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Endangered Plants of the Everglades

Endangered Plants of the Everglades

One of our most beautiful and mysterious natural areas in the United States is changing. The Everglades is slowly losing some of its flora and fauna due to climate change and the encroachment of urban growth. If you wish to view the native plants of the area, such as the cactus tree, Krug’s holly, lignum-vitae, and manchineel, booking an airboat tour is a great way to experience these endangered species.

Endangered Palm Trees of the Everglades

The Brittle Thatch Palm (Thrinax morrisii) is a small palm with blue-green or yellow-green leaves that have a reflective white underside. The leaves are so tough, they were used to make roofs for thatches, hence their name.

Buccaneer palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii) is a lesser known variety that is cold-sensitive as well as slow growing. This variety is notable due to the extremes of nature in which it can survive, as it is drought and salt tolerant. The leaves are green, blue-green, or silver. In the wild, it can reach up to 25 feet tall.

Silver thatch palm (Coccothrinax argentata) has fan-shaped leaves that are green on the top and silver underneath. It is slow growing and can only tolerate the lightest of frost.

Florida thatch palm (Thrinax parvitolia) is a slower growing palm that reaches up to 30 feet. It has broad, yellowish-green leaves that can reach up to three feet in diameter. It blooms all year long, peaking in spring.

Endangered Exotic Trees and Plants of the Everglades

The Key tree-cactus (Pilosocereus robinii) is only found in southern Florida. When in bloom, the flower is large and white in color, and the fruit it produces is a purplish-red in color. This tree cactus can grow up to 32 feet high with a few arms or many.

Krug’s Holly (Ilex krugiana) is known for its interesting leaf shape. This tree can grow up to 55 feet in height having white flowers. Later it produces black, red, and purple berries that birds enjoy.

Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum sanctum) is a hardwood tree that is so dense the wood does not float. The tree flowers in the spring with small periwinkle flowers. It can mature up to 30 feet tall.

The manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella) is best left for viewing than to being touched, as it is known as one of the most dangerous trees in the world. It is an evergreen with green-yellow flowers that can grow up to around 50 feet tall. All parts of the tree are poisonous. Do not touch the sap or ingest the fruit, nicknamed beach apple and little apple of death.

Make Memories Viewing Endangered Species on An Airboat Tour

Spending a couple of hours on an airboat tour viewing the exciting wildlife, exotic orchids, beautiful trees, and feathery ferns is a lifelong memorable event. Cypress Outdoor Adventures is ready to take you on this excursion. Reserve your Everglades airboat tour in Fort Lauderdale today by phone (954-260-1096) or book online now.

Reptile Spotlight: Turtles You Can See on an Airboat Ride in the Everglades

Reptile Spotlight: Turtles You Can See on an Airboat Ride in the Everglades

Turtles might not be at the top of the list of wildlife to see when planning your airboat ride in the Everglades, but these amazing creatures definitely should be! While they are not always easy to spot, many different species of turtles call the Everglades home. A scenic airboat ride is a great way to catch a glimpse of them.

Here are some of the turtles you might see on your airboat tour through the Everglades:

Loggerhead Sea Turtle: The loggerhead has a large head with strong jaws, perfect for crushing hard-shelled prey. They are large; two to three feet long and weighing up to 200 pounds. Loggerheads can often be seen feeding in shallow coastlines and brackish water in the Everglades.

Hawksbill Sea Turtle: The hawksbill is known for its narrow head and hawk-like beak, which is shaped for reaching into cracks of coral reefs to search for food. Weighing 100 to 200 pounds and measuring two to three feet long, hawksbills are considered one of the most beautiful sea turtles because of their colorful shell. Rarely seen in the US, a few choose Florida’s coast as their nesting ground.

Florida Red-bellied Cooter: The red-bellied cooter is known, of course, for its red-tinged stomach. Usually weighing under ten pounds, this species is quite small. Seemingly fearless for their size though, these little guys are often seen sharing space with alligators.

Florida Box Turtle: The Florida box turtle carries a high-domed black shell with yellow markings. At only four to six inches long, these small turtles are usually seen in marshes and swamps. They love to lie in the water, but rarely swim.

