Six Pack Cageless Zoo
A Collection of Animal Videos Taken at Camp Sixpack in the Big Cypress Swamp
(suggest after starting the video, clicking full screen to better see the video)

Florida Panther

One of the most allusive animals in the Big Cypress Swamp. Panthers are seen rarely first hand. They are shy and tend to hide from people, when they are aware people are around. That is not to say, they are not in areas where people are, but their nature is to remain hidden. People from our camp have seen them while sitting in tree stands while hunting and the panther was not aware it was being observed.
The State of Florida introduced Texas panthers into the Florida panther territory and this intra breeding has increased the panther population in South West Florida. Florida also captures and collars panthers to determine where an individual panther ranges.

You can see the panther in the video is not collared and therefore not documented as existing by State. The State claims there are about 130 to 150 panthers existing. I'm pretty sure there are more then that. We see more panther sign now, then we ever did in the past. I have seen them in other parts of the State of Florida also.

Florida Black Bear

Another shy animal of the Big Cypress Swamp is the Florida Black Bear. These bears are visiting Sixpack camp about every 2 to 3 days. As you can see, they are not just passing through. but also hanging out. Evidently quite comfortable with the buildings nearby, they still are quite shy when people are present.

They have a very good sense of smell and hearing, so it nearly impossible to sneak up on them, unless something is distracting them.

The bear in the video to the right, is taking a mid-morning nap. Bears are mostly nocturnal, so this bear may have spent the night carousing, and is now catching up on sleep.


Florida Black Bear

Even a Bear needs to scratch once in a while. The video to the left shows how that is done in the Big Cypress Swamp. Bears are strong. flexible, and pretty smart.

Shows how strong and flexible cypress trees are also.

Florida Wild Turkeys

Its a dog eat dog world in the city, but in the Big Cypress Swamp, its a different story. Turkey hens and pullets are enjoying a fine day. when they notice something is not quite right.

Sure enough a raccoon is looking to catch a meal and nature takes its course. The disappointed raccoon is escorted on its way by one of the turkey hens.

 The success of the Florida Panther program resulted in small game, like raccoons, opossums and armadillos being almost eliminated from the Big Cypress Swamp. Because the small game were gone, the wild turkeys are very successful in nesting, resulting in an upsurge in the Wild Turkey population

Florida Black Bear

The video on the left shows a smaller black bear checking out the game feeder. Bears are not stupid, and make the connection between the wench and cable to the feeder. Its not unusual for them to yank on the cable, resulting in corn falling down and providing a little morsel of sweetness for the bear.

Over the years the feeder has been taken down several times by bears. The kitchen cabin has been broken into three times, making a complete mess of the inside each time. We are not so stupid either and finally figured out how to keep them out. The kitchen has not been broken into for almost ten years now, even though the bears constantly visit.

Three Little Black Bear Cubs and Momma too

At a nearby camp to  camp Sixpack, Momma bear and three little cubs were caught stealing bird seed from a bird feeder. Momma, distracted by the bird feeder, allowed a quiet approach. The movement of getting the video camera out of a pocket and turning it on, gave Momma the warning it was time to leave.

You hear stories about a Momma bear protecting her young, but in this case, she  was leaving and the cubs were on their own. Of course, once the cubs saw momma leave, they decided they needed to leave also, even though they never figured out why.


Resident Alligator

When the water recedes in the Big Cypress Swamp, a female alligator takes up residence at Camp Sixpack. In an unusual occurrence, under the roots of a large pine tree is a crack in the rock that goes down to the water table. A crack large enough for an alligator to reach the water in it and cool off. Over the years several alligators have used this refuge, but in recent years, a female alligator has made this place hers.

I  have had contact with this alligator for over 20 years now and I have become comfortable around her and vise versa. She recognizes me and knows I am not a threat to her, so her behavior with me is quite different then with other people. The next videos kind of show that.

I call her "Grumpy", because she will hiss and growl at me.


Sharing a little quality time on a fine morning!


  story by Steve August 2015