What’s a Swamp? A swamp is a wetland in a forest. It’s usually near a large body of water. T e water is shallow and filled with plants. Mostly seawater fills a swamp near
the ocean. Tides come in and out. T at changes the water level. Fresh water fills a swamp near a
lake or river. Some swamps form in lowlands far from any other water.
Saltwater Swamp T e Everglades is an example of a saltwater swamp. It lies along the coast of Florida in the United States. When the tide is out, the sun
bakes the soil. T en the tide comes in. T e water gets deeper. Mangrove trees grow in this soil. Other things live here, too. An alligator floats by looking for food. Along comes a crab. T e crab sees the alligator. It scoots under a tree root. It is safe—for now.
Capybaras splash into the water, looking for plants to eat.
Freshwater Swamp One of the largest freshwater swamps is in South America. It is the Pantanal floodplain. A floodplain is low area near a river. During the rainy season, this place
comes to life. Tree roots suck up water. Fish swim in the water. Flocks of birds hunt the fish. Other animals come here, too. T e
capybara is one of these animals. It’s the world’s largest rodent. It comes to eat plants. During the dry season, the water
dries up. Still, life goes on in the Pantanal. Pink trumpet trees bloom. Larger mammals come to find food. T ey also feed their young. Marsh deer walk through the water.
T ey graze on plants. Above them, tiny monkeys swing from tree to tree. Even rare jaguars and ocelots visit this swamp.
20 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER
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