Green Sea Turtle: The green sea turtle is actually named for the green color of their bodies, since their shells are very dark. These large turtles commonly weigh between 150 and 400 pounds, though they can be as large as 700 pounds. They are the only herbivores among sea turtles. These giants can occasionally be seen sunbathing out of the water.

Leatherback Sea Turtle: Weighing up to 2,000 pounds and growing to reach lengths of seven feet, leatherbacks are the largest turtles on Earth. Instead of a hard bony shell, the leatherback has a flexible rubbery shell. While they are usually found in the open ocean, leatherbacks sometimes feed close to the shore.

Schedule Your Everglades Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale to See Beautiful Wildlife Today

An airboat tour with experienced guide, Captain Bill at Cypress Outdoor Adventures gives you a chance to experience Fort Lauderdale’s turtles, as well as many other creatures that call the area home. Call Cypress at 954-260-1096 to reserve your private airboat tour.

 

Fun Facts About Spanish Moss Seen on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale

Fun Facts About Spanish Moss Seen on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale

Imagine the adventure of taking an airboat ride in Fort Lauderdale, deep into the stunningly beautiful Florida Everglades. Experience the sensation of traveling back in time as you glimpse an alligator breaking the water’s surface or catch the shadow of a great blue heron flying overhead.

Long, thick bundles of gray-green Spanish moss hang from cypress trees, filtering the sunlight like lace curtains. The moss shelters bats, reptiles, and amphibians. Birds gather it for their nests.

Spanish Moss – One of 16 Bromeliads Native to Florida

The plant known as Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, Family Bromeliaceae, is not a moss but rather a perennial herb, a type of bromeliad in the pineapple family and one of 16 bromeliads native to Florida. It is found throughout Florida and is often called Florida moss, possibly because the state has more of it than any other. It is also known as graybeard or long moss. It grows in the southeastern United States from Virginia to Texas and then as far south as Central America. Geographically, it is more widespread than any other bromeliad.

Well Adapted to the Climate of the Everglades

Tillandsia usneoides wraps its stems around other plants but does not take any nutrients from them. Instead, scales on this rootless epiphyte trap nutrients and water from the air. Although it thrives in moist environments like the Everglades, Spanish moss can survive dry conditions because of its ability to hold water. If your airboat ride is in the springtime, you may spot a single, fragrant flower on some of the plants. New plants grow from seeds or small pieces of the plant and spread when carried to a suitable location by wind or birds.

Commercial Uses of Spanish Moss – Past and Present

In the early 1900s, Spanish moss was collected by hand, then dried and baled. It was sold to be used as stuffing for mattresses, furniture, and automobile seats. Today it is used as mulch and is popular with florists who use it in design work and to decorate plants.

Experience the Everglades on an Airboat Ride

The best way to see the enchanting display of Spanish moss and other unique plants and animals that thrive in the Everglades is by airboat. Cypress Outdoor Adventures provides safe and enjoyable tours for guests of all ages. Call us today at 954-260-1096 to reserve your seat, and experience the Everglades in an unforgettable way.

What Wildlife Can You See During an Airboat Ride?

What Wildlife Can You See During an Airboat Ride?

Fort Lauderdale has a unique ecosystem being by the famousFlorida Everglades. That gives you the great opportunity to explore the natural beauty when you’re in the area, especially on an airboat ride to guide you through the Everglades. Here are some of the animals that you can see on an airboat ride Fort Lauderdale.

Deer: There is a lot of vegetation in the area, and many deer make it south to Florida to enjoy the weather and food. They are similar to deer in other areas, but they are even smarter because of the increased amount of predators. You’ll see them running into the wilderness when you get close.

Snakes: The area is home to rattlesnakes, East Indigo snakes, Florida King snakes, the Eastern Diamondback and Rough Green snakes. Some of the species are known to be dangerous, so be careful! Luckily, your tour guide, Captain Bill, is able to educate you on which ones are dangerous and what to do if you come across one of them. Thankfully, the wildlife tends to stay at a distance whether poisonous or not, and we maintain our distance from them as well.

Wading birds: The Everglades is a great place for wading birds to perch and wait for food. Two of the most popular species are the crane and the heron. There are over 350 species spotted in the area throughout the year, though, so you are sure to see quite the variety. Despite how many species there are, the wading birds are becoming more and more scarce. Talk to your guide to learn what you can do to help. Captain Bill has a wealth of information when it comes to conserving the Everglades.

Turtles: Turtles roam the waters looking for food. They match very well in the green environment, but they are quite abundant. These turtles live for a very long time and move very slowly. They live on land but are able to breathe underwater for a very long time.

Alligators: This is the one that we were all waiting for! Alligators are the main attraction during airboat rides. These prehistoric animals hide underneath the water, so be sure to keep your eye out! Alligators are an important part of the ecosystem, and they help balance the wildlife populations.

There’s No Adventure Like an Airboat Tour of the Everglades! Book Yours Today! Call Cypress at 954-260-1096 for a private airboat tour of the Everglades by a professional company who knows how to make the natural come to life in a safe environment. You can’t come here without checking out the a great airboat ride Fort Lauderdale, so here is your chance to do it!

How Your Sugar Consumption Affects What You See on a Sunset Airboat Tour of the Everglades

How Your Sugar Consumption Affects What You See on a Sunset Airboat Tour of the Everglades

500 sheets of high-quality watercolor paper. A baby hippopotamus. 17 gallons of milk. What do all of these things have in common?

They each weigh less than the 152 lbs of sugar each American consumes per year on average.

Unfortunately, sugar production takes massive amounts of land and water, and it has been particularly disruptive to the natural ecosystems it displaces.

Is our appetite for sugar threatening the Florida Everglades?

History of the Everglades

Lake Okeechobee releases water every wet season into the River of Grass we call the Everglades, feeding the two million acre subtropical wetlands. Home to over 360 species of bird, including the endangered word stork, snail kite, and Cape Sable seaside sparrow, as well as alligators, crocodiles, and diverse plant life, the Everglades supports an ecosystem that dearly needs its home.

The Everglades has been the subject of conservation efforts since the 1940s, a point at which its rich and delicate ecosystem had already long been in jeopardy. Human interference in the Everglades has been shaving away at its natural state since the 1800s, and that’s showing no sign of stopping.

Sugar Industry and the Everglades

Sugarcane cultivation requires warm climates, which, in 1920, marked Florida as an ideal candidate. The Sugar Act of 1934 and the loss in imported sugar after the Cuban Revolution pushed sugar cultivation into the Everglades, taking land and polluting water with phosphorus that feeds invasive plant growth.

What Can We Do?

Conservation efforts by the Florida government are already underway, but there are more ways for individuals to help:

  • Cut down on sugar consumption.
  • Switch to products like agave, honey, stevia, xylitol, and other natural replacements for sugar to cut down on the demand for sugar production.
  • Support environmental groups. Many environmental organizations are working to restore and protect life native to the Everglades. To succeed, these groups need community sponsorship and support.
    • Friends of the Everglades
    • The Center for Biological Diversity
    • The Everglades Coalition

See the Natural Wonder of This Beautiful Area on an Airboat Tour of the Everglades

Reading about the Everglades is one thing. Experiencing them on an airboat ride is another. Appreciating in person the natural beauty we have is the biggest personal connection we can forge with the land and helps reaffirm our commitment to the land we seek to protect.

An airboat tour of the Everglades offers an opportunity to meet the River of Grass and to go home with a renewed commitment to its ecological conservation. Fall in love with this vibrant place as we work to keep it alive for another generation to visit. To take an airboat tour of the Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, call Captain Bill at Cypress Outdoor Adventures today! 954-260-1096

Fun Facts About the American Crocodile in the Florida Everglades

Fun Facts About the American Crocodile in the Florida Everglades

The American crocodile is one of the most widespread types of crocodile in the world. It can be found in the southernmost parts of Florida in the United States, as well as the Caribbean Islands and South America. Crocodiles are large reptiles who enjoy the warm climate that Florida offers year round and can be common sights on such attractions as an airboat ride in Fort Lauderdale.

Size

American crocodiles can be anywhere from 13 to 15 feet in length and can weigh up to 900 pounds. This makes them one of the largest of the crocodile species. Though they are comparable in size with the American alligator, they differ in color and snout shape.

Food

Crocodiles have powerful jaws that allow them to grab onto their prey and drag it to the bottom for later consumption. They eat the animals they find in the water such as fish and turtles, but they have been known to snatch unsuspecting prey on the shore, such as deer and rabbits. They hunt by being mostly submerged, resembling a log floating in the water. This allows them to strike at their prey quickly, using their heavily muscled tail to propel them through the water.

