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Category: Everglades Animals

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.

 

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!

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.

Fun Facts about the Eastern Indigo Snake

Fun Facts about the Eastern Indigo Snake

Florida is full of beautiful, marshy landscapes and the creatures that inhabit the land, sea, and sky. We have some of the most interesting creatures in the United States thanks to our Everglades, and we’re responsible for protecting and bringing awareness about them to others. This includes our protected species, such as the Eastern Indigo Snake.

Is the eastern indigo snake venomous?

Let’s just get this out of the way – no, they are not venomous. Eastern Indigo Snakes rarely bite humans. But they do bite prey, enemies, and occasionally males will fight each other in aggressive situations. The indigo snake is considered harmless, but is a protected species you can not handle without a permit. Not that most necessarily want to handle a snake…

The Eastern Indigo Snake Is the Longest Snake in North America

Identified by its beautiful blue-black sheen, this species is now native to peninsular Florida and southeast Georgia. The females can reach up to 6.5 ft long and males up to 8.5 ft. While their size can be impressive, they are most often between 5-6 ft. long.

Eastern Indigo Snakes Eat Other Venomous Snakes

Yes, that’s right. The eastern indigo snake overpowers its often larger prey with muscular jaws, consuming them head first. The indigo snake has a diet of lizards, tortoises, mammals, frogs, birds, and other venomous snakes. It has been observed that the Indigo snake appears to be immune to the poison of venomous snakes.

The Best Place to see an Eastern Indigo Snake Is the Everglades

Although the Indigo snake is now listed as a threatened species because of dramatic decline in population – due to over-collecting by domestic and international pet trade – it can still be found in the Everglades! Preservations of these habitats is the best assurance of survival for the indigo snake.

You May See an Eastern Indigo Snake on an Everglades Airboat Tour in Fort Lauderdale

Although as a protected species, the chances of seeing an Indigo are slimmer than an Alligator. But keep your eyes peeled on tour! There’s a good chance you’ll see one on your next airboat tour of the Everglades. Are you ready to get closer to nature than you’ve ever been? Call Cypress Outdoor Adventures today at (954) 260-1096, or secure your spot online for an Everglades airboat ride of a lifetime!

Fun Facts About the American Alligator

Fun Facts About the American Alligator

Florida is full of beautiful, marshy landscapes and the creatures that inhabit by land, sea, and sky. We have some of the most interesting creatures in the United States thanks to our Everglades, and we’re responsible for protecting and bringing awareness about them to others. No matter where you’re from, if you love animals like we do, you haven’t yet lived until you get up close and personal with a 10-foot alligator!

The American Alligator is the Largest Reptile in North America

American alligators are native to—you guessed it— the southern United States. They are the largest of the reptilians, with their males growing up to nearly 10 feet in length and weighing up to 500 pounds. Female alligators are certainly no joke either at nearly 9 feet in length and weighing up to 200 pounds. You certainly wouldn’t want to tussle with a gator, that’s for sure. From a safe-enough distance away that the alligator feels you’re no threat to his home or nest, they are quite a sight to behold, swimming around the water like they own the place—because let’s face it, at 500 pounds they do!

American Alligators Can’t Sing a Note

While it’s not certain the American alligator couldn’t have a great singing voice, they unfortunately have no vocal chords. Instead, they communicate by creating deep bellows and roars. Depending on which, they can attract a mate or warn other alligators that they’re getting too close to their territory.

The Best Place to See an American Alligator is in the Florida Everglades

Even though American alligators roam throughout Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and Texas, there’s only one place in the U.S. that can boast being number one hot spot in the count – the Florida Everglades. It is the best place to go when you’re looking for some good ol’ fashioned alligator watching.

Due to draining of their natural environments, you’d really have to keep your eyes peeled and hope luck’s on your side anywhere but Florida. Come ride across the Everglades, and watch them grow and thrive in their true natural habitat.

You May See an American Alligator on an Airboat Tour of the Everglades

Over 1.25 million of our nation’s 5 million alligators live in Florida alone, which is one of the reasons why these massive prehistoric creatures are the official Florida state reptile. This means there’s a great chance you’ll get to spot an alligator on your next airboat tour of the Everglades. Are you ready to get closer to nature than you’ve ever been? Call Cypress Outdoor Adventures today at (954) 260-1096, or secure your spot online for an Everglades airboat ride of a lifetime!

