Types of Everglades Reptiles You'll see on an Airboat Ride

A lot of cold-blooded creatures love being in the subtropical climate of South Florida, and it’s not just the tourists. More than 50 different species of reptile live in the Florida Everglades. Reptiles are among some of the most well-known animals found here, and come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

On a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, you’re likely to see several of these Everglades reptiles. Here are the different types of them that call the Everglades home.


These shelled reptiles can be found swimming in freshwater marshes and swamps, or basking in the Florida sun near water. The most common turtle species in the Everglades is the striped mud turtle. It can be identified by the three yellow stripes that run down its back and stripes on its face.

The Florida soft-shelled turtle is a more unique species, having a long neck and snorkel-like nose. The only time you’ll spot one on land is when they lay their eggs, as they spend almost all of their time in water.

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Soft-shelled turtle


Being the order of reptiles that alligators and crocodiles belong to, that makes them the most popular of Everglades reptiles by default. Crocodilians are defined as being predatory, semi-aquatic reptiles. As you can imagine, the Florida Everglades is a paradise to them, and they are the kings of it!

While crocodiles prefer the saltwater portions of the Everglades, alligators can be found floating in freshwater marshes or basking in the sunshine. Crocodilians sun themselves to regulate their body temperature.

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Second only to mosquitoes, Everglades snakes are the least-liked creatures here, and perhaps even more misunderstood. All of them are shy and not aggressive unless threatened or disturbed, even the venomous ones.

There are only 4 species of venomous snakes out of the nearly 30 species found in the Everglