There's more to the Keys than its famous coral reefs. Below are pictures and descriptions of some other Florida Keys habitats - places where animals live. In the Florida Keys, many of these habitats are considered wetlands, areas of low-lying land that are sometimes submerged under water or hold a great deal of moisture in their soils.
1. TROPICAL HARDWOOD HAMMOCK
Tropical hardwood hammocks like those in the Florida Keys are dense, vine-entangled, inland forests, partially made up of trees found nowhere else on earth! A tropical hammock supports and shelters a variety of wildlife including small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.
2. MANGROVE SWAMP
Found along southern sea coasts, mangrove forests consist of thre different kinds of mangroves - red, black and white. In addition to providing prime nesting spots for ospreys, herons, egrets and other birds, mangroves are places where young fish begin their life, finding protection from predators among the tangled roots.
3. SALT MARSH
Salt marshes are coastal wetlands rich in marine life. They are sometimes referred to as tidal marshes because they occur in the zone between low and high tides. A variety of plants make up a salt marsh, which shelters various marine creatures including molluscs and crustaceans.
Although some animals can be found in several different habitats, there are others that are adapted to specific surroundings. See if you can match the animals (below) with their primary habitats (above).
Florida Box Turtle common periwinkleKey Largo wood rat
fiddler crabmangrove snappersalt marsh snake
zebra butterflyyellow stingray
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database
www.seaworld.org / www.buschgardens.org
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1. Hardwood hammock: Key Largo wood rat, Florida box turtle, zebra butterfly 2. mangrove swamp: mangrove snapper, yellow stingray 3. salt marsh: fiddler crab, salt marsh snake, common periwinkle