The Everglades, Florida

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DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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5,539
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
Are those vulture toys hanging behind the sign?
Yes, but I have not seen a single bird get near them. They like the cars MUCH better.

Why do these black vultures only like to hang out there at that visitor center? There were none at the other visitor center, but there sure were a lot of green anode lizards there. I wondered how common those lizards would be out here and now I know they are very common.

but hopefully they will not bring their destructive habits with them.
Good luck on that!

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
 

Tiercel

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Jul 20, 2021
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441
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Pennsylvania
Although some range maps don't show PA, we have had large numbers of Black Vultures for at least decades. I have never heard of bad behavior from them. Clearly, the ones at the park are very habituated to visitors.
 

JudyJB

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Jul 6, 2010
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1,947
They also hang out at other places, but why they choose one over the other, I have no idea. I am headed to Myakka River SP in a few days, and that is also a spot with a sign in the parking lot about car damage from vultures. The funny thing is that they only hang around the parking lot near the lake and store. I have never seen any in the rest of the state park, other than in one campground near the lake. And they only roost in the campground--do not try to destroy motorhomes or campers.

I am guessing some people who neglect to cover their cars don't appreciate that these vultures have been sitting around in nearby trees just waiting for the next victim to arrive! And no doubt chuckling in bird language.

By the way, I think you said you saw an iguana in an earlier post. They are non-native, and the belief is that they came over from the tropics on vegetation mats during one of the many hurricanes.
 

DonTom

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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
By the way, I think you said you saw an iguana in an earlier post.
Yes, trying to cross the FL Turnpike! It's probably now lizard stew, but there was no way I could see behind to know if it had enough sense to make a U-turn within the next foot or so. If it kept on going straight, it had NO chance to survive.

I assumed it was somebody's escaped pet. I know they are not native to anywhere in the USA, but they do come within about 100 miles from our borders with Mexico in some areas where they are native.

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
 

DonTom

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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
If you want to slosh around in the "River of Grass," you could also try your hand at python hunting.
I didn't realize there were enough iguanas in FL to become such a problem.

I think the entire country has heard about the invasive pythons. I have wondered if that problem is exaggerated a bit. Gators and pythons eat up the same stuff--including each other. So it would be like adding a few to FL's 1.3 million gators. And those snakes can go about a year without eating anything, just as with the gators.

Maybe those invasive pythons and native gators can eat up some of those invasive iguanas! That will help a little with one of the two issues.

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
 

DonTom

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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
Marianna is a great place to view hurricanes.
I had no idea. How often does that happen? Looks like such a nice peaceful place. So far, my favorite town, perhaps of anywhere in the USA. Just the right size, people are very friendly everywhere. And I saw no homeless or bums there at all. Nice weather and all. But warmer here, especially at night.

BTW, my next stop will be Lake Okeechobee on Dec 15th for a few days and nights and then north right by ST. Cloud. So perhaps we can get together then, if you wanna.

Is there usually room at the RV park you're at?

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
 

SeilerBird

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Feb 25, 2012
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16,474
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
I had no idea. How often does that happen? Looks like such a nice peaceful place. So far, my favorite town, perhaps of anywhere in the USA. Just the right size, people are very friendly everywhere. And I saw no homeless or bums there at all. Nice weather and all. But warmer here, especially at night.

BTW, my next stop will be Lake Okeechobee on Dec 15th for a few days and nights and then north right by ST. Cloud. So perhaps we can get together then, if you wanna.

Is there usually room at the RV park you're at?

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
I am all in favor of a mini rally. I think there are spaces available here at The Floridian. You could call them and see...(407) 892-5171. I don't know if anyone else is around here.
 

SeilerBird

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Feb 25, 2012
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16,474
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
Is that this place? It sure has a lot of negative reviews. What is your opinion of the place?

