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What in the World is an Anole? - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
"What is four-to-eight inches long, slender, green all over, and has a long nose? Yep! You guessed it; an Anole Lizard, pronounced uh-no-lee. It is also commonly referred to as a chameleon because it can change colors like chameleons, but it is not related whatsoever. This green anole lizard can quickly change its bright colorful shade into a dull brown color."
Armadillos in Florida! - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
"These small, prehistoric-looking mammals, with their leathery armor shell have consistently expanded their range during the past century from Texas into the Florida Panhandle area and beyond. It has also been reported in several sources that the Florida armadillo population was the result of a few animals released from a small zoo back in 1924, combined with several more that escaped from a traveling circus in 1936 and what we have today are their offspring. "
Bats: Misunderstood for Centuries - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
"For centuries bats have been portrayed as evil and menacing when in actuality they are quite harmless and highly beneficial mammals. Many myths and misconceptions still abound. Bats are not dirty blood suckers - they actually groom themselves quite frequently, much like cats. Bats are not rodents or flying mice."
It's A Bird; It's A Plane; No, It's a Mourning Dove! - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
"One of the most common and popular backyard birds is the Mourning Dove; whose soulful "cooing" sounds are heard early in the morning. The Mourning Dove, Zenaida Macroura, is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. As one of the most abundant and widespread birds in North America, it is also referred to as the Rain Dove as well as the American Mourning Dove. Sadly, it is also at the top of the list for game birds, with up to 70 million birds shot annually for both sport and meat in the United States. Doves and pigeons belong in the same family and understandably are often interchanged."
Southwest Florida's School of Fish - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
"One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish," - famous words from bestselling children's author Dr. Seuss are actually a surprisingly accurate description of marine life here in our Southwest Florida waters; which are indeed home to both red fish, called redfish or red drum - because of the grunting sound they make; and blue fish, called white grunt - because of the audible grunting produced by the grinding of their teeth, with their bladder acting as an amplifier. These fish, along with more than 250 other species of fish come in a variety of colors, sizes and names from A to Z, which can all be found here in our Gulf of Mexico waters. Our thanks to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for their assistance. How many can you name?
Gopher Tortoises - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
Did you know that the Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus, is Florida's only true tortoise as well as being labeled the state tortoise and is the only native tortoise living east of the Mississippi? It belongs to a group of land tortoises that originated in North America 60 million years ago, making it one of the oldest living species. Their skin color ranges from light to grayish or dark brown, as is its carapace "shell", although their upper shell is yellowish brown in color. The slow-moving tortoise can grow to as much as 14.6 inches in length, and weigh roughly 29 pounds. Their shorter hind legs are reminiscent of those of an elephant; however, their long front legs with sharp claws are for burrowing. They are also incapable of swimming.
Herons in Florida - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
Southwest Florida is home to many varieties of herons that include the Great
Blue Heron, Louisiana Heron, Little Blue Heron, Great White Heron, Little Green
Heron, Wurdemann's Heron, and the Night Herons. These beautiful waterbirds are
truly delightful to observe and each have their own distinctive characteristics and
habits. Let's break them down so you can identify which one is which...
K is for Katydids - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
Did you know that the best way to locate a singing katydid, day or night, is to follow the sound it makes while hidden? Meadow katydids, those who live in open damp or marshy areas, sing throughout the day, all the while perched on swaying blades of grass. Most species live for up to one year; however, some of the tropic species have been known to live for several years. ...
Invasive Plants - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
Webster's Dictionary defines invasive as: tending to infringe or spread; and over the years Floridian's have continued to suffer from an invasion of non-native plants that threaten the pristine beauty of our natural places. If plants were here before Columbus arrived they are considered native. Since a native plant doesn't usually take over its home range, it can exist in harmony with many other plants
Jellyfish - The ABCs of the Florida Landscape by Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
Jellyfish, jellies, or sea jellies, are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria, and all have a basic body structure resembling that of an umbrella. Jelly- fish are not true fish either, American public aquariums have popularized the term jellies or sea jellies instead. They don't actually swim either; rather, the currents propel the jellies - and why even in public aquariums they need the flowing waters to replicate the currents found in the oceans....
The Big Cypress:
Adventures in a Vast Wilderness by Kris Thoemke
"Seeing so much of the spectacular beauty of the Big Cypress in
one day is a sobering reminder of how important it is to conserve
this resource for future generations to appreciate."
Along the River by Sandee Harraden
"Imagine yourself escaping into a wilderness of warmth and beauty, filled with wildlife and excitement, gliding silently along and coming upon a sunning alligator, a flock of ibis, or watching an eagle soar above you."
National Park Then and Now by Kris Thoemke
"While first time visitors continue to marvel at the park
and its wildlife, those intimately familiar with it know that ...
[it] is not what evoked the awe seen by the early naturalists who
explored the region."