OKEFENOKEE SWAMP, GEORGIA Page 7
|Hooded Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia minor)
An American Alligator in a roadside ditch
Alligators are just about everywhere in the Okefenokee. In roadside ditches, basking on logs in the swamp, laying on
the lawn outside the state park camp store. Many of the gators were used to people and did not make any attempt
to get away and could be approached closely from the relative safety of a boat. Although they appear docile and
slow, alligators are dangerous animals capable of a sudden attack and should be observed from a distance.
Alligators can grow over 15 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. They can live for 50 years or more. Alligators eat
mammals, turtles, fish, snakes, and birds. Large alligators have even been known to take down an adult deer.
|American Alligator soaks up the sun in the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge
|An American Alligator laying next to a boat ramp at the Steven C. Foster State Park.
The pitcher-like leaves of the pitcher plant are actually traps for insects. Insects are attracted to a
sweet smelling nectar and trapped when they crawl into the pitcher. Slippery sides and downward
pointed hairs prevent escape. Liquid in the bottom of the pitcher contains enzymes that digest the
insects and release nitrogen rich nutrients that are used by the plant. Carnivorous plants usually
grow in nitrogen poor environments where the captured insects provide nutrients that are lacking in
Three species of pitcher plant are found in the Okefenokee, as well as a variety of other
carnivorous plants. Sundews (Drosera sp.), bladderwort (Utricularia sp.), and yellow butterwort
(Pinguicula lutea) are other carnivorous plants found here.
|Bright yellow Bladderwort (Utricularia sp.) flowers rise out of the water of the swamp.