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
That is the place. It gets bad reviews from the college kids down here for Easter vacation. They get pissed off when the security guys won't let them stay up all night and party. I have been here nine years and I would not move. I love it here. I have the best site in the park, right on a small lagoon. The park was sold a few years ago and the new owners have been putting a lot of money into the park. A few months ago they repaved the entire park.
 

Ex-Calif

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May 15, 2020
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2,216
Don ask around about propane. I got a truck to come by and didn't have to leave the park to refill. The trucks are usually out and about servicing farms and such...
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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5,539
Location
Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
Don ask around about propane. I got a truck to come by and didn't have to leave the park to refill. The trucks are usually out and about servicing farms and such...
I have been to places that have done that.

But I already took this RV to HomeStead today, I got propane, gasoline, more drinks, bottled water, tanks dumped, full of fresh water.

On the way back, inside the park, I had to stop my RV on the road with a car behind me which looked like I stopped for apparently no reason whatsoever in the middle of the road. The car behind me went around me. The smart thing for it to do would have been to also stop. But no harm done this time.

In my many years of driving I have learned when a vehicle in front of me stops for apparently no reason whatsoever, with a car behind, It is ALWAYS a VERY important reason, no exceptions at all, ever. People do NOT stop on a road with a car behind them just for the fun of it!

The reason I stopped was because a Box Turtle was crossing the road.

Speed limits in these parks are extra low for that reason (wildlife on roads) , but some people do not understand that.

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
 

ziplock

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Dec 3, 2017
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1,125
The reason I stopped was because a Box Turtle was crossing the road.
They used to be all around here when I was young, but now you rarely spot one.

Funny thing: When I was 11 or 12 I wanted to be a herpetologist too.


OVERVIEW​

“Where I live”

There are 6 subspecies of box turtle, four native to the United States and two native to Mexico. The Eastern box turtle, T. carolina carolina, inhabits the eastern and central United States from southern Maine to Florida and west into Michigan, Illinois, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Box turtles prefer habitat from open fields to wooded or marshy areas, preferably with a lot of leaf cover. People may see box turtles in their backyards. They can also be seen in the Meadow in the Maryland Wilderness at the Maryland Zoo.

“How I live there”

Most box turtles spend their entire lives – which can exceed 100 years! – within 250 yards of the nests where they were born. A box turtle makes a mental map of its home territory and knows exactly where to find food throughout the year. If removed from its home territory, it will make every effort to return. It probably will succeed if moved less than a mile or two away, but probably will not if moved further, although it may try for years. Home ranges often overlap and box turtles are not aggressively territorial. They are often found in groups and tolerate others in their territory without displaying aggression.
Box turtles are active during the warmer months. They may stay hidden during the hottest part of the day but are still active during daylight hours. Box turtles brumate through the winter. They take shelter by burrowing up to two feet deep in dirt, mud, stream bottoms, stump holes, or mammal burrows. A winter brumation burrow is called a hibernacula. One or more box turtles may share the same hibernacula.

“Making my mark”

The Eastern box turtle has a brownish-black shell that is spotted or streaked with yellow or orange. Males and females can be told apart by differences in size and some traits. Males are slightly larger than females and have thicker, longer tails. Males have bright red eyes; females have yellowish-brown eyes. Males have short, thick, curved rear claws while females have longer, straighter, and more slender rear claws.

Raising Young

Reproduction does not come readily or easily to Eastern box turtles. It can take a female box turtle at least five years, and possibly a full decade, to reach sexual maturity. When she is ready to breed, she must first encounter a mate, which may or may not happen depending on whether her home territory (which she won’t leave) happens to overlap with a mate’s home territory (which he won’t leave). She may then lay eggs, but they will be few in number and may include some infertile ones. If the eggs make it to hatching, the hatchlings will be extremely vulnerable to predation and few if any will make it to adulthood. Given the odds against reproductive success for box turtles, this is why it is so important to the long-term viability of any local population to leave it intact and not remove any adults.
Box turtle mating season begins in the spring and continues through the summer. A male may mate with the same female several years in a row, or with several females, depending on availability. Interestingly, females can lay fertile eggs up to four years (!!!) after a successful mating.
Females make their nests in the leaf litter and lay 3 to 8 eggs per clutch. Incubation lasts about three months, and temperature determines the sex of the young. If eggs are incubated in a temperature range of 72-81 degrees Fahrenheit, the hatchlings will be male. If the incubation temperature is 82 degrees or above, the hatchlings will be female.

