Okefenokee

Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles

brochure Okefenokee - Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles

Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles List The Okefenokee swamp is covered with cypress, blackgum, and bay forests scattered throughout a flooded prairie made of grasses, sedges, and various aquatic plants. The peripheral upland and the almost 70 islands within the swamp are forested with pine interspersed with hardwood hammocks. Lakes of varying sizes and depths, and floating sections of the peat bed, are also part of the Okefenokee terrain. People have left their mark on the swamp. A 12-mile long canal was dug into the eastern prairies in the 1890’s in a failed attempt to drain the swamp. During the early 1900’s large amounts of timber were removed, so that very few areas of virgin forest remain. In an attempt to reduce the potential for wildfires, a sill was built in the early 1960’s to control the water flowing out of the Okefenokee into the Suwanne River. The Okefenokee is a rainfall-dependent system, and when periods of drought occur, the area becomes susceptible to wildfire. A 20/30 year cycle of drought and fire has allowed the Okefenokee to exist as the unique wetland it is. These periods cause changes in the abundance of certain plants (more grasses growing in exposed areas,) the nesting success of certain wading birds (failure in extreme drought), and the location of some species of wildlife (fish migrate into deeper lakes and channels and are followed by predators.) With its varied habitats, the Okefenokee has become an area known for its abundance of plants and animals. There are over 620 species of plants growing in the swamp. Animals include 39 fish, 37 amphibian, 64 reptile, 234 bird, and 50 mammal species. Use the following list to help identify Okefenokee inhabitants. Mammals ___Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana pigna). Common on the swamp edge and the islands within the Swamp. A night prowler. “Pogo” is often seen by campers. ___Southern Short-Tailed Shrew (Barina carolinensis). A specimen was found on Floyds Island June 12, 1921. It kills its prey with poisonous saliva. ___Least Shrew (Cryptotus parva parva). Rarely seen but probably fairly common. Specimens have been found on several of the islands, on the swamp edge, and in the pine woods around the swamp. ___Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus australis). Generally distributed on the upland adjacent to the swamp and has been found on some of the islands within the swamp. ___Star-Nosed Mole (Condylura cristata). Apparently rare. Nose surrounded by finger like, fleshy projections. ___Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius austroriparius). Species of bat native to Southeast Georgia. ___Eastern Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus subflavus). A fairly common species in the area. One of the smallest eastern bats. ___Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus fuscus). An uncommon species in the area. The fastest known bat with speeds of 40 mph. ___Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis borealis). An uncommon species in the area. One of the few mammals in which males and females are different colors. ___Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus). A common bat of the Okefenokee which is found hanging in Spanish Moss during the day. ___Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus cinereus). This yellowish-brown bat flies high in the air late at night and will hang in trees when resting. It is the largest bat in the East and eats mostly moths. ___Northern Yellow Bat (Lasiurus intermedius floridanus). Apparently a rare species in the area. It likes to feed in groups. ___Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis). Once the most common bat in the swamp, it is now uncommon due to the decreases in manmade structures which are common nursery sites. It flies lower as the night progresses. ___Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat (Plecotus rafinesquii). A rather uncommon species in the area. They can hover like butterflies to pick off insects and fold their ears when at rest. ___Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis cynocephala). An uncommon species in this area. One of the highest flying bats. ___Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus mexicanus). This unusual “ground” mammal was first seen on the refuge in 1968. Since then it has become more numerous and is commonly seen along roadways and trails. ___Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustria palustris). Fairly common on the swamp edge. Frequently takes to water to escape enemies and often walks on its hind legs. Tail is gray underneath. *Indicates endangered or threatened Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2700 Suwannee Canal Road Folkston, GA 31537 912/496 7836 voice/TDD http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov 1 800/344 WILD July 2009 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Okefenokee NWR Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles List Mammals continued ___Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus mallurus). Common around clearings and in the more sparse pine woods on the uplands surrounding the swamp and on some of the islands. Females have territories and males may be seen in courtship dances at night. ___Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis carolinensis). Abundant in the blackgum bay forests in the swamp and in the oak woodlands on the upland. ___Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger niger). Uncommon in the pine forests surrounding the swamp and along roads. Its head is black with white on the ears and nose. ___Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans querceti). This species is rarely seen because of its nocturnal habits, but is fairly common, particularly in pine/oak uplands. ___Georgia Pocket Gopher (Geomys pinetis pinetis). Uncommon on dry, sandy sites on the east side of the swamp. Rarely seen above ground. ___Southeastern Pocket Gopher (Geomys pinetis floridianus). An uncommon species of this area. ___Beaver (Castor canadensis carolinensis). The first record of beavers in the swamp was in 1969. Their population, never very high, varies from time to time, probably because of alligators. ___Marsh Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris palustris). A fairly common mammal throughout the swamp. ___Eastern Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys humilus humilus). Found in the prairies and in old fields near the swamp’s edge. ___Oldfield Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus polionotus). Feeds on seeds and berries. ___Cotton Mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli aureolis). Common throughout the area. Found under palmetto scrub. Good tree climber and swimmer. ___Golden Mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli aureolis). This species is probably rare. It has been found in hammocks on the islands. It uses its long tail for balance while running along high tree limbs. ___Hispid Cotton Rat (Signodon hispidus hispiedus). A common mammal in the pine woods and old fields on the upland around the swamp. ___Eastern Woodrat (Neotoma floridana floridana). Fairly common throughout the swamp and in the hammocks on the upland. Also known locally as the Packrat because of its habit of building a huge pile of sticks for its nest, and for collecting shiny objects. ___Woodland Vole (Microtus pinetorum parvulus). Tunnels through leaf mold and loose soil near the surface of the upland areas and eats bulbs, tubers, and seeds. ___Round-Tailed Muskrat (Neofiber alleni exoristus). Occasionally seen in the prairies where a bulky grass house is constructed over the water along with a feeding platform. ___Black Rat (Rattus rattus rattus). This was the common barn rat when farming was practiced on some of the islands within the swamp. It probably occurs now on farmsteads in the vicinity but not on the refuge. ___Roof Rat (Rattus rattus alexandrinus). It was a common barn rat when farming was practiced in the swamp but it probably occurs now only in the vicinity. ___House Mouse (Mus musculus musculus). Formerly common around habitations but now that few people live within the swamp, it has probably disappeared from the area. Very likely it is still common around human habitations in the vicinity of the swamp. ___Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus floridanus). Fairly common on the upland around the swamp. Has the ability to climb trees. ___Red Fox (Vulpes fulva fulva). This species is rare but occurs occasionally on the upland in the vicinity of the swamp. ___Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridianus). Bears range throughout the refuge. Look for them wherever berries and acorns area abundant. ___Raccoon (Procyon lotor elucus). The most abundant large mammal on the refuge. It is found in all habitats but is most numerous on the swamp edge. They are commonly seen in areas and occasionally along boat trails. ___Long-Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata olivacea). This species is probably more common than the few observations would indicate. Specimens have been found on Billy’s Island and on Chesser Island. ___Mink (Mustela vison mink). Very rarely seen in the Okefenokee, this chiefly nocturnal animal is an excellent swimmer. ___Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis elongata). This species is generally distributed on the upland surrounding the swamp and is found occasionally on the islands. ___River Otter (Lontra canadensis vaga). Occasionally observed along the water courses, especially during the winter. ___Florida Panther* (Felis concolor coryi). Apparently this species was never more than of rare occurrence in the vicinity of the swamp. ___Bobcat (Lynx rufus floridanus). Common throughout the swamp and on the surrounding uplands. Occasionally seen along Swamp Island Drive. ___Wild Pig (Sus scrofa). These feral pigs were introduced by the early settlers of the swamp. ___White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). These deer can be found throughout the refuge even travelling across prairies from island to island. Fish _____ Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) _____ Bowfin (Amia calva) _____ American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) _____ Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus americanus) _____ Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) _____ Eastern Mudminnow (Umbra pygmaea) _____ Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) _____ Spotted Chubsucker (Minytrema melanops) _____ Yellow Bullhead (Ictalurus natalis) _____ Brown Bullhead (Ictalurus nebulosus) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Okefenokee NWR Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles List Fish continued _____ Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) _____ Tadpole Madtom (Noturus gyrinus) _____ Speckled Madtom (Noturus leptacanthus) _____ Pirate Perch (Aphredoderus sayanus) _____ Golden Topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus) _____ Banded Topminnow (Fundulus cingulatus) _____ Lined Topminnow (Fundulus lineolatus) _____ Starhead Topminnow (Fundulus notti) _____ Pygmy Killifish (Leptolucania ommata) _____ Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) _____ Least Killifish (Heterandria formosa) _____ Brook Silverside (Labidesthes sicculus) _____ Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei) _____ Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma okefenokee) _____ Mud Sunfish (Acantharchus pomotis) _____ Flier (Centrarchus macropterus) _____ Blackbanded Sunfish (Enneacanthus chaetodon) _____ Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus) _____ Banded Sunfish (Enneacanthus obesus) _____ Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus) _____ Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) _____ Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) _____ Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis marginatus) _____ Spotted Sunfish (lepomis punctatus) _____ Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) _____ Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) _____ Scalyhead Darter (Etheostoma barratti) _____ Swamp Darter (Etheostoma Fusiforme) _____ Blackbanded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata) _____ Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) _____ Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans clamitans) _____ Pig Frog (Rana grylio) _____ River Frog (Rana heckscheri) _____ Southern Leopard Frog (Rana utricularia) _____ Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes) Salamanders _____ Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum) _____ Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) _____ Mole Salamander (Ambystoma tallpoideum) _____ Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) _____ Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) _____ Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus auriculatus) _____ Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineatat cirriger) _____ Dwarf Salamander (Eurycea quadridigitatus) _____ Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus glutinosus) _____ Gulf Coast Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus Floridanus) _____ Many-lined