The Water Moccasin is a pit viper that is also found in Florida. Much larger than the Pygmy Rattler and although rarely aggressive towards humans does posses a potentially fatal bite. The Water Moccasin is the world’s only semiaquatic viper. The following image was taken at the Viera Wetlands, about thirty miles south-east of the Orlando Wetland Park.
The Orlando Wetlands Park is also known for the large Garpike that inhabit some of its ponds. The gar has a body shape not unlike our Northern Pike, however their broad, teeth lined mouths give the Garpike a very distinctive look.
It’s almost impossible not to see alligators while walking around in Florida wetlands, however it is unusual to see new-born alligators as we did this year. We counted eight little gators, that Josh explained to us were probably only a day old and enjoyed watching them swimming around under the watchful eye of their mother who was lurking close by in the reeds. The young alligators were about ten inches long and almost cute….well maybe that’s an exaggeration.
Someday they will look like this.
In keeping with the wildlife theme of this post, here are a couple of shots taken in Algonquin Park just before we headed to Florida for March break. This Red Fox was very friendly, infact as soon as I squatted down to get a low angle for these shots the fox came right up to the end of my lens, presumably looking for a handout.
Other sample of wildlife can be seen in the gallery