“What eats me”

Box turtle eggs and soft-shelled hatchlings are extremely vulnerable to predators of many types. By contrast, adult box turtles sealed inside their shells are safe from almost any predator except Man. This does not mean that life is always safe for box turtles, though. The number one cause of death for this reptile is collision with a car. Development is not a friend to box turtles. When a turtle’s home territory becomes fragmented by roads and other construction, it does not abandon or alter the territory. This means that eventually the turtle will try to cross a road and will get in harm’s way.

Conservation

Box turtles are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, the world’s leading conservation organization. Generally speaking, box turtles are in decline throughout their range. They are relatively common in Maryland but are nonetheless threatened here and elsewhere by habitat loss, collisions with cars, and over-collection. In Maryland, it is illegal to take box turtles out of the wild in order to sell them as pets.

What You Can Do to Protect Turtles

  • Never remove a turtle from the wild.
  • Never relocate a turtle in the wild, unless you see one trying to cross a road. Help a turtle cross a road only if you can do so safely, and be sure to point it in the same direction that it was headed.
  • Never return a pet or rescued turtle to the wild without first contacting the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
  • Educate friends and family about the importance of observing – but not touching, disturbing or collecting – turtles in the wild.
  • When visiting wetlands, tread lightly and stay on designated paths.
  • Use pesticides and other hazardous materials sparingly and dispose of them properly to insure that they do not end up in waterways.
  • Recycle in order to reduce waste and reduce the need for landfills.

https://www.marylandzoo.org/animal/eastern-box-turtle/#
 

Ex-Calif

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Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
2,216
I have been to places that have done that.

But I already took this RV to HomeStead today, I got propane, gasoline, more drinks, bottled water, tanks dumped, full of fresh water.

On the way back, inside the park, I had to stop my RV on the road with a car behind me which looked like I stopped for apparently no reason whatsoever in the middle of the road. The car behind me went around me. The smart thing for it to do would have been to also stop. But no harm done this time.

In my many years of driving I have learned when a vehicle in front of me stops for apparently no reason whatsoever, with a car behind, It is ALWAYS a VERY important reason, no exceptions at all, ever. People do NOT stop on a road with a car behind them just for the fun of it!

The reason I stopped was because a Box Turtle was crossing the road.

Speed limits in these parks are extra low for that reason (wildlife on roads) , but some people do not understand that.

-Don- Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
I'll stop for them and get them across the road...
 

JudyJB

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Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Posts
1,947
Keep a lookout for gopher tortoises. They are very common in Florida and dig burrows in sandy soil. They are tall for a tortoise and long, and do not spend time in water. They are about 10" long, 5" wide, and maybe 6" tall. They are protected because lots of other animals use their burrows--rabbits, opossums, mice, quail, skunks, and even snakes.

Black vultures are a bit smaller than juvenile turkey vultures, plus they have slightly shorter tails for their size. Also, black vultures are a glossy black while even juvenile turkey vultures are more brown.

And as my son says, turkey vultures are "tippy" when they fly. In other words, they are constantly tipping to one side or another as they fly. Black vultures are more stable in flight. (Son has degree in natural resources and biology, and is great to travel with because he can identify almost anything as you drive. He is also a high school teacher, but I rely on him for bird info, however, I once sent him a photo of a tree I wanted to identify, and he wanted me to lick it to see how it tasted!!)
 
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