Alligator Tour Airboat Rides

Alligator Tour Airboat Rides

We’ve all studied about alligators back in school. However, what we learn is mostly elementary. There’s a lot more they havethan what we’ve been told. To help out with your curiosity, we’ve compiled a list of interesting alligator facts. Take a look!

They Cry

Ever hear of the expression “crocodile tears or alligator tears”? Well, if you have, you know what it means. In a nutshell, it refers to false tears. Where do you think the inspiration for this expression came from? Well, it obviously came from the actual fact that alligators shed tears. However, these tears are shed purely for the purpose of moisturizing and cleaning, hence, the association with fake crying.

Alligators Are Found Only in 2 Locations across the Globe

According to what is known so far, they have appeared over 30 million years ago and they are found only 2 regions around the world.

First, we have the American alligator, which is found in the southern part of the USA. This includes everything from North Carolina to Texas.

Then, we have the Chinese Alligator, which is found in the region that runs along Eastern China’s Yangtze River. Chinese alligators are shy and don’t often reveal themselves. Plus, the rapid progress in that region has led to a drop in their numbers as well. So, it’s harder to spot the now.

American alligators are larger than their Chinese counterparts. For example, the average American alligator can grow up to 13 feet and weigh almost 800 pounds. The Chinese alligator, on the other hand, doesn’t cross 7 feet and reaches a maximum weight of 300 pounds.

Now that you know a thing or two about alligators, we’re pretty sure you would want to see them up close. But, how can one do that, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple really. All you need to do is sign up for an alligator tour. It is basically an airboat tours that take you through the swamps, marshes and mangroves of the Everglades to get you as close as possible to real alligators.

You get to see alligators in the natural habitat; untamed and wild! It’s an experience that you’re sure to remember.

 

Everglades History

Everglades History

There is more to the Florida Everglades then just alligators and airboat tours. The Florida Everglades has a deep historical and cultural heritage that goes back many generations. There are many interesting facts about the Florida Everglades you may not know.

The first people to inhabit the Florida Everglades where the Casula Indians who settled back in 10,000 BC. The place they called home is what we now call the Everglades National Park. Archaeologists found many artifacts spread throughout the area. These Indians thrived here until early settlers in the 1700s brought disease and basically wiped out these Indians.

South Florida did not have any settlements until the end of the 19th-century, and at that time the only three established areas were Chokoloskee, Flamingo and Cape Sable.  Many of these areas where only accessible by boat and the settlers depended on trading with other areas such as Tampa, and Key West.

The people that settled this area were known as Gladesmen. They survive by living off the land and learning how to navigate through the dense marsh. They learned how to hunt, trap, and fish to feed their families. They learned the different weather patterns to understand when an approaching storm was coming so they can take shelter.

Many people think of the Florida Everglades as a stagnant swamp; however it is called the River Of Grass because it is a river. The water moves from north to south starting near the Kissimmee river near Orlando. Even though the water moves very slow it is moving. That’s why you will notice on your airboat tour when you look over the side of the boat that the water is crystal clear. But there is a lot going underneath you as well. The water will seep into the ground where we have many aquifers, and caverns that allow the water to flow underneath you.

It was not until 1929 that people living in South Florida began building levees in an attempt to drain the Everglades into valuable farmlands. When this began to take place cities like Clewiston and Moorehaven that are south of Lake Okeechobee popped up and began to thrive. From that point on this diverse ecosystem began to face man-made challenges that threatened its existence

Burmese Python Non-Native Species of the Everglades

Burmese Python Non-Native Species of the Everglades

The Florida Everglades was an untouched paradise until settlers arrived in the early 19th century. Which their arrival they brought new non-native species of animals and plants. Many of these species have flourished in this delicate ecosystem. Today the Florida wildlife commission has many plants, mammals, and reptiles that are all listed as established non-native, or invasive species.

One of the most widely known invasive reptiles is the Burmese python; which became established in the early 1980s. Many of my clients ask me when we are on tour how did the snakes get here? I explain that there was a breeding facility that was destroyed during hurricane Andrew in 1992, but the snakes were in the area before then and in many cases it is because of the exotic pet trade. In many cases you can acquire permits to own exotic animals and keep them in your home, some animals didn’t need permits at all.

In many instances some of these animals were able to break free of their enclosures and escape. Sometimes the pet owners were no longer able to take care of them so they wanted to set them free and live a happy life. People have let these animals go and they have made their way into the Florida Everglades.

For animals such as the Burmese python and Boa Constrictors, the Florida Everglades offers an amazing habitat for them. They can disappear into the vast marshes and survive easily. These animals are masters of camouflage and stealth. The animal can lay very still and when prey is close it will quickly strike and wrap itself around the animal constricting it until it dies. Even for a large animal it can dislocate the hinges of his jaw and begin swallowing the animal whole. Sometimes the snake wins, sometimes the gator wins.

There have been documented cases of pythons swallowing gators. Aerial photography from helicopters has shown large snakes laying out on a bed of sawgrass with a very large gator in its belly. Up until the 1980s the American alligator was the top predator in the Florida Everglades. It appears that those days are gone.

With the introduction of these invasive snakes, gators are now on their menu as well as birds, turtles, and fish. In an effort to try and control the outbreak of the snakes there have been special hunts designated to try and catch and kill these animals. With the vast territory of the Florida Everglades it is my opinion that these hunts will not even put a dent in the situation. The snakes are now listed as a conditional species in Florida and can no longer be acquired as pets in the state. You are no longer allowed to transport the snakes across state lines.

The snakes are not only contained to South Florida. There have been snakes found moving north west through the state indicating that they were released or escaped pets.

These animals are potentially dangerous to humans as well. Since these python can grow up to lengths of 20 feet, and lay as many as 30 to 40 eggs per year; we are talking about a very dangerous animal that can cause a lot of harm to our environment and potentially human life.

At this moment researchers estimate the numbers to be between 30,000 and upwards of 300,000 pythons that likely occupy South Florida, which is just another way of saying they have no idea. However, between 2000 and 2011 almost 1800 pythons were removed from the Everglades national Park and surrounding areas.

History of the Everglades Drainage

History of the Everglades Drainage

The destruction and drainage of the Florida Everglades dates back to the 19th century. Most people assume that when the settlers planted their roots here they began to drain the Everglades. Actually, it was the United States military that began draining the Everglades to try and flush out the Seminole Indians. They had been trying to capture and kill them but were unsuccessful.

Eventually the settlers tried to drain the Everglades again in the hopes of planting crops in the fertile soil. The Florida Everglades is known as the River Of Grass because the water that originates near Orlando flows south into Lake Okeechobee. From there, there is about 100 mile wide river flowing south which eventually ends up in The Florida Bay. Even though the water is moving very slowly, it is still moving to the south at all times.

Most all of the founding fathers of South Florida from Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Henry Flagler, and other bigwigs wanted to drain the Everglades for economic development. Most of these developers had no idea of how to successfully contain the water and drain the Everglades. Many of them failed.

As land development and economic growth grew in South Florida, the natural animals in this area suffered due to unregulated hunting. Animals such as the American alligator and many of our birds were hunted to near extinction. These developers also brought non-native plant species and trees such as the Australian Melaleuca to try and drain the water in these areas. Thanks to mankind we now have many non-native invasive species growing in our area.

As you drive along some of Florida’s highways you may encounter some levees. If you were traveling up US Highway 27 N. or on I 75 W. These levees are used to control the water to assist in such things as flooding from hurricanes. The engineers that developed these levees did leave openings in some areas to allow water to pass through. There are also many flood control gates that can be opened and closed whenever necessary.

As a matter fact whenever a customer meets me for a tour they will actually be right next to one of these flood control gates. These gates and levees are controlled by the South Florida water management district. They can move water from certain areas as they see fit.

Often, many of our native animals suffer because of certain areas being heavily flooded for prolonged periods of time. Certain mammal such as Whitetail deer, black bear and Osceola turkey need dry ground and can sometimes be stranded on small islands and levees.