As the official state reptile of Florida, the American alligator, more formally known as Alligator Mississippinsis, is one of our favorite animals. A species believed to be more than 150 million years old, alligators are iconic in the Sunshine State, with over 1.5 million in existence. In the Everglades alone, there are more than 200,000 alligators roaming free, left to enjoy a peaceful, quiet life in the marshy swamps known as the River of Grass.
What is it about these reptiles that interest us so much, and why do people from all over the world visit South Florida in hopes of getting a glimpse of alligators in their natural habitat? Let’s find out! We’ve put together some fun facts about gators that will help you get to know this incredible animal. Whether you’re a Florida native in need of a refresher, or you’re simply looking for a great read, you’re sure to enjoy learning about our most popular resident – the amazing American alligator. Ready to get started?
American Alligator Physical Description
Most people know what an alligator looks like, and many can even draw a pretty good one on paper. But did you know that alligators are the largest reptiles in North America? It’s true. The average size for an adult male is over 11 feet! It’s easy to see why a reptile over 10 feet long gives some people pause. However, females are slightly smaller, coming in at an average of just 8 feet. But length is only the beginning, because alligators in Florida can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds!
The scaly appearance that creates the alligator’s characteristic “armored shell” actually consists of bony plates called “scutes” – the perfect protection against would be predators. Although gators tend to be long and lean, they have pretty short legs with five digits on the front feet and four on the back. But it’s the tail that is perhaps one of the most defining features of an alligator, accounting for almost half of the gators length! Made of pure muscle, an alligator tail not only protects against predators, but also, doubles as a pretty good rudder for steering and propelling its heavy body through the water.
The snout is long and rounded with eyes positioned on top of the head, making it easy for gators to see with only the head out of water. However, when they swim underwater, the nostrils close and a protective layer forms over the eyes. Gators can stay submerged for up to an hour! The typical alligator has 80 teeth in their mouth at one time, and most will go through 2,000-3,000 teeth in a lifetime!
Alligator Habitat – Everglades Restoration
Alligators are mostly found in freshwater habitats like rivers, marshes, swamps and lakes, which is why the Everglades is the perfect locale for gator watching. They feed on small wildlife that inhabit these areas, like turtles, fish, snakes and small mammals. While modern alligators are doing quite well in the marshy waters of South Florida and southern portions of the United Sates, originally they were classified as endangered, and in need of protection.
Luckily, a combination of state and federal protections as well as habitat preservation efforts helped save alligators from extinction. And today, they are happier and more robust than ever. Nevertheless, Everglades restoration is an important topic and politicians, activists and nature enthusiasts raise awareness and spread the word about the importance of maintaining Florida’s most exciting natural attraction.
How to Tell the Difference Between an Alligator and a Crocodile
To most people, an alligator and a crocodile look pretty similar. But to those of us who know them well, they couldn’t be more different. How do we tell them apart? Generally, the first tell tale sign that you’re looking at an alligator and not a crocodile is the teeth. Unlike a crocodile, an alligator’s teeth are not visible when the jaws are shut. Even from a distance, alligators are easy to spot as they have a wide snout, compared to the lean snout of the crocodile. In most cases, crocodiles frequent the saltwater marshes, while alligators prefer fresh water. Tours through the Everglades typically stay in the fresh water areas, making it more likely you’ll see alligators rather than crocodiles.
The Effort to Protect the American Alligator
The work of the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team at Everglades Holiday Park is inspirational to many, even to those who have never visited the park. The effort began many years ago as gators were mistakenly wandering into places they shouldn’t be, like backyards, swimming pools, shallow neighborhood lakes and ponds, even golf courses! The Gate Boys crew, well aware that alligators were hunted for their skins, made it their mission to help save as many well deserving reptiles as they could.
For many years, the Gator Boys were called to remove “nuisance” gators from residential areas in Florida, bringing them to a safe haven at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale. Today, visitors to the park delight in meeting members of the Gator Boys crew (and the gators) during a live alligator presentation in the world famous “Gator Pit”. Families, adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts visit the park each day for the chance to journey through the Everglades on an exciting airboat tour. The park is happy to welcome alligators and fully committed to helping children and folks of all ages learn about the amazing alligator and other incredible Everglades wildlife each and every day.
For more information on how you can book an airboat tour through the Everglades and see the Gator Boys perform live, please visit www.evergladesholidaypark.com today!This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .
One of the more exciting things to do in the Sunshine State is to take in a live alligator show in the Everglades. Alligators are plentiful in Florida – there are over 200,000 in the ‘glades alone! Families, nature enthusiasts, even seniors enjoy meeting and greeting with alligators up close – as long as they’re restrained or it’s from the safety of an airboat. If you haven’t explored the Florida Everglades and you’re wondering what you could be missing, you’re not alone.
Folks ask us all the time what they’ll learn from watching an alligator show and we thought it was time to share a few bits of knowledge on what makes a gator show at Everglades Holiday Park so special. Here are just a few of the reasons why guests can’t get enough of Paul and the Gator Boys team in the world famous “Gator Pit” at Everglades Holiday Park.
Factual Tidbits About the American Alligator
Did you know that an American alligator generates as much as 3,700 pounds per square inch just by snapping its jaws? That’s a powerful bite, and more force than a lion or a tiger! How about the fact that alligators grow new teeth as they need them or that the temperature of a gator nest determines the sex of the babies? Experience a live alligator show at Everglades Holiday Park and you’re sure to hear some of the most interesting alligator facts around. Paul and the gang are serious about gators, and they love sharing stories with the crowd about life with one of the most amazing reptiles on Earth. Gator shows at the park are complementary with the price of an airboat tour – twenty to thirty minutes of exciting tricks, daring stunts and interesting facts.
Family Friendly Entertainment
Sometimes people wonder if a live alligator show in the Everglades is an appropriate activity for the kids. Is it family friendly? Of course! At Everglades Holiday Park, we take pride in delivering the most entertaining and educational experience for all ages. Little ones in particular delight in seeing reptiles up close and parents can relax knowing that each and every Gator Boy and team member at the park are highly trained professionals. We love what we do and it shows! Families come back again and again to share the experience with eager, enthusiastic children. Plus, moms and dads appreciate knowing that the kids are learning something meaningful about not only the alligator, but also, the Everglades ecosystem and the efforts to protect this incredible natural resource.
Meet the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue Team
One of the most talked about parts of a gator show at Everglades Holiday Park has to do with who is performing. Everglades Holiday Park is the only place in South Florida where you can see the Gator Boys in person and meet the team after the show. As the home to the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, the park is proud to provide a safe haven for the hundreds of well deserving alligators the crew rescued on the show. The “Gator Pit” is where the action happens – the only place fans want to be when Paul or Chris perform the infamous “face-off” trick for an excited crowd of onlookers.
The show is exciting, but it has something that no other live alligator presentation has been able to replicate – pure fun with the one and only Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team. While the reality show is no longer airing on Animal Planet, fans are always welcome to visit the park for the chance to pose for a picture with the team, hold a few live animals with Ashley and of course, snap pictures during the most exciting live gator show in the Everglades.
The Opportunity to Explore the Pristine Florida Everglades By Airboat
Gator shows at Everglades Holiday Park are included with the price of a boat tour through the wetlands. How do visitors to the Everglades enjoy the wetlands? By airboat of course! Airboat tours and rides are a crowd pleaser for sure, and one of the best ways to navigate the shallow waters that make up this unique ecosystem. Airboats are unlike traditional boats in many ways, and an exhilarating ride across the “River of Grass” is a must do for adventurous families and outdoor types. At Everglades Holiday Park, airboats are state-of-the-art vessels designed to zip across the water with ease. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and one the whole family will want to do again and again.
Airboat tours at Everglades Holiday Park are the longest in the area – a full 60 minutes of fun! And with covered and uncovered vessels, it’s never been easier to see the sights and protect yourself from the hot Florida sun. Skilled captains navigate each boat, ensuring every tour is jam packed with the most descriptive details on the animals and their surroundings. Sit back and relax as your captain points out amazing wading birds like the Blue Heron or Great Egret. Watch in awe as brightly colored birds dart across the landscape and swoop down to capture a fish next to the boat. It’s impressive in person, and exactly why an airboat tour through the Everglades is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Everglades up close and personal.
A Deeper Appreciation For One of Florida’s Most Iconic Residents
Yes, gator shows at Everglades Holiday Park are worth the time. With so many incredible things to see and learn, each show is unique and completely different. If you’re looking for an activity to keep the kids entertained while throwing in a little educational value too, a day trip to Everglades Holiday Park is the solution. Spend some time with the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team, zip through the River of Grass and snap a couple of exciting pictures to impress your friends, all at South Florida’s premier destination for family fun, Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale.
For more information or to book your airboat tour and gator show in the Everglades, please visit www.evergladesholidaypark.comThis entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .