While riding on an airboat through the Everglades, you might swear you had just passed a log floating conspicuously out of place among the sawgrass and swamp lilies. A second look will show you that it was definitely not a log. The American alligator has long been a fixture of the Florida Everglades, and one that you’ll have the opportunity to see up close on private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp.

Gator Facts

Florida Everglades alligator
  • Alligators usually stay in groups called congregations, and these groups can be seen swimming or basking in the sun. They do this to regulate their body temperature, because they can’t do it themselves.
  • Alligators are carnivorous, but they don’t chew their food. They swallow their prey whole, relying on their sharp teeth and strong jaws to seize prey.
  • Those sharp teeth of theirs are actually hollow and often break. But, they can just grow new ones!

Given their size and toughness, you would think it’s a given that alligators are the apex predators of the Everglades, but they’re not. That title now belongs to the invasive Burmese python. However, alligators are a keystone species, playing a critical role in the ecosystem of the Everglades.

Everglades Alligator hole

They make watery burrows called “alligator holes” in the muck and limestone bedrock. They do this to keep cool and attract prey, but these holes retain water collected through the rainy season (May to November), which retain rainwater and act as a refuge and oasis for other wildlife during the dry season (October to April).

Large Everglades Alligator Up Close

Alligators certainly are impressive creatures to behold, and you should always keep your personal safety in mind should you encounter one.

  • Don’t ever feed them, because doing so can make them aggressive and worse, associate people with food.
  • If you do happen to find yourself near an alligator, make sure that you’re at a safe distance (between 20 and 30 feet) from it, and back away slowly if you suddenly find yourself closer than that to one.

While there is plenty of unique wildlife to been seen in South Florida, the most fun and safest way to behold these animals is by taking a private airboat tour. The most priceless souvenirs you can get in Florida are the memories of an airboat ride through the Everglades.