A Puma Subspecies
The Florida Panther is of the Puma subspecies which ranges from mountain lions, cougars, and more. This specific type of panther lives within the Everglades of Florida as well as the surrounding swamps. Panthers keep the wild boar population in check and are the main food source. The Panther is the official state animal. Although popular now and better understood, there was a time in the past when settlers mistook the nature of the Florida Panther. In the past, they were hunted into near extinction. This made the panthers one of the most endangered mammals on Earth. Today, one of the only ways to see such a creature would be during a Florida Swamp tour, with a lot of luck.
The Florida Swamp Cat
This Florida swamp cat was endangered by the hunting it endured in the past but also the constant draining and destruction of the Florida Everglades it calls home. A single male Panther requires at least 200 square miles to survive comfortably and properly. Habitats of the Panther are usually in dry dense scrub, also where the panther kittens are born and raised for a short amount of time. Most cubs don’t make it, a litter consists of typically 1-4 cubs. The male Panther often avoids the females other than to breed, so the female panther does all the raising.
The Florida Panther – A Protected Species
Florida Panther numbers have dwindled over the years due to changes in the Everglades. Changes in the ecosystem have affected the animal food chain. Even the smallest of changes affect the bigger creatures. Small animals feed off plants and insects, bigger animals feed of those animals and other plants. What happens at the bottom of the chain ends up having a sometimes dramatic effect at the top of the chain. This is why as their numbers shrunk, Florida Panthers have been put on the endangered species list.
There are now efforts to repopulated the panthers in the Everglades. Reintroducing them in restricted areas has had the effect of letting them reproduce again, and those numbers have been slowly rising again. Eventually, there is a hope that the numbers will become healthy enough to take the Florida Panther off the endangered species list.
A rare sight
Florida Panthers have struggled to survive due to the expansion of human commodities. We now have a protection plan put in place to reserve and hopefully restore this once thriving beautiful species. It is nearly impossible to see a Florida Panther on an airboat ride in Fort Lauderdale. These cats are very nocturnal and elusive and mostly move late at night or before dawn. Not many visitors to the Florida Everglades have seen a Florida Panther in real life. It would take days even weeks of walking in the Everglades to hopefully get a glance at a panther.
But your best chances of seeing a panther in the Everglades would be in the central area of Everglades National Park. To learn more about the Florida panther Click Here. However, airboat rides have a slight chance of encountering this majestuous creature. If the sole purpose of your journey is to see a Florida Panther, why not talk to us first? Our airboat rides are private, so we could take you to some of the places where you are most likely to see such animals.
We definitely can’t make any guarantees on wildlife, even more with such a rare creature. But we can do our best to tailor your ride to your needs, as our airboat rides are private. No matter what, we will make sure you can catch a glimpse at other native and non-native animals. So even if you can’t witness a Panther, we will try to endeavor that your ride will always be worth your time. You might just have to do with seeing alligators and other reptiles, mammals, birds, and insects.
In all cases, Contact Us for an amazing Everglades tour and a chance to capture this magnificent creature. Make sure to get your camera ready, take enough batteries, and get ready to encounter some creatures that are unique to the Everglade’s ecosystem. Just make sure to ask us anything you need and tell us if you have a specific goal in mind, and we will do our very best to find what you are looking for!