Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Marco Island Animal Adventures

We had a terrific time during our Marco Island get away!

The beach and ocean, the 4th fireworks, good food, cold beer, seeing the two cousins together, getting to spend some long overdue time with my brother and his family and of course seeing my dad!

Here are some of the pictures we took of the local wildlife we encountered on our drive through the Everglades along Rt.41 and at Marco Island -

Our fist stop was at the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center in Ochopee, where we were greeted by several BIG alligators just cooling their heals in the canal

We spotted several Florida Softshell turtles, also swimming and floating in the canal among the gators, this one below being quite large too -

Ironically, we had just passed a street sign that read, "Gopher Turtle Crossing", and right on queue what did we spot, a Gopher Turtle about to cross.  We pulled the cars over, jumped out and took some pictures.  We then turned the critter around, pointing into the underbrush and said mush!

No, this slick, slithering dude is NOT a Florida Cottonmouth. Some of the locals might lead you to believe as such, rather, this is an Everglades Racer.  We spotted it outside the condo on our way to the pool.  Alyssa and I tried to catch it but were unsuccessful.

CRIKEY, is that a grasshopper?!  It sure is! Known as the Lubber Grasshopper, Floridians have little trouble recognizing this insect.  When alarmed, Lubbers spread their wings, hiss and secrete a foul -smelling froth.  However, this dude did no such thing as resident Floridian, animal enthusiast and also my niece Alyssa, picked it up, held it and let it crawl on her arm and head, EWW!

On our way to the beach for the July 4th firework show, just after dark, and in the middle of the walkway we came upon a little insect hanky-panky.  A pair of Two-Stripped Walking Sticks "cuddling", EWW!  We snapped a quick photo, then moved them into the brush along the walkway and out of harms way of foot traffic.

Of course there were many, many lizards all over, which Emilie was able to catch time and time again.  Then there were the incredibly noisy, either, Barking Treefrog or perhaps it was the Cuban Treefrog.  Whichever it was they were LOUD.  Also, when the tide went out, the sandbar had what seemed like and endless supply of the beautiful Sand Dollars!

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