Populations

There are approximately 3,000 crocodiles living in the swamps of South Florida, which is a positive change from the hundreds that remained in the 1970s. The population took a serious decline due to overhunting for their skins.

Location

Crocodiles prefer swamps and bodies of freshwater in a warm climate. They share their habitat with the American alligator. Since they are cold blooded, they cannot tolerate cold weather and can die if found too far north. They can be seen sunning themselves on bare shore beneath trees or on top of submerged rocks. Their dark brown-green skin makes them hard to spot, and they are often mistaken for logs floating in the water.

On an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale, You May See American Crocodiles

If you are planning a vacation in Florida or are a local who loves exploring, call Captain Bill here at Cypress Outdoor Adventures today – 954-260-1096. He will take you on an amazing airboat tour of the Florida Everglades, where you may be able to view American crocodiles in their natural habitat.

Non-Native Plants Threatening the Everglades

Non-Native Plants Threatening the Everglades

The Florida Everglades are 1.5 million acre wetlands filled with hundreds of animal species. Unfortunately, this unique environment is being threatened by non-native plant species that invade the area and make it difficult for native plants and animals to flourish. On an Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale, you may run across some of these problematic non-native plants.

Australian Pine (Casuarina equisetifolia)

This tree is a fast growing pine native to Asia and Australia. It produces very dense shade that makes it difficult for plants to grow underneath, and the chemicals in its leaves can inhibit the growth of other Everglades plants when they drop to the ground.

Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius)

Brazilian Pepper is tolerant to salt and resists fires, making it one of the most invasive plants in Florida. Its leaves produce irritant chemicals that cause rashes on human skin and kill off the native vegetation in the Everglades. The trees cluster together to form “monocultures” where no other plants can thrive.

Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

Melaleuca is a tree that was initially planted in Florida as a swamp drying plant, so it has a devastating effect on the Everglades. The trees grow in dense stands that displace native cypress and sawgrass trees.

Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum)

Originally introduced to Florida as an ornamental plant, this vine-like fern quickly spreads across the ground. It creates a blanket of greenery that can smother other plants, and its roots inhibit water flow through the wetlands. Spores can be spread by wind, making it even harder to control climbing fern growth.

Seaside Mahoe (Thespesia populnea)

Found originally in Africa and India, these trees have broad, heart-shaped leaves that block out the sun and keep other plants from growing below. Their seeds float on water, so the Seaside Mahoe manages to spread rapidly.

If you want to see this stunning natural environment before it changes further from invasive species, take an airboat Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale on an airboat.

Touring by airboat allows you to see the flora and fauna of the Everglades up close and personal without disturbing the natural surroundings of the unique ecosystem. Call Captain Bill of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 to book your airboat tour and see all the natural beauty of the Everglades.

Top 5 Plants to Look for on Your Everglades Airboat Tour

Top 5 Plants to Look for on Your Everglades Airboat Tour

As the Everglades represents a convergence of multiple ecosystems and is located across a confluence of climate zones, it provides an opportunity to see tropical flora from the Caribbean alongside temperate North American plants. While on an Everglades tour, below are five plants to look for because of ecological importance, oddness, or iconic status.

Sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense)

The Everglades’ nickname, “River of Grass,” comes from the abundance of this plant. However, sawgrass is not a grass; it is a member of the sedge family. These plants support many ecosystem processes in the Everglades and are frequently utilized by alligators as a nest material.

Giant Airplant (Tillandsia utriculata)

This pineapple-crown-like bromeliad is an epiphyte, a non-parasitic plant that usually grows on other plants. A single giant airplant may hold up to 1 liter of water in its leaf axils, making it an important resource to many invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles in the area.

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

This is not a moss; it is a close relative of the above-mention giant airplant. Tangled masses of this epiphyte seen growing among branches of Everglade trees are actually colonies comprised of thousands of individual plants.

Soldierwood (Colubrina elliptica)

One may think this tree got its common name from patterns on its bark, which resemble modern military camouflage. However, the name goes back to the days of musket warfare. In dispersing seeds, the ripe fruit of this tree will explode, sounding like musket fire.

