Marsh/Swamp


           

Description: The Okefenokee Swamp is a true wildlife refuge. It is covered with peat (decaying plants). The peat is so thick in some areas that you can walk on top of it when you are in the water. The wildlife seen in the great swamp are in their natural surroundings.

 

Location: The Okefenokee Swamp is in southern Georgia and extends all the way to the Georgia-Florida state line.

Which animals live in the Marsh/Swamp area?

The cottonmouth water moccasin is the only North American poisonous water snake! It is a pit viper in the same family as the Copperhead and the Rattler. This is a dangerous snake that will fight when attacked or even approach an intruder. It likes to lie still on rocks, limbs, or logs at the water's edge, looking for prey. Thiry-five other snakes also call the Georgian swamps home.

Alligators are the largest reptiles in North America. Alligators are carnivores, which means it is a meat eater! It eats fish, smaller alligators, snakes, water birds, raccoons, and wild pigs. It likes shallow fresh water with mud or sandy banks. When they are not hunting they like to take sun baths.

The otter lives along rivers, streams, marshes, and swamps. It is a very smart, curious animal, and very playful.  It loves to make slides on river banks. It eats fish, crabs, rodents, eggs, birds, and small reptiles. IAlligators, bobcats, and coyotes sometimes eat otters.

The Green Tree Frog is nocturnal and gathers in large numbers at night. It eats small insects and other invertebrates. It prefers swamps and forested wetlands with lots of ground cover and wet plants. It can be found among floating plants or in the vegetation around the water. The Green Tree Frog is the state amphibian.

The Sandhill Crane is a large bird that is almost 5 feet tall. They are gray and have extremely long legs. They nest in open places where trees do not block their vision. When frightened or sensing danger a crane sounds its alarm cry that can be heard for miles. Their nickname is the "watchmen of the swamp."

Osprey's nest once served as guide post for early Georgians. Ospreys build their nest in a high trees near prairies. They area surrounding the tree (up to a couple of miles) becomes its terriortory.  

 

Which plants can be found in the Marsh/Swamp area?

The ecosystem of the swamp is fire dependent. Fires generally burn lightly, considering the wet nature of the swamp. Trees such as the cypress trees and blackgum need occasional fires to survive.

 cypress tree

Some of the swamp is a prairie and is covered with grasses, moss, ferns, and bushes. Blue flag irises add splashes of lavender. There are also evergreen plants in the swamp. The rest of the swamp is mixed pine uplands.

One fascinating aspect of the Okefenokee's are meat eating plants. The meat eating plants, like the golden trumpet, sundews, and bladderworts lure, trap, and digest small animals. This allows them to live in areas that other plants would not survive.

                                       

                              bladderworts                                                golden trumpet