Salamander (Stereochilus marginatus) _____ Striped Newt (Notophthalamus perstriatus) _____ Central Newt (Notophthalamus viridescens louisianensis) _____ Drawf Siren (Pseudobranchus striatus spp.) _____ Eastern Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia intermedia) _____ Greater Siren (Siren lacertina) Crocodilians _____ American Alligator* (Alligator mississippiensis) Toads and Frogs Lizards _____ Oak Toad (Bufo quercicus) _____ Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris) _____ Florida Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus dorsalis) _____ Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) _____ Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea cinerea) _____ Southern Spring Peeper (Hyla crucifer bartramiana) _____ Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis) _____ Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa) _____ Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella) _____ Little Grass Frog (Limnaoedus ocularis) _____ Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita nigrita) _____ Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata) _____ Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) _____ Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrooki holbrooki) _____ Florida Gopher Frog (Rana areolata aescpus) _____ Eastern Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus longicaudus) _____ Island Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus compressus) _____ Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis) _____ Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) _____ Southern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus undulatus) _____ Northern Mole Skink (Eumeces egregius) _____ Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus) _____ Southern Five-lined Skink (Eumeces inexpectatus) _____ Broad-headed Skink (Eumeces laticeps) _____ Ground Skink (Scincella laterale) _____ Six-lined Race Runner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus sexlineatus) Snakes _____ Northern Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea copei) _____ Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Okefenokee NWR Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles List _____ Southern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus punctatus) _____ Indigo Snake* (Drymarchon corais couperi) _____ Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata guttata) _____ Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) _____ Gray Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta spiloides) _____ Eastern Mud Snake (Farancia abacura abacura) _____ Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma) _____ Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platyrhinos) _____ Southern Hognose Snake (Heterodon simus) _____ Mole Snake (Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata) _____ Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus) _____ Scarlet Kingsnake (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides) _____ Eastern Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum flagellum) _____ Florida Green Water Snake (Nerodia cyclopion floridana) _____ Yellow-bellied Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster) _____ Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata fasciata) _____ Florida Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris) _____ Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota) _____ Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) _____ Florida Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitis) _____ Striped Swamp Snake (Regina alleni) _____ Eastern Glossy Water Snake (Regina rigda rigida) _____ Pine Woods Snake (Rhadinaea flavilata) _____ North Florida Black Swamp Snake (Seminatrix pygaea pygaea) _____ Florida Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi victa) _____ Florida Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata obscura) _____ Eastern Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus sackeni) _____ Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) _____ Rough Earth Snake (Virginia striatula) _____ Eastern Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae valeriae) _____ Eastern Coral Snake (micrurus fulvius) _____ Florida Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti) _____ Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) _____ Canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus atricaudatus) _____ Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri) Turtles _____ Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) _____ Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temmincki) _____ Florida Red-bellied Turtle (Chrysemys nelsoni) _____ Eastern Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia reticularia) _____ Florida Cooter (Pseudemys floridana floridana) _____ Red-eared Pond Slider (Pseudemys scripta elegans) _____ Yellow-bellied Pond Slider (Pseudemys scripta scripta) _____ Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri) _____ Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) _____ Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon bauri palmarum) _____ Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum) _____ Loggerhead Musk Turtle (Sternotherus minor minor) _____ Stinkpot (Sternotherus odoratus) _____ Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) _____ Florida Softshell (Trionyz ferox) Observations of unusual species should be filed with Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Other sightings are also welcomed. Please record numbers and locations. The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is, working with others, to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The National Wildlife Refuge System provides habitat for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and some of the Nation’s most important fishery resources. It is the only network of Federal lands devoted specifically to wildlife. The System offers outstanding wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, including fishing, hunting, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. Sighting Notes Date ________________________________________________ Time ________________________________________________ To __________________________________________________ Locality ______________________________________________ Weather _____________________________________________ Temperature __________________________________________ Wind ________________________________________________ Sky _________________________________________________ Total Species _________________________________________ Comments ____________________________________________

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