• The Florida panther's steely gaze - NPS/RALPH ARWOOD

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • 2014 Zone 4 Closure

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, April 7, 2013, the Zone 4 airboat access within Big Cypress National Preserve will be closed due to low water conditions. More »

  • Annual 60-Day ORV Closure for Wheeled Vehicles

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, June 2, the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of the Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 1. More »

  • Turner River Closure

    Turner River is closed due to low water conditions. It is advised that visitors consider paddling Halfway Creek as an alternative. More »

  • Campground Closure

    All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. More »

  • Interstate 75 Mile Marker 63 Closure

    Beginning summer of 2013, the rest area and backcountry access at Mile Marker 63 will be closed due to construction. More »


Prairies, whether they're "wet" or "dry" based more on what plant species grow there than on the actual amount of water present. Wet prairies occur on mineral soils that are covered with water about 50-150 days per year. The water rarely gets any deeper than about 20 centimeters even in the wettest of seasons.

Wet prairies usually burn at least once during a five year period. Without fire, woody plants would push out the prairie plant species. This would in turn cause prairie mammals and birds to lose their habitat.

Prairie Panoramic View



Periphyton is a complex mixture of algae, microbes, and detritus that creates a thick mat on the ground of the prairies. It is a common part of the vegetation in wet prairies that are healthy and is an important link in the wet prairie food chain. It can be over four centimeters thick on the prairie floor. Periphyton is eaten by a variety of flies, snails, fish, tadpoles and zooplankton.

During the rainy season, tadpoles and insect larvae hatch in prairies becoming a wade-thru for many wading birds, reptiles and amphibians to eat at.

Watch and learn as a park ranger explains more about Periphyton.



Marsh rabbits are found in this area looking for food. They are herbivores that eat grasses, leaves and bulbs. The marsh rabbit has shorter ears, hind legs, and tail than the eastern cottontail rabbit that can also be found in Florida. Marsh rabbits walk instead of hop and can even swim!

The rabbit swims to move to other places to forage for food and to avoid predators.

Marsh rabbit

Journey in to the cypress swamp to see what secrets it holds.

Did You Know?


The white-tailed deer has a vertical leap of nine feet! This is a useful skill to have when evading predators. How high can you jump?