Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve

Animals

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Florida Panthers exist in the wild? 
The panther population is estimated to be between 80 - 100 cats within the state. Big Cypress National Preserve is home to approximately 30 - 35 of those cats.

What is the difference between an American alligator and an American crocodile?
Both are large reptilians that can be found in South Florida, the only place in the world where the animals coexist. Primarily alligators are found in freshwater habitats and crocodiles in coastal estuaries (they are better at expelling salt from the water).

Other differences include their coloration, alligators are black while crocodiles tend to be an olive green. Finally, the main way to tell the difference is by the shapes of their snouts. Alligators have a bunt "U" shaped nose while crocodiles have a more pointed "A" shaped nose.

Alligators can be found in several areas of the Preserve, while there has been only one recorded sighting of a crocodile. Primarily crocodiles are found near Key Largo and in Florida Bay. The crocodile is an endangered species with an estimated population of about 1500 animals, all of which are in Florida within the United States.

Animals

The Big Cypress National Preserve is home to many mammals, birds, and reptiles unique to Florida’s climate. It is easy to view and appreciate Florida’s largest reptile, the American alligator, living here in its natural environment. Anhingas, egrets, and herons are found in plentiful numbers feeding, displaying courtship feathers, and nesting in and among the Cypress trees. Occasionally, one can witness river otter, bobcats, black bear, and the endangered Florida panther on the Preserves’ back roads and trails.