A juvenile American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, chilling out on a mild summer night back in 2016. The little gator was on a dirt road flanked by canals lines on each side. A fairly cooperative little scamper for at least a few minutes. And then? BAM! The gator darted back into the safety of the darkened waters.
Fern Hammock Spring is an natural spring situated within Juniper Springs Recreational Area. Whereas Juniper Spring itself is walled in as a controlled swimming area, Fern Hammock still belongs to the turtles and fish. Standing at its edge, you can watch the gentle push of the Florida aquifer waters rising through the light, sandy bottom in soft, delicate swirls. With a little imagination, can you imagine the expanse of time running deeply beneath the tangles of dense foliage and Spanish moss.
A small, reclusive amphibian sporadically strewn across stretches of peninsula Florida, Eastern spadefoots (Scaphiopus holbrookii) spend much of their time burrowed beneath the surface. They’re a bit more prone to coming out at night — especially after a nice, lovely rain.