American alligator.

Since its dedication in 1947, Everglades National Park has been touted as one of the great biological wonders of the world. Taking center stage is the diverse array of animals that call this place home. Thriving amidst a verdant, expansive wetland, the wildlife of the Everglades encompasses the tiniest grass frog to the largest American crocodile. Here life from the Caribbean tropics coexists with more familiar species from temperate North America. Follow the links on the left to learn more about the different forms of life that can be encountered while visiting the River of Grass.

Roseate spoonbill in flight

Roseate spoonbill in flight.

NPS photo by Rodney Cammauf

Suggested Times and Places for Viewing Wildlife

The winter dry season, which lasts from December to April, is the best time for wildlife viewing in the park. Weather conditions are generally pleasant during the winter and standing water levels are low, causing wildlife to congregate at central water locations. Shark Valley, the Anhinga Trail (at Royal Palm), and Eco Pond (one mile past the Flamingo Visitor Center) are good for viewing alligators, wading birds, and other freshwater wildlife. Canoeists can paddle into Snake Bight (near Flamingo) and Chokoloskee Bay (Gulf Coast) before low tide to witness large numbers of water birds feeding in the shallows and on mud flats. A productive freshwater canoeing area is Nine Mile Pond and adjacent borrow pits (11 miles, or 18 km, up the road from Flamingo).


Wildlife Viewing Ethics

Observing wild animals in their natural environment is a privilege. In return for that privilege, it is your responsibility to keep wildlife wild by being respectful of wildlife and wildlife habitat.

  • Give wildlife plenty of space. Binoculars and spotting scopes allow you to view wildlife without getting too close. Always give wildlife an avenue for retreat, and never chase any animal.
  • Learn to recognize signs of alarm. These are sometimes subtle, and they vary among species, but may include increased movements such as agitated flapping or pacing, heightened muscle tension, staring, or frequent vocalizations. If you sense that an animal is disturbed by your presence, back off. If it still does not resume its normal behaviors, please retreat and leave the area.
  • Be respectful of rookeries, nesting grounds, and denning areas. Well-meaning but intrusive visitors may cause parents to flee, leaving young vulnerable to the elements or to predators. Stay on designated trails whenever possible.
  • Leave “orphaned” or sick animals alone. Young animals that appear alone typically have parents waiting nearby.
  • Pets are not allowed on most trails in the park. Pets are allowed on a 6-foot (2-meter) leash in parking lots and campgrounds, but not on trails or in wilderness areas. Please familiarize yourself with and follow the Everglades National Park Pet Policies.
  • Do not feed wildlife. For their safety as well as yours, animals should eat only their natural foods. It is dangerous and illegal to feed or harass wildlife.
  • Tread lightly. If you choose to venture into the wilderness, remember that you are a guest in the homes of the animals you seek. Avoid disturbing sensitive habitats such as fragile wetlands.
  • Share the experience. Respect other park visitors. Be aware of other wildlife watchers and avoid unnecessarily marring their wildlife viewing opportunities and enjoyment.
Please don't feed the wildlife sign

Need we say more?

NPS photo

View of Anhinga Trail

View of Anhinga Trail

NPS photo


Can't visit the park in person but would still like to view some Everglades wildlife? View images from the Anhinga Trail webcam, which overlooks one of the most popular visitor areas in the park. Situated at the Royal Palm Visitor Center, the camera allows viewers to preview wildlife activity from three different vantage points. Viewers may catch a glimpse of birds and alligators on the move.

Did You Know?