While mangroves lie throughout the Florida Bay, one will also find willow heads, hardwood hammocks, bay heads, marshes, pinelands and cypress domes and the mixture of the different habitats create a natural world of surreal quality. The willow heads, which often later evolve into bay heads or hardwood hammocks, are a prime location for spotting alligators. The Florida Bay also has bay heads, surrounded by moats, where turtles, reptiles and different mammals often live. The marsh regions of the Florida Bay are both in the freshwater and saltwater varieties, and are home to several different species of shorebirds and waterfowl. Meanwhile, the hardwood hammocks in the Florida Bay are home to animals like opossum, panthers, bobcats, fox and deer. The pinelands within the Florida Bay region are also home to a number of animals, including owls, bears, snakes, raccoons and an assortment of birds. Finally, the cypress domes are dome-like islands that form in the various limestone depressions that fill with water – a well-known haunt of the alligator.
The Florida Bay is called the “waterspout capital of the world” and offers nearly 1,000 square miles of exploration: the basins, grass lined mud banks, mangroves, and mangrove islands serve as a habitat for some fantastic marine and wild life. The mangrove regions of the Florida Bay contain a variety of tropical trees and shrubs, and some of the mangrove regions are covered with overhanging red mangroves or poisonwood. The natural and almost mystical habitats of the Florida Bay are breath taking. Within the Florida Bay one can often spot the American crocodile, the Loggerhead Turtle, Bottlenose Dolphin, and the West Indian Manatee, as well as a number of unique birds and game fish. The visitor of the Florida Bay will have a chance to appreciate a chance at spotting a Smooth-billed Ani, the Short-Tailed Hawk, and wading Herons, Egrets, Spoonbills or Ibises. Meanwhile, both the avid and the neophyte angler will certainly enjoy the opportunity to capture an array of fantastic game fish including largemouth bass, Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, and Snapper.
The majority of the Florida Bay is located within the confines of the Everglades National Park and the Florida Bay, as well as the Florida Keys are part of the greater South Florida Ecosystem, and serves as a splendid habitat for an incredible range of wildlife and marine life. The South Florida Ecosystem is a vast natural body, one consisting of nearly 10,800 square miles that extend from Orlando, Florida, all the way to the Dry Tortugas. The Florida Bay region is the habitat that also ideally serves as a nursery for Caribbean Spiny Lobster, and Pink Shrimp. The Florida Bay therefore supports the shrimp and Dollar Stone Crab industries, a 59 million dollar and a 29 million dollar industry respectively.
The Florida Bay is an inner-shelf lagoon: a shallow body of water situated along the southern-most tip of the Florida Peninsula. The Florida Bay is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys; to the west of the Florida Bay one will find the Gulf and to the south and east regions of the Florida Bay one will find the Keys. The Florida Bay consists of a combination of waters – salt water steaming from the Gulf of Mexico is mixed with the everglade’s fresh water, creating an estuary that flows between and around several hundred mangrove-islands. Nestled between the Florida Keys and Florida’s mainland, the Florida Bay has a plethora of interconnected basins and each basin, on average, is three feet deep. At its greatest depth, the Florida Bay is nine feet deep. The shallow waters of the Florida Bay make for some incredible fishing opportunities.