Big Cypress National Preserve contains a diverse range of habitats, all of which are shaped by a shared element, water. During the wet season, large amounts of rain fall on the preserve, flooding the land with surface water. During the dry season the water levels slowly drop, exposing the ground. Areas of higher elevation are only flooded for a few weeks or even days each year, while the lowest parts of the preserve can remain underwater for the entire year. The hydroperiod, or length of time each habitat spends under water in a year, determines what plants and animals live there. Slight variations in elevation caused by irregularities in the bedrock under Big Cypress have resulted in five distinct habitats through the preserve, each with their own hydroperiod, plants, and animal community. Use the links below to explore these diverse habitats.
Last updated: July 25, 2021