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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...

Winter Fishing in Florida

Quick Tip to Florida Fishing in the Winter

Fishing in the colder months in Florida can be a little hard.  Not that we really get a "cold" winter, but fish do tend to change their normal behavior when the weather changes.                                                                                                                                                                                         Fish are cold blooded so therefor the water temperature regulated the fish body temperature.    When a cold front is coming down, fish become more active and feed more, but when that front passes over, well, the bite is off.   The cold front will cause the fish to become slow and sluggish, in other words, they do not chase after bait.  If fishing after a cold front, you have to make sure the bait is right in front of them and let it sit.  If the opportunity is there, the fish will bite.  Their body doesn't digest food quickly, so no need to eat as often.                                 If your out on the lake and recently had a cold front, look for the deeper areas.  Fish will go deeper to find warmer water.  ...

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...

Rods, reels, line and baits

When your heading out the door in the morning, you want to make sure you are prepared for what you are going fishing for. For instance,  your not going to take a big 8 foot rod with 100 pound test line to go out bream or speck fishing, that's overkill and you would never feel the fish bite the bait.   So, we're going to talk about some of the basic tackle you will need to head out for a fun day of fishing. Rods, there are so many different types of rods.  We are talking about casting, spinning, fly, trolling, telescopic...

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....

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....

Makinson Island

Makinson Island

If you have some time, you need to take a trip out to Makinson Island.   I had the pleasure of spending some time out there recently and was just amazed at the surroundings.   The huge oak trees, picnic area, nice restrooms, walking trails, gazebo and even campsites.   This 132 acre island is located in Lake Tohopekaliga, pronounced "toe-hoe-pea-kah-lie-gah", and you have to find your own way out there, but it's worth the trip. Some of the local history of the island includes Emathla, a 19th-century Seminole chief who made it his home, and his son Coacoochee, one of the great chiefs in Florida history and born on the island in 1807.   Its location at the mouth of Shingle Creek, which flows south from Orlando.  Dense growth protects the shoreline and there is a small dock and beach to put your boat. Makinson Island was purchased by the state back in 1999 but wasn't turned over to Osceola County until 2001, where is was opened up to the public.   At one time a lot of exotic animals were brought to the island, most were removed but there are still a few longhorn sheep, goats, hogs and wild deer left.  There is also plenty of  birds of all typed that have make this island home. The family that the island was named after also owns a hardware store in downtown Kissimmee called Makinson Hardware, be sure to stop in and say hello to Elaine and John Makinson.    ...