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Alligators and Crocodiles Around The World

We deal with alligators here in Florida and the rest of the United States, but there are alligators and crocodiles around the world all different sizes.   Here we are going to dig deep into the largest from around the globe.                                                                                                                          Our first stop is in Louisiana where they caught a 19 ft 2 in, 2000 pound alligator, but that alligator is hard to prove as fact since this was back in 1890.  So as it sits right now, the largest alligator caught in the United States is the Stokes Alligator (named after the family that captured it) on record at 15 ft 9 in!!   The alligator is out on display at Mann Wildlife Learning Museum in Alabama.                                                  In Florida, per Florida Wildlife Commission, the largest alligator caught is 14 ft 3 1/2 in long at 654 lbs.  But, in 2016 in Palmetto, Fl there was a 15 ft alligator on one of the local golf courses. Now for the top 5 largest crocodiles in the world...

What to expect on an Airboat tour..FAQ

I've been asked a lot of questions about our tours and I think we can help many people with this question and answer blog.  If I forget to cover any questions you have, feel free to comment and I will get right back to you. One of the most common questions is, "do we need bug spray?"  Short answer, no.  We haven't had any issues with bugs and because we are off the water before dark, no mosquitoes.  So, you are welcome to spray on the bug spray, but its really not needed. Sunscreen, YES!  Most of our airboats are not covered right now, it's so pretty out and we would like our guests to see everything that is in the water and in the air.  Since it seems like Central Florida sits 3000 miles closer to the sun than the rest of the world, sunscreen is your best friend here!  Us Floridians, when we shower in the mornings, it's not water coming out, its sunscreen! Can you eat on the boats?  Well, as long as you want to share everything your "trying" to eat with the people sitting behind you and the captain, it's not a good idea.  Our boats can get up to 35 mph on the water. Can we take an umbrella on the boat so we can be covered?  Unfortunately, the only thing taking an umbrella will do is turn inside out.  Imagine driving in a car, roll down the window and hold the open umbrella out.  Yep, that's exactly how it is on an airboat. Rain gear?  We offer rain gear in our office ant check in, or you can bring your own.  We do go out in the light rain, but no lightning.  When it rains, we get to see some wildlife become very active.  The fresh water hitting...

Cotton Mouth……aka….. The Water Moccasin

The Water moccasin is a very venomous snake, in other words, they are poisonous.   Sadly, harmless snakes are often killed out of fear for the safety of family and pets.  But, all snakes bite, so even if they are not venomous it can still hurt.    So, how can you tell if its a Moccasin?  Lets look at some of their features. Water Moccasins have bodies that are very thick and heavy for the length and short thick tails.  Their heads are blocky with a thinner neck.  Adults are very dark, almost black.   A young water moccasin appears brightly colored with red-brown bands that extend across its back and down its sides without crossing the belly, set against a brown body color.   If you look at the snake's head when it's flat on the ground or from above it, you can't see its eyes.  Large, plate like scales cover the top of the head, and pits (holes)  right between the nostril and the eye helps scene heat from other animals for food. Water moccasins are present as three species.  Living across Florida, the Florida Moccasin has a native range that includes the upper Florida Keys and parts of extreme southeastern Georgia.  The eastern moccasin ranges from the Carolinas and Georgia to southeastern Virginia.  The western moccasin has the largest range in that it lives in eastern Texas, Oklahoma, eastern Cherokee County in Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Tennessee and even the extreme southern regions of Indiana and Illinois, as well as Mississippi, western Kentucky and Alabama. So, no matter where you are at, always be aware of what is around you.  ...

Sunset Tours

Sunset Airboat Tours

There is something to say about watching the sun rise or set over water.  People flock to the beaches just to see the sun break the horizon or watch as the last rays of light sets down into darkness.  Well, imagine sitting on an airboat with friends or loved ones, listening to the birds chirp, feeling the light cool breeze of the wind, while watching the sun set down behind the trees.  This is our sunset tour!   You have a small airboat (6-8 ppl)  gliding across the water and swampy areas of the lake, seeing alligators, birds, snakes, otters and so much more, just to finish off with the most amazing view of the sunset. We offer a 1 hr, 90 min and 2 hr sunset tour only during November - April, so come out and see for yourself what a breathtaking view this truly is....

Did you know…strange animal facts

Lets dive into something a little bit different.   I'm always looking for something to learn about that's out of the ordinary, and I think I found some interesting information about the wonderful world of wildlife. **  The bumps on alligators are called Scutes, they are hard bone that protect them.  They are covered with them,  from head to tail.                  **  Elephants are the only animal that can't jump, the bones in elephant legs are all pointed downwards, which means they don’t have the “spring” required to push off the ground.                                                                                                                                                                                        **  A sloth takes 2 weeks to digest their food.                                                                                                                                                                                **  Octopuses have 3 hearts, Two of the hearts work exclusively to move blood to the animal’s...

Sandhill Cranes and babies

Sandhill Cranes

Some people do not know what a Sandhill Crane is.  Well, they are very large, tall birds with a long neck, long legs, and very broad wings.  They weigh between 6-14 pounds and stand between 3-5 feet tall.   Their bodies are grey, the forehead and top of the heads are covered with reddish skin and face, chin, upper throat, and nape are white to pale gray, and their legs and toes are black.  The male and female look a lot alike, except males are bigger. They mate for life, but if one show die, they do find another mate.  They female chooses their partners based on dancing displays. The male birds stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air.   They then build their nests from the dominant vegetation, such as cattails, bulrushes, or grasse, using dried plant materials early in the season and adding green materials later on.  The female lays 1-3 eggs, it takes around 30 day to hatch, but sadly, most of the time only 1 baby makes it to fledging.  I personally think they look like baby chickens with long legs when the are born.  They eat a variety of animals, including frogs, small animals, insects and snakes, along with grains. Adults will often feed the little ones earthworms and grubs.   Mated pairs and their babies stay together all through the winter, until the 9 to 10 month old babies finally separate from their parents the following spring.  They spend their winter in Florida, Texas, Utah, Mexico and California.  The Florida sandhill crane is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and can not be hunted. So, the next time your in Florida, look for these amazing birds....

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Alligator Hatchlings

There is so much information about alligators, but not much about baby alligators, also known as Hatchlings. Breeding season for alligators is May and June.  They start building nest in late June and July.  The nest can be 7 to 10 wide and 2 to 3 ft tall.  They lay between 35-50 eggs, some upto 90, and cover them up.   There is a 65 day incubation time frame until the little guys start to hatch out with a little eye tooth at the tip of their mouth.  It later falls off.  They will also start "chirping" for moms help to get out, where she will dip up the dirt on top of them and sometimes she will pick them up in her mouth to get them into the water. The depth and temperature determine the sex of the hatchlings.   Female gators is below 82.4 degrees and male gators are 91.4 degrees or above.    If the eggs are in the middle, 87.8 degrees or so, they will be a mix of both male and female.   Believe it or not, alligator eggs are soft, not hard like chicken eggs. Hatchling are tiny when born, only between 6 and 7 inches long, so they stay very close to mom.  A female alligator will only mate once a year but can have up to 3 years worth of babies (called a "pod") around her, but only concern is for her new offspring.   She is only there for protection though, she doesn't provide their food. When the Hatchlings get to about 4 years old, they venture out on their own.  Alligators reproduce or multiply when they mature.  This takes place when they are about 7 to 12 years old....