Crocodile of Florida state. We still know so little about them. The alligator is the symbol of Florida. But also state of Louisiana and the wetlands of the southern United States. Florida can probably be associated primarily with brilliant holiday weather and a very nice place for active recreation, but this state has much, much more to offer to tourists and people interested in the South of the USA. Not only for property investors in Florida.
Summer temperatures here reach 35 degrees Celsius and usually do not exceed this value, while in winter the maximum temperatures reach 25 degrees Celsius, but do not fall below 15 degrees Celsius. This is a great weather to spend most of the year in Florida.
This “friendly” temperature all year around attracts not only tourists, but also future residents who browse real estate sales offers in Florida, mainly due to the sunny weather and the ideal microclimate of this region. After all, the name “Sunshine State” obliges – the sunny state, as Florida is commonly known, is a very beautiful, picturesque and rich in attractions state and a wonderful place on this great continent. And alligators live here, lot of them.
Alligators in Florida
Florida state can interest you with its rich history, historic buildings entered in the national register of places of historic importance, and also, and perhaps most of all, the flora and fauna that surrounds cities and towns of Florida. The main symbols of the state of Florida, both the official ones and those commonly associated with the Sunshine State are commonly well known. Not to mention the Florida beaches so famous in travel folders around the world. Especially Miami Beach and Miami city itself.
Florida’s symbols inherently associated with nature. They are, among others: orange blossom, Florida’s famous orange juice Palmetto palm (Serenoa repens), Caribbean manatee, Florida panther, alligator, Florida turtles, and few others. It’s the latter reptile that is one of the most abundant large and predatory animals on the Florida Peninsula and it’s worth taking a closer look at this interesting animal. The alligator is a reptile though.
The alligator, or the American alligator, is a species of crocodile from the alligator family. The reptiles of this family live not only in Florida, but in most of the southeastern United States of America.
Alligators live mainly in states such as Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and, of course, Florida state. Alligatoridae also inhabit the Cayman Islands, South American continent, up to Mexico itself, and also eastern China.
How alligators lives? They are nocturnal reptiles and are purely freshwater animals. Our alligator lives in rivers, ponds, lakes, as well as wetlands and muds, which is why it feels so great in wet and muddy Florida. Alligators adapt perfectly to the prevailing conditions and can survive even at temperatures just below 0 degrees Celsius, although they are not in danger in Florida, but in the case of weather anomalies it would be possible.
What alligators look like
American alligators are huge animals, males measure between 3,4 meters and 4,4 meters and females between 2,5 and 3 meters. The body weight of an adult individual reaches 300 kilograms. Alligators have a dark olive green back and a light yellow belly. The mouths are short and wide, with the upper jaw overlapping the teeth of the lower jaw.
Alligators can clamp their jaws with a force of over 9,400 Newtons, which is the highest value of any modern animal on the earth. The average dimensions of alligators can be astonishing, and what can we say about the record size of an alligator, which does not fit the size of an adult male – for example, is it 6 meters long? There are even bigger specimens noted in the history.
Also interesting topic: Big Cypress National Preserve
And such specimens of these animals can be easily found while traversing the mangrove wetlands and marshes of Florida. Alligators are also excellent, fast and agile swimmers. Every recently and then on Florida’s TV news we hear how a cyclist, for example, fell into the channel and was attacked by an alligator. Or a lady with a dog on a morning walk was attacked. In this particular case, the dog fell victim to an alligator. She miraculously survived. This is news from Florida TV news. Not some fake news.
How do alligators reproduce?
The female of American alligator lays 20 to 50 small eggs in a fairly hard shell, which she covers in a nest that can be one meter high and about two meters wide. The female stays near the nest to protect her young, and they hatch after about 65 days. The female carefully looks after her unborn offspring and should not be disturbed then.
Young alligators tame very easily. Newborn alligator cubs have a slightly different coloration, they have light yellow transverse stripes on the black skin, which is supposed to provide them with camouflage, besides, you can safely say that they are miniatures of adult specimens of alligators.
Watch out for alligators only in designated places
These great modern reptiles are perceived as wild and very dangerous, and in addition they are fast and very agile, which even more affects the level of anxiety they can arouse in tourists and Florida residents. If you are in Florida, you may often hear messages telling you how to behave in a face-to-face meeting with this fearful and respectable animal.
Contrary to appearances, alligators are not dangerous by themselves, they try to avoid the presence of people, but irritable, put in a situation of a potential threat to them, they can become aggressive and unpredictable – hence probably a simplified and generalized opinion that they are dangerous animals which you have to be careful.
The alligator can be dangerous if it feels that something is threatening its little one or the animal is hungry, then it is actually better to avoid this American reptile. Also, do not be surprised when you meet an alligator simply on the street near reservoirs, it is not a phenomenon, but it is better not to get in his way and notify the appropriate services or police. The alligator is also occasionally found on Florida golf courses.
