The Everglades are famous for their crocodilian inhabitants. However, this great environment provides far more biodiversity than most would ever know. Crocodiles, alligators, native birds, manatees, and sea turtles are just part of the Everglades’ natural population. Still, this article will focus on an animal that is far less common but fascinating: the Florida panther. There is indeed much we can learn about this species. Without further ado, here are some facts about one of Florida’s rarest animals.
The Florida Panther Native Species
A Carnivorous Creature
Panthers have a reputation for being dangerous. Their strictly carnivorous diet does make them one of the most significant predators. They exclusively eat meat, with a diet made mostly of raccoons, armadillos, feral hogs and white-tailed deers. Exceptionally they are also known to eat alligators, which is no small feature. Alligators are the Apex predators of their environment, which brings Florida panthers to stand on top of the food chain.
The Panther’s Habitat
Florida panthers will favor upland forested areas. Those make a safer and dryer resting and denning ground for them to live. The animals they prey upon live in higher numbers in uplands, rather than the Everglades’ lower flooded habitats. However, their occasional eating of Alligators shows they also inhabit the lower and more flooded grounds of the Everglade swamps.
A Rare and Endangered Species
The Florida panther population is low in numbers. There is an estimated 120 to 130 panthers currently living in southern Florida. They inhabit swamplands such as Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. This makes Florida panthers a very rare sighting in the Everglades. You might get lucky with taking a Fort Lauderdale Everglades Tour and catch them in their natural environment. Habitat reduction has caused panther numbers to dwindle over the years. New conservation efforts on the Everglades and genetic restoration programs mean that the species is slowly growing.
The Florida Panther Genetic Restoration
In 1995, The Genetic Restoration Program was created to maintain genetic health within the Florida panther population. It introduced female Texas panthers in south Florida so that inbreeding would slow down. Genetic depression has significantly reduced, leading to an increase in health and survivability among the species. The result is an increase from 20-30 panthers to a healthier 100 panthers, effectively tripling the population by 2007. This program’s success carries on giving hope as the Florida panther population has since increased to 120-130.
The Mercury Threat
In 1989, Florida discovered high levels of mercury in fish in the Everglades. This was due to industrial mining and the smelting of metals within Florida. Those mercury levels were then passed on through the food chain through small prey such as raccoons. They accumulated in larger quantities as it went up the chain. This resulted in predators on top of the chain, such as the Florida panther containing the most mercury. Mercury won’t be completely removed. However, mercury and other emissions reduction technology are reducing mercury levels and will carry on doing so over the years.
There are many other things to learn about the Florida panther. Being able to find them in their natural environment is a rare and privileged sighting. The Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is a possible place where you can see them. There is hope that they might eventually be reintroduced to new areas. However, the lack of understanding and general fear of those magnificent feline creatures means it will take time before they ultimately reach non-endangered species’ status.
22 Aug / 2020
Crocodilian reptiles are some of the many fascinating creatures found in the Florida Everglades. These majestic animals are why many people visit Fort Lauderdale due to its proximity to the Everglades. You can spot them by booking Fort Lauderdale Air Boat Rides. Here are some of the top 5 facts about alligators and crocodiles in the Everglades:
Everglades Alligators & Crocodile Native Species
Two Native Species
There are two species of crocodilians that are native to the United States. The Crocodylus Acutus, also referred to as the American Crocodile, originates from the Florida Everglades. It lives in the Everglades’ saltwater parts. The other species called the Alligator Mississippiensis is also known as the American Alligator. In contrast, this species mostly nests in the freshwater channels of the Everglades.
Everglades Alligators vs Crocodiles
Crocodiles and alligators, while being similar, do display some differences. Crocodiles have lighter skin than alligators; their nose is smaller and narrower than alligators whose snout is broader. Put merely, crocodile snouts resemble a V-shape and are more pointed, while alligator snouts are more U-shaped. Another distinguishing feature between the two species is their teeth. With their mouths closed, crocodiles have teeth sticking up over their upper lips. Alligators can hide all their teeth due to their larger upper jaw.
The Ultimate Predators
Crocodiles and alligators are referred to as Apex predators, standing at the top of their food chain. Their presence is, therefore, essential to sustaining their habitat’s biodiversity.
Both have slightly different diets. Crocodiles tend to favor fish, crustaceans, birds, frogs, and large mammals. In contrast, alligators prefer to eat smaller mammals, reptiles, and even fruits. They also display a fondness for other fish and birds.
