This summer you might enjoy swimming in your neighborhood pool or in a lake. But it’s not a good idea to go swimming in a swamp! The dark, muddy waters of a swamp are not be the best place for people to swim. But it is home for hundreds of creatures who love swimming in swamps.
A swamp is a type of wetland that is . . . well, wet! Swamps are shallow ponds found in forests with lots of trees. There are two kinds: freshwater swamps and saltwater swamps. Freshwater swamps form near large lakes and streams. They can also form when there is lots of rain. Saltwater swamps can be found near the ocean, which makes the swamp water salty.
The world's largest swamp is in Brazil. It is called the Pantanal. It covers more than 60,000 square miles of wetland. That’s larger than the country of England! This huge swamp is home to around 3,500 varieties of plants, 656 kinds of birds, 325 species of fish, 159 types of mammals, 53 kinds of frogs, and 98 reptile species!
American Alligators: These huge reptiles can grow as long as 11 feet (3.3 meters) and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms)! American alligators live in swamps in the Southeastern United States.
Redbelly Water Snakes: These snakes are mostly brown but have pale-red bellies. They eat mostly frogs, toads, and salamanders. They can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) long.
Northern Cricket Frogs: With dark spots of brown, green, and grey, Northern cricket frogs live in swamps around North America and eat small bugs and mosquitoes. They can jump up to three feet (1 meter) in a single jump!
Make Your Own Swamp!
Want to make your own swamp? Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 packages of lime-flavored gelatin (or use unflavored gelatin and add green food coloring)
- Toy swamp critters (plastic frogs, snakes, and bugs)
- Large, shallow plastic container
With an adult's help, follow the directions on the gelatin package and put the gelatin in the refrigerator. Let it chill for at least three hours or until it’s set.
Add your swamp creatures and enjoy your swamp!
All Creatures Great and Small
If you have a chance to visit a swamp this summer, be sure to give thanks to our creator God for making great places like swamps for creatures to live! If you have a notebook or a piece of paper, write down this prayer from Psalm 104:24: “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” How many creatures can you find in the swamp?