Cockspur (Pisonia aculeate)

This should be on your list of plants to look for, not only because it is interesting, but it is also a plant you don’t want to bump into. The tree-like stem of this massive vine is replete with long, sharp thorns adorned with more long, sharp thorns. Another name for this nightmarish plant is the catchbirdtree, as its sticky fruits will adhere to birds, entangling them and leading to their slow demise.

See More Plants on an Airboat Everglades Tour in Fort Lauderdale

For an exciting Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale, contact Captain Bill, owner of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 today! We will take you around the Everglades for a close look at fascinating plants, as well as the diverse wildlife such as .

All About Saw Palmettos in the Everglades

All About Saw Palmettos in the Everglades

The Florida Everglades is known for its diversity of plant and wildlife, including the iconic saw palmetto. Putting down roots in the Florida Everglades is not easy, but somehow the Saw Palmetto thrives in the glades unique conditions. Perhaps it is because the Saw Palmetto, a fan-shaped palm, is so hardy itself. The long-living plant produces leaves that have fine, sharp teeth and are capable of breaking the skin, hence the name “saw.”

The saw palmetto takes up residence in Everglades’ hammock and pineland scrub areas, which are known for their porous soil. Though they are trees, saw palmettos rarely grow upright; instead their trunks grow horizontal to the ground, and the plant grows in clumps along the ground.

Saw Palmettos Provide Food and Cover for Wildlife

While uniquely beautiful with it’s silver-green, slow-growing, fan-shaped fronds, the saw palmetto serves an important purpose for the wildlife of the Florida Everglades. The plant’s fruit, sometimes called the “swamp grape” feeds a variety of animals, and even, historically, humans.

The black bear relies heavily on the fruit, which resembles dark blue grapes, and it also eats the plant’s young shoots. In dry times, the fruit is vital eating for white-tailed deer. There are certain moth larvae that feed only on the Saw Palmetto.

In addition to use as a food source, a variety of animals use the plant for cover because it has such dense growth. Birds including the endangered grasshopper sparrow and the Florida scrub jay seek protection in palmettos. The Florida burrowing owl, sandhill crane, and the crested caracara also take refuge amongst its leafy fans.

See Saw Palmettos on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale

Because of its marshy makeup, exploring the Everglades is not easy, but we get you close to the action with our airboat rides. The unique design of airboats makes it so you can see the Everglades’ and the Saw Palmetto up close and personal. Call Captain Bill of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 to set up your tour and adventure today.

Migrating Birds in the Everglades

Migrating Birds in the Everglades

On a ride with Everglades airboat tours in Fort Lauderdale, visitors skim across what is sometimes called a “river on grass.” In the Everglades, which is a slow-moving river, visitors can hear a chorus of frogs and cicadas, and they can safely observe alligators lying on the sun-warmed shore.

View Migratory Birds in the Everglades and Endangered Animals in a Natural Setting

Tourists can also view a variety of birds in their natural habitat. Unusual birds appear during the migratory season in this warm and beautiful area of swampland. Over 360 different species of birds have been spotted in the Everglades, most belonging in one of the following categories – wading, land, and prey.

Some of the birds that tourists may catch sight of are the roseate spoonbill, varieties of egrets, the great blue heron, the black-necked stilt, white and black ibis, and ducks such as the greenwing teal. Egrets and herons, as well as ibises and spoonbills are wading birds, that you’ll often spot walking in the shallow waters of the glades on the hunt for food.

The Everglades, once the territory of the Seminole Indians, remains the home of various plants and animals. Among them are several endangered species that have adapted over time to the subtropical and wet environment.

Schedule Your Delightful Everglades Airboat Tours in Fort Lauderdale With Captain Bill

Cypress Outdoor Adventures offers day and sunset tours, where you may be able to observe many of the birds heading back to the northern part of the country for spring. On the sunset tours, the boat has lights that illuminate the surroundings so that tourists can view the wildlife. Then, as the sun goes down, the lights are turned off for all on the boat to revel in the beauty of the fiery ball as it passes below the horizon.

In addition to these tours, we offer other excursions such as bow-fishing. For more information on Everglades airboat tours Fort Lauderdale and to make arrangements for tours, contact Captain Bill, owner of Cypress Outdoor Adventures today at 954-260-1096.