Strange Creatures in The Everglades
With thousands of square miles of natural, preserved land, it can only be expected that a few strange creatures have made their homes in their Everglades. Forget the Skunk Ape, forget the strange noises that go bump—these are real creatures we may just come across during our adventure deep into one of Florida’s greatest natural wonder, The Florida Everglades.
This non-native invader, scientifically known as Channa marulius, has arrived in the waters of our Everglades via South Florida canals. Though it is unknown how they reached the area from their native home of Asia, the Frankenfish has sure made a name for itself in the 20 years since it was discovered in Florida. These fish can grow up to 3 feet long; lay thousands of eggs at a time and love to feast on the eggs of bass. This red-eyed ambush predator has a flat head and dark, torpedo body. It’s claim to fame is that Frankenfish can breath air and even potentially walk on land (which has been disproven).
Found on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, where the sawgrass meets the sand, is the strange Man-O-War. These bright blue, gelatinous sea creatures frequently wash up with the waves. Though similar to a jellyfish, these creatures are actually a colony of independent life forms that combined to create a single entity. Characterized by its striking “bladder”, this feature allows the Man-O-War to float freely atop the water’s surface. Be careful, underneath the bladder is up to 30 feet of poisonous tentacles!
It’s hard to miss these little guys when you’re down in any part of southwest Florida—especially during the summertime. You will likely find them in most outdoor spaces lounging in the sun, scurrying across branches or doing their “push ups” (used to woo the female anoles during mating season). Florida is home to exactly 4 species of anole including: the green anole, brown anole, bark anole, and the Cuban knight anole. At the bottom of the food chain compared to birds, cats and other outdoor carnivores, the anole is an infamous escape artist. Anole’s have developed a tail that breaks off when their attacker attempts to capture them.