All month in November, we’ve been blogging about some of the amazing wildlife you’ll find on our sightseeing and nature watching tours. We started with the Bottlenose Dolphin, and the American Bald Eagle. Well, if you’re outdoors in Florida, you can’t rule out seeing what we’re going to talk about this week: The American Alligator!
The American Alligator is a large reptile, with thick limbs, a broad head and very powerful tail. The are typically between 8 and 12 feet long, and weigh anywhere between 300 and 800 pounds. In terms of diet, an alligator is a few things: First, it is a carnivore, eating a diet of only meat. Second, it is an ambush predator, meaning that it “sneaks up” on its prey. Lastly, it is an apex predator, meaning it has no natural enemies. Common meal for an alligator include fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals.
Alligators are superb swimmers, and spend most of their lives in the waters of rivers, swamps, and marshes of the Southeastern United States. They can survive in fresh and brackish waters, but they lack the salt-extracting glands that crocodiles have in order to survive in salt water. Southwest Florida is an ideal habitat for alligators, with lots of fresh-water rivers, estuaries and mangrove swamps for them to call home!
Some cool alligator facts for you to think about the next time you see an alligator:
Part of the nature of alligators is their camouflaged bodies and their natural inclination to hide. So, we don’t always see them on our nature watching cruises, but the species is thriving in Southwest Florida, and we’ve certainly seen them before!
If you’re interested in going on one of our cruises, be sure to give us a call at 239.263.4949 or visit us online at CruiseNaplesFlorida.com. Next week, we’ll be talking about another animal that commonly resides in Southwest Florida, [but far more attractive than the alligator] the Snowy Egret!