An Aggressive Species?
Out of the two species, alligators are considered to be less aggressive. This is because they are very selective of their prey. Even though saltwater crocodiles are more aggressive, unprovoked attacks are an infrequent occurrence. The majority of attacks from crocodilians happen in Africa. Airboat rides are by far the safest way to observe crocodilians in their natural environment. They allow distance and a non-intrusive way to gleam at these beautiful creatures.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to freshwater locations where alligators can be found. This is due to the risk of saltwater rising and inundating freshwater sources. The construction of dikes and canals has harmed their environment in the Everglades. The CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan) aims at restoring their habitats. The CERP is the most significant ecosystem restoration effort globally, at a cost of over $7 Billion and a projected duration exceeding 20 years.
Those are just some of the many fascinating facts about the Crocodilian species in the Everglades. However, knowing facts will never equate to the feeling of seeing those magnificent creatures with your own eyes. Fort Lauderdale airboat Everglades tours are the best and safest way to observe crocodiles and alligators in their natural environment. It will be a day to remember for any animal lovers or just anyone curious to see some of the most exciting reptiles living on this earth.
04 Mar / 2020
Alligators and Crocodiles are probably the first things you imagine when you hear “Everglades.” They’re notorious in Florida and many residents have encountered them more than once in their life. If you ever travel to the Everglades, you’ll notice many of them swimming around in the waters. But when you go on your next airboat tour ride, keep your eyes peeled. You might just see an unlikely swamp inhabitant that you would never expect to see. Continue reading below to see what creatures you can potentially spot during your tour through the Florida Everglades.
When you ride in the airboat make sure to look up into the sky once in a while. If you’re lucky you might see a snail kite flying above. If you’re even luckier, you’ll see it diving towards the earth to snatch up its food. The snail kite’s main source of food is – you’ve guessed it – snails. They mainly hunt for apple snails when traversing through the expansive swampy region. Their curved beaks help in the consumption of these fairly big prey. Once the snail is caught, the snail kite will attempt to fish out the snail from its shell. If the snail is in its shell too deeply, then the bird will resort to cracking it open. These birds are unfortunately in decline due to an invasive species in the Everglades.
The Island Apple Snail, an invasive species that has existed in the Everglades for a long time now, has been causing the snail kites numbers to dwindle. The reason being is that Island Apple Snails actually eat the apple snails that inhabit the region so there’s less food for snail kites to consume. On top of that, the shells of Island Apple Snails are too dense for snail kites to break so they simply can’t be eaten by the bird
Many species of sea turtles actually reside in the Everglades, namely five of them: Green Turtle, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, and the Leatherback. On many beaches that reside close to Florida national parks, there are sea turtle nests. Depending on conditions, sea turtle mothers may or may not abandon their nests. When they do abandon, eggs are left unprotected and are susceptible to human involvement and predators. Unprotected eggs are typically consumed by alligators, raccoons, and foxes. The latter two will especially dig up nests and steal whatever eggs they’re able to carry.
Humans who are unaware of the extinction crisis surrounding sea turtles usually contribute to the decline of these endangered species. Just by swimming near a sea turtle and changing its course of direction is considered harassment and serious charges will follow.
You wouldn’t expect to see a manatee in a swampy region, but many of them do actually reside in the Everglades. These sea cows are gentle giants and aren’t usually attacked by many predators. But that doesn’t mean their numbers aren’t dwindling. The common causes of their deaths are due to human interaction. Collisions with boats have killed these animals which is why you might never see one during a tour through the Everglades. Airboat tour guides are very cautious when it comes to traversing through manatee territory. Your tour guide may not even ride through it out of fear that they can easily kill a manatee. Lack of reproductive activities and sufficient habitats also contribute to these animals decline
Book a Tour With Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale & Try to Spot These Animals!
Although it’s unlikely, you can still possibly see these majestic creatures while riding through the Everglades. If you feel lucky, come book a tour with Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale. Our expert tour guides have traveled through the swampy ecosystem numerous times for many years. This makes them some of the most professional tour guides to be trusted with while on an airboat. If interested, call us at 954.284.9130 or visit our contact page
06 Feb / 2020
The Florida Everglades has been known to house many exotic animals in its ecosystem. But what is less known – or rather, less acknowledged – are the many smaller critters that live in it. While there are many to go over these are just some of the most popular that live in the Everglades. Including some that are, unfortunately, invasive to South Florida’s Massive swamp region.
NATIVE SPECIES OF THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES
Whirligig Beetles are considered to be versatile creatures as they can fly, swim, and dive into the water. They have divided eyes to see both above and below waters while they are hunting food or looking out for danger and are usually seen in groups with other whirligig beetles circling across the expansive water surface of the Everglades. These beetles are able to travel underwater when looking to snack on fallen insects or mosquito larvae. This is achieved through their ability to trap an air bubble underneath their abdomen, which functions as a lung.
Whether you have traversed through the Everglades or not, if you’re a Floridian, it’s likely that you’ve come across these spiders at one point or another. Commonly known to Floridians as Banana Spiders, Golden Orb Spiders are another name given to these magnificent critters. Their name derives from how their silk appears as gold to spectators when reflected by the sun. Their striped legs and colorful appearance serves as a warning sign to potential predators of their venom.
The Lubber Grasshoppers are much larger in appearance (most are roughly 3 ½ inches in length) compared to the common, smaller grasshoppers you may typically see. While they cannot fly, Lubber Grasshoppers can jump and walk. If you ever see one in the Everglades and want a photo, take your time when bringing out your camera. These creatures are known to be very slow. They also have no prey as they are very toxic to eat.
INVASIVE SPECIES OF THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES
Lobate Lac Scale
These insects that are native to India and Sri Lanka where first founded in Broward County in 1999. Though the heaviest infestation remains in Broward County, some of them reside in the Everglades. They are usually together in congregated groups and can be identified by the sooty black mold they coat themselves with and on their victims. They have been known to destroy a variety of trees and shrubs native to the Florida Everglades. Examples included of the trees they are known to destroy are wax myrtle, coco plum, and strangler fig.
These bugs have no official name as they have many (Mexican Weevil and Bromeliad Beetle, as an example). But to Bromeliad Enthusiasts, they are referred to as the Evil Weevil. As the latter nickname suggests, their presence in the Everglades is not a good one. These insects have been known to prey on Bromeliad trees and have caused destructive damage to the Everglades’ ecosystem.
Island Apple Snail
These snails appear similar but are much larger in comparison to the Florida Apple Snail and can grow to the size of a tennis ball. These snails pose a threat as they consume the native snails that inhabit the Swampy ecosystem. Bugs in the Everglades typically play a vital role in supplying sustenance to the other animals that reside there. One particular bird, the Snail Kite, are known to consume the Florida Apple Snail on a frequent basis. However, since the presence of the Island Apple Snail, the food supply for Snail Kites has slowly dwindled. There is the presence of the Island Apple Snail for these birds to consume, however, their beaks are not strong enough to break open these invasive species shells.
Come See More of The Insects and Other Bugs of The Everglades through Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale
If you want to see these small bugs or even more insects and other crawlies of the Everglades, consider booking a tour with Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale. Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale offers tours of Florida’s expansive swamp ecosystem with professional guides who have familiarized themselves with the Everglades for years. If you want to learn more or give a call, contact us at (954) 338-4890 or contact us online.
17 Jan / 2020
Burmese Pythons are among the most problematic invasive species in Florida’s Everglades. They’re invading the area entirely, taking over the land and killing many of the Swamp’s native species. The presence of Pythons in the Everglades is a nightmare for conservation efforts. Furthermore, Everglades experts think that the Python invasion may be the worst to ever affect the Everglades. There have been a number of different efforts made in an attempt to handle the Python problem. Recently, hunters and contractors have been invited into the historic wetlands to provide assistance in killing and removing these pests from the Everglades. Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale understands how detrimental Pythons are to the ecosystem. That’s why we invite you to learn more about the Burmese Python invasion in the Everglades in this post from our blog.
13 Dec / 2019
In the Everglades, there are countless species of wildlife. From mammals to amphibians, to birds and reptiles. Animal lovers of all kinds can spot something they’ll love in Florida’s Everglades. Alligators are one of the most commonly spotted animals in the Everglades. But do you know about what else can be found in the River Of Grass? Learn more about the different animals you’ll find in the Everglades in this blog post from Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale.
Terrestrial Animals Of The Everglades
While it’s true that much of the Everglades is made up of rivers, wetlands, and ponds, there are plenty of dry areas that are inhabited by a number of different mammals. Over 40 species of Mammals call the Everglades home. One of the most common mammals in the Everglades is the Wild hog, commonly referred to as a boar. If you see one of these hogs on a trail, the best idea is to stay away. For the most part, wild hogs are shy and skittish, but they can, and likely will attack if provoked.
Alongside the wild hog, the Everglades are full of foxes, deer, and even Bobcats. Of course, The Florida Panther can also be spotted in the Everglades, though they are endangered and incredibly rare. Beneath the water, you can find the West Indian Manatee – more commonly known as the Sea Cow. Spotting any of these mammals is an incredible occurrence and one that not many people get to experience.
Feathered Friends Of The Everglades
There are over 300 different species of birds in Flordia’s Everglades. Many of these birds reside in the Everglades year-round, like the White and Glossy Ibis, or the Roseate Spoonbill. Alternatively, there are some birds that only live in the Everglades during the winter, and the kinds of birds that migrate here changes year by year. There are many iconic and unique birds in the Everglades, like the Snail Kite or the Bald Eagle. Bird watchers that want to see everything that the Everglades has to offer will have a busy day ahead of them!
Come See The Incredible Animals Of The Everglades
Alongside birds and mammals, the Everglades are full of a number of species of reptiles and amphibians like the American Alligator and the American Crocodile. There are also a number of turtle, frog, and fish species. Want to see the different animals of the Everglades? Consider booking a tour with Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale. Give us a call at (954) 338-4890 or contact us online to book your tour today!
18 Nov / 2019
Private airboat rides in the Everglades are one of a kind trips. Most people who do experience a tour through the Everglades never get to enjoy private airboat rides. Most people who go on an airboat tour through the Everglades go on a public tour, often filled with a number of strangers. This can be uncomfortable for those that intended a ride through the Everglades to be a family bonding experience. That’s the Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale difference – we love taking families through the Everglades with those they hold dearest. Trips through Florida’s Everglades are unforgettable journies that should be experienced with unforgettable people. In this post from the Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of private tours through the Everglades.
Enjoy Not Bumping Elbows With Strangers On A Private Airboat Tour
Private airboat tours are unique in the sense that they allow you to experience the majesty of Florida’s Everglades without being surrounded by people that are unfamiliar to you. Unfortunately for many tourists, they fall into the tourist traps that are public airboat tours. These public airboat tour providers are usually operated by those that are largely unpassionate about Florida’s River Of Grass. But, at Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale, our captain’s are experienced and full of passion. They absolutely love showing travelers the Everglades on a unique level. Experience the Everglades with a private airboat ride from Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale.
Take A Unique Experience Through The Everglades
If you’ve been on a public airboat tour through Florida’s Everglades, you’ve been on every public airboat tour through the Everglades. What do we mean by this? Often, these tours are cookie-cutter in nature. They are the same tour, repeated 15+ times a day by a person who is not an expert on the River Of Grass. Furthermore, these tours are often quite short. Public airboat tours often last only 30-45 minutes.
At Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale, we offer 1 hour, 2 hour, and 3 hour Everglades tours. Please note, that our 3 hour Everglades tours are only available from August 1st to September 30th. Regardless, all of our tours give you a unique insight into the Everglades by a person who spends most of their waking hours in the River of Grass. This is another aspect that puts us apart from public airboat tours. We’ll take you on a unique route that we guarantee you’ve never been on. All the while, providing you with accurate and interesting facts and information about the ecosystem of the Everglades.
Choose Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale To Be Your Private Everglades Airboat Ride Provider Of Choice
The Everglades is a serene place. The Everglades is best experienced when you’re in as good a mood as possible. For many, being surrounded by strangers during a peaceful tour can be unnerving. Lucky for those tourists and residents of the Fort Lauderdale area, we offer totally private airboat rides. Our rates are affordable, and our reviews will speak for themselves. This is the best tour of Florida’s Everglades by airboat that money can buy. To learn more about Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale’s unique tour options, give us a call at (954) 338-4890 or contact us online.
18 Oct / 2019
Florida’s Everglades are an iconic part of Florida’s tourist attractions. The Everglades has gained many nicknames from Florida locals and different folks around the world. One of the Everglade’s most famous names is “The River Of Grass”. Where did this nickname come from? Learn more in this post from the Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale blog.
14 Aug / 2019
Airboats are the only vehicle that can effortlessly cruise through the deep swampland of the Everglades. Given this fact, it goes without saying that an airboat is the best way to explore Florida’s endless River of Grass. But, merely acquiring an airboat and venturing into the Everglades can be rather dangerous. Unlike other waterways in Florida, the Everglades does not have any posted signs indicating directions, speed limit, etc. Guided Everglades Airboat tours from Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale is the safest and most exciting way to ensure that you get the most out of your trip to the Everglades. Our knowledgable airboat captains will chauffeur you through Florida’s Everglades, allowing you to enjoy the scenery and the environment while learning more about the environment that surrounds you. Airboats are one of the only truly safe methods for trekking through Florida’s swamps, without the danger of snakes, alligators, and other creepy crawlers that could be dangerous to humans. Here are some fun facts about Airboats and the Everglades.
Airboats & The Everglades Fun Facts
Did you know?
- In other parts of the world, Airboats are more commonly called fan boats. In particular, airboats are commonly called fan boats in Canada.
- Airboats are flat-bottomed boats, powered by the same engine and propeller that would be used in an aircraft. Why? Being flat-bottomed allows easy access to shallow waters, which are prevalent in the Everglades. Depending on the boat, airboats are made out of aluminum or fiberglass due to how light-weight these materials are.
- Airboats are more environmentally friendly than standard hulled boats. Florida’s Everglades are rather delicate, and the majority of the wildlife in the swamp live close to the surface. Everything required for an airboat to be operational is mounted high on the boat, which raises the boat’s center of gravity and ensures that the boat skims over the surface of the water. Standard boats require the propeller to be underneath the water, which most push its way through the water.
- For those that keep the sake of the environment in mind, airboats are entirely safe for wildlife and plant life that lives below the surface. None of the moving parts of an airboat are located below the waterline, so animals and plants that live underwater are in no danger. Fort Lauderdale Airboat tours take extra care to ensure that animals are not harmed, and instead, appreciated from a distance during our Everglades airboat tours.
- Airboats can move without water and can glide through excess water, which is another benefit of a flat-bottom boat. Fort Lauderdale Airboat Tours are able to be embarked on all year round!
Experience The Beauty Of The Everglades With Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale
Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale is your number one choice for private airboat tours of the Everglades. Our captains are friendly, experienced, and love showing the beauty of the State of Florida to out-of-town guests, and residents alike. Want to book a tour? Give us a call at (954) 338-4890 or contact us online at any time. Florida’s Everglades are waiting for you!
18 Apr / 2019
Residing in South Florida’s backyard, the Florida Everglades is a truly one of a kind location. While there are other wetlands around the world, none compare to the one sitting on the southern tip of Florida. People from as close at Fort Lauderdale to as far as Australia have made the journey to experience the Everglades up close and personal on an Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale tour, however, there are some people who haven’t been able to make the journey. Whether you’re planning a trip soon or in the future, there’s plenty of things you can learn about the Everglades before you make the journey.
Interesting Facts About The Everglades
The Everglades Is Big, Very Big
It’s one thing to say “the Everglades is large”, and another to put it into perspective. Today, the Everglades is over 1,500,000 acres in size. This is equivalent to roughly 2,345 miles. To visualize the absolutely gargantuan size of the Everglades, imagine over 41,200 football fields side by side! Before people began moving into South Florida and urbanizing it, the Everglades was over double its current size. The Florida Everglades is the third largest national park in the continental United States coming in behind Yellowstone and Death Valley.
The Only Place In The World Where You Can Find Alligators And Crocodiles Living In Harmony
Both apex predators, alligators and crocodiles are typically incapable of living with one another. Both tend to dominate the ecosystem they live in, and make it impossible for both species to thrive with one another. However, this isn’t the case with the Everglades. In fact, the Florida Everglades is the only place on the planet where both alligators and crocodiles coexist. It’s not entirely unheard of that the American alligator and the American crocodile will fight over a food source, they largely tend to keep to themselves. When you’re on an Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale airboat tour, you have a chance to spot both!
It’s Call The “River Of Grass” For A Reason
While it may not seem like it, the Florida Everglades is a very large river, carrying water from Lake Okeechobee towards the Gulf Of Mexico. From the outside looking in you would have no idea if it wasn’t a swamp, however, the Everglades is constantly moving water towards the Gulf at an incredibly slow rate. This river is so large, it’s considered the biggest source of water for Floridians. 1 in every 3 Floridians will receive their water from the Everglades during their residency.
The Everglades is full of interesting facts, history, and adventure just waiting to be explored. If you’re interested in learning more and seeing it for yourself, consider taking an airboat tour with Airboat Rides Fort Lauderdale. For decades, we’ve proudly shared our extensive knowledge of the area with guests from near and far. Call us today at +1 (954) 338-4890.