Prairies are treeless flat lands covered by grassed and other low plants. Sometimes they are wet, like Paynes Prairie south of Gainesville, or they may be quite dry, as are the extensive prairies north of Lake Okeechobee that are used mostly for cattle ranching.
Much of South and Central Florida contain saw palmetto prairies that are nearly devoid of trees. These vast regions are essentially pine Flatwoods without the pines.
Water, fire, grazing and soil characteristics keep many trees from growing on prairies, and consequently much of the wildlife is different from what we find in woodlands.
Animals of particular interest here are sandhill cranes, caracaras, and burrowing owls on dry prairies. Marsh hawks (herriers) are often seen flying over wet prairies in winter Great masses of flowering plants cover wet prairies at different seasons. Even these rather uniform-appearing areas have several interesting species, many of which can be easily seen from the road.