Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail

Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 5 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Mind your step!

We went to the Everglades (that’s like saying we went to New York), specifically Anhinga Trail, the most accessible wildlife stop in the Everglades.

Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 2 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Heron

It is a short trail (about 0.4 miles) in the Everglades National Park. Located 4 miles from the park entrance, the Anhinga Trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center. The trail is a paved walkway and a boardwalk over Taylor Slough, a freshwater sawgrass marsh. It is chock full of alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, and egrets with ‘Glades greenery galore. it is one of the most popular trails in the Park.



Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 3 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Alligator

On November 5, 1996, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 7 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Anhinga attracting mate

For those of you who may not be familiar with the bird, an anhinga is a cormorant-like water bird sometimes called Snakebird, Darter, American Darter, or Water Turkey. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. It often swims with only the neck above water looking like a snake ready to strike. Unlike ducks, the Anhinga is not able to waterproof its feathers using oil glands, so their feathers can become waterlogged, making the bird barely buoyant.

Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 1 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Vulture

However, this allows it to dive easily and search for underwater prey, such as fish and amphibians. It can stay down for significant periods. So we often see the anhinga drying out its wings and feathers, perching for long periods with its wings spread to allow the drying process, as do cormorants. If it attempts to fly while its wings are wet, it has great difficulty getting off the water and takes off by flapping vigorously while “running” on the water.

Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 4 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Great Blue Heron

In 2003, tourists witnessed a fight on Anhinga Trail between an alligator and a Burmese python which went on for 24 hours, until a larger alligator joined the fight and the snake escaped. Video and news coverage of the fight was widespread and brought attention to the spread of the python, an invasive species, in the Everglades.

Anhinga Trail January 30 2013 6 Trip to the Everglades, Anhinga Trail
Anhinga Trail: Anhinga

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