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by Clyde Powell

 

 







 


Key West Area Parks Everglades National Park Safety Tips  

Key West Parks  
Safety Tips While Visiting the
Everglades National Park

bullet

Viewing Wildlife
You will see a large variety of wildlife while visiting the Everglades National Park.
Remember the animals are protected and move freely throughout the park. They
are wild and are fairly unafraid of humans. Please do not feed the wildlife. This
can not only be dangerous for you but is bad for the animals themselves. It is a bad
diet for the animals and makes them  associate food with humans.
Everglades National Park
Remember adult alligators have powerful jaws and a brain the size of a walnut. To
them all other creatures are rated as potential food or threat. This includes you.
Do not get any closer than 15 feet they may look big and slow but they can outrun
you. Swimming is not allowed at in most the freshwater bodies of water in the park.
Keep you kid and pets close to you out of hands reach may be too far. They are attracted to the same areas alligators like the waters edge. Plus they are about the
same size as the alligators natural prey. The best place to view alligators is the
elevated boardwalk at Anhinga Trail. If you see anyone feeding or harassing the
wildlife report it to a ranger or call 305-242-7740.
 

bulletThose little rascals Raccoons
Anyone who has spent any time in any of the parks on the east coast knows aboutKey West Parks, Everglades National Park
these little guys. Here in the Everglades it is no different. Use the usual precautions
Keep your food either in your car or in a hard sided cooler. If out camping hang it
up in a tree out of reach. Raccoons are very attracted to our food water and garbage. If confronted they can get nasty. They are also a carrier of rabies. So enjoy
these little rascals its always a pleasure to see them, but give them no reason to
hang out and become a pest to you or the next person.
 
bulletHeat
The heat and humidity can be overwhelming in the summer months, but you can
be overcome by heat anytime of the year. Just keep drinking lots of water. Don't
wait till your thirsty and avoid sodas. Working outside in Key West I joke with the
tourist who asked how do you stand the summers down here. I tell them it's not
hard you simply drink a gallon of water a day and don't go to the bathroom once
by the time October gets here we have a totally clean system. After sweating
out all the impurities all summer.
 
bulletPark Snakes
I don't know about you, but I don't do snakes period.
Their are about two dozen different species of snake in the park four of them are
venomous eastern diamondback rattlesnake, dusky pygmy rattlesnake, cottonmouth,
and coral snake. for the most part snakes will stay away form people but if you come
across one and not sure what it is just give it a wide berth. From my point of view
I give any snake a wide berth of about 1/4 mile, but that's me.
 
bulletThunderstorms
Usually in the summer it is not uncommon to get that daily thunderstorm. If you
have ever visited Florida you have notice its very flat. the only elevation we
have that you see is usually either a landfill or a highway overpass. So as you see
these thunderstorms approaching. We call these Florida Mountains you will see
why. Don't let the rain dampen your spirits they seldom last very long but they can
be very severe while they last. This is even more so if you are on the water. The
safest place to be is either in side a building or just in your car till it blows though.
Again in most cases this should only be 15 - 20 minutes.
 
bulletRemember this is their Home
The parks in south Florida are home to a great variety of wildlife. They should be
enjoyed but in at the same time left alone. If you approach any wild animal and
it changes its behavior you have gotten too close so back away letting them go
about their business. We are guest in their home so treat them the way a guest
should when they visit you in your home.
 
bulletPoisonwood
Contact with this poisonwood can lead to a rash that many say is worst then
poison ivy. I will try and get some good color pictures of this with out going
looking for some. The new leaves are bright to deep green in color. The older
leaves have black spots. The branches and trunk sometimes have black oozing
wounds. Good rule of thumb if you don't know what it is don't touch it.

Attention Boaters

bulletManatees
It is not uncommon to find manatees in the waterways of the Everglades. Living
in Florida for the past 9 Years, and vacationing since 1971 I have never seen a
adult manatee without scares on its back from boat propellers. Now we use these
scares to tell one from the other. Because they are slow moving and like shallow
water many are killed each year by careless boaters. To the best of my knowledge
there are less than 3000 alive today so the loss of any number is not acceptable.
If you come across an injured or dead manatee call the Florida Marine Patrol at
(1-800-DIAL FMP).
 
bulletDon't forget what is left in your boat
While driving in the Everglades you see very little litter. Thanks to the fact that
most of you who visit Parks are very aware of littering. The only place I have
notice it on a regular basis is when you are approaching Flamingo. The main
reason for this is boaters who leave trash in their boats after they pull them out
of the water, and are trailer them away. Not one of them would throw trash out
the window of their truck. But by leaving it in the boat it blows out as they leave
the area and pick up speed. So please police you boat before you leave for
anything that might blow out as you leave.
 
bulletSafe Boating
Boating In the Florida Bay as well as the Everglades Backcountry can be challenging
The waters are very shallow and you can run your boat aground very quickly. Not
only do damage your boat. You are also destroying the bay bottom that provides
food and shelter to many of the marine sea life. Refer to nautical charts as well
tide charts. These should help make for a safe and more enjoyable boat trip.

If you are driving to Key West either from home or after
flying into Miami this is a must side trip.
Clyde's Key West Parks
 


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