American crocodiles found in Florida
Florida state is very famous for its nature reserves. First of all, it is necessary to mention the most famous and interesting reserves, the Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress Swamp. The wetlands of the Florida Everglades are the last unmodified land and the mainstay of endemic fauna and flora.
It is here, about 80 kilometers west of great Miami, in over 3,000 square kilometers, where you can meet powerful Florida’s alligators. These are not the only animals in the Everglades, of course, you will also find numerous snakes here, which can be just as dangerous if you disturb them or get too close, over 350 species of birds, 300 species of freshwater and marine fish, 40 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles.
You will also meet wildcats here, otters, lizards, turtles, raccoons and other animals, as well as endangered species of Florida panther and Caribbean manatee that are under strict protection. The Everglades allows tourists to view alligators in their natural habitat. As soon as you find yourself at the Everglades Visitor Center, you can start your journey deep into the Everglades marshes, following strictly marked paths. You can do it alone, in a group, with a guide who will tell you about the reserve and the animals living in it, or without such a guide on your own.
There are special places on the trails – viewing platforms that allow you to observe alligators from such a distance that can be considered safe. But beware, although you can follow the marked trail and only use the above platforms, it may happen that alligators will come out to meet you. Therefore, you will come across numerous warnings, to be especially careful and, as befits such a place, it is strictly forbidden to feed even these least threatening Florida animals.
Available Tours of Florida's largest nature reserves
If you are interested in guided tours on Florida’s Nature Reserves, which often take place on a specially prepared boat, you can ask for this option in the nearest tourist information ar search on the internet. Hiring such a guide with a boat costs about $ 200 and it is an unforgettable adventure for the whole day, taking over the reservation of the Seminole Indian tribe for example.
The symbol of Florida can also be admired from the deck of the boat a little cheaper, even for about $ 50, if you go on a group cruise on a propeller boat. Each tourist on such a cruise will receive special headphones, in which he will hear what the captain is saying when he is showing him around the swamps and swamps of the Everglades, and at the same time they will protect you from the roar of the noisy engine.
At the initial stage of the tour, the boat may not impress with its speed, the slowly accelerating propeller makes the speed of the boat very slow, but it must be admitted that you can get a shock when the captain in the open water decides to add gas and the boat will shoot like an American slingshot.
When visiting the Everglades you will come across not only alligators, but let’s face it, they are the icing on the cake here – the symbol of Florida can be everywhere, in the bushes, behind the branch of a floating tree or just looking like a branch, it will suddenly appear in front of your boat. So watch out carefully and with attention.
Look with attention around you and maybe you will spot an alligator in front of the captain, who will surely inform you about this fact and stop the boat so that you can take a closer look, making a real photo session of the alligator. Today you don’t need an expensive camera anymore, you just need a solid smartphone with a good camera and the best photos of alligators in Florida will be yours. Then post it on your social media account to share it with friends.
It must be admitted that international and local tourists are very interested in small alligators, which, as you already know, are miniatures of these adults animals. It is not advisable, to put it simply forbidden, but the captain can get a little alligator out of the water for you.
He will probably persuade you to stroke it, pick it up, but remember, such activity is not recommended everywhere in relation to alligators, even the small ones.
In search of crocodile to Everglades
The Everglades are worth visiting in winter – summer could be to hot for you. As you already know, the temperatures in winter do not drop below 15 degrees here, so let’s face it, it’s warm, and against the backdrop of summer weather, when it is unbearably stuffy here, combined with the temperature over 30 degrees Celsius and countless biting insects, this is probably the best solution for you as a new resident in Florida.
Anything to repel mosquitoes and other insects probably works, but for a short time and it’s impossible to judge when hundreds of insects, after all, try their luck at biting and nibbling on everything that moves. Therefore, to fully enjoy this trip, choose a cooler season to search for alligators in Florida.
The alligator lives not only in the wild in Florida. It happens that they are bred, mainly because of the valuable leather, which is used to make elegant haberdashery and footwear. The Indians used to eat the flesh of some alligators, and their fat was made into all sorts of lubricants. Right now, you will find numerous restaurants in the south of Florida that specialize in making great alligator steaks.
Alligators also live closer to cities, in zoos or family owned amusement parks, which are also such zoos or on alligator farms such as St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine, or St. Petersburg Alligator Farm in western Florida.
Encounter with an alligator
Remember that Florida’s wildlife is unpredictable and you can meet an alligator not only in the Everglades or other natural environments, but also in less busy but already populated places, for example, stopping at a gas station or in a restaurant along the route. The most important thing is not to provoke, approach or make too dynamic movements with the alligator, fortunately there have been not so many fatal accidents involving the alligator.
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Bites and unhappy limb bites are more common in daredevils trying to touch and snatch scared alligators. The sure thing is that these animals are often more afraid of humans and this is when they can be the most dangerous. Avoiding such situations, you can avoid the unpleasant face-to-face encounter with an angry alligator – a beautiful Florida symbol.