Explore Everglades City and View the Tropical Wildlife from Airboat Rides
By Jungle Erv • June 15, 2017
The Everglades is definitely a must-see recreational spot when you are vacationing in Florida. It’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and home to numerous plant life and wildlife. You’ll find yourself enamored with the spot’s rich and complex history, though its ever-changing landscape won’t be easy to navigate if you’re not familiar with it.
Airboat rides provide the best way to fully explore the mysterious depths of the Everglades. It will safely navigate you around the waters, and you’ll be able to see various plants and wildlife along the way. Are you curious to know what animals you might find in there?
There are two types of pelicans in the Everglades: white and brown. Between the two, brown pelicans are the easiest bird species to spot in airboat rides because they live near mangrove forests, saltwater, and freshwater. They are present all year long, as opposed to white pelicans who only visit the Everglades during the winter.
Brown pelicans dive for their food from a height of up to 60 feet in the air and completely submerge themselves in the water. They are excellent fliers and swimmers but they look funny when resting on dry land, which makes them interesting to watch.
The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America. They were once listed as an endangered species in 1987 but they were removed from this list thanks to state and federal protection, as well as efforts to preserve their natural habitat.
Have you ever wondered how alligators differ from crocodiles? One of the differences between an alligator and a crocodile is the presence of salt-secreting glands. Alligators don’t have one, that’s why they are more commonly encountered in freshwater marshes, as well as rivers and lakes. However, they can withstand a short period of salinity, so it’s not surprising to see them strolling around mangrove swamps or brackish water. Another difference is that gators have a U-shaped snout and darker skin, while crocodiles have a more pointed, V-shaped snout and lighter skin.
Male gators can reach up to 15 feet when they mature, compared to smaller females that average at 10 feet.
You may know the Florida panther by its more widely-known names: puma, cougar, or mountain lion. The Florida panther is actually one of its 32 subspecies. Unfortunately, they were one of the first species declared endangered in 1973. Today, Florida panther is critically endangered, as there are less than 100 Florida panthers remaining. The causes range from habitat loss, poaching, vehicular accidents, pollution, and diseases.
Everglades’ white-tailed deer are commonly slimmer because they don’t need an extra layer of fat to protect them from harsh winter conditions. They are herbivores and have a variety of diets, including leaves, twigs, nuts and corn, grass, and sometimes fungi.
They are nocturnal creatures and are often spotted at dawn or dusk, but they can occasionally be seen during the day. They can run up to 30 miles an hour and jump as high as 10 feet and cover a distance of 30 feet in a single leap. White-tailed deer are abundant in nature, particularly in the Everglades.
Other Brackish Water Creatures
Brackish water is a mix of salt and fresh water that’s often found in estuaries, deltas, or mangrove swamps. Due to its saline nature, not a lot of plants and animals can survive this condition.
Dragon Goby is one example of those who can live in briny water. It’s a bright purple fish found mostly in Florida and can grow up to two feet long. Shrimp, crabs, and mollusks are also the kinds of creatures who might find shelter in briny waters, especially around the mangrove swamps.
Airboat rides enable you to view the Everglades’ Ten Thousand Islands, a chain of islands filled with mangrove forest, and through mangrove tunnels. Contact Jungle Erv’s Airboat Tours to get an extra live gator show and a stroll in a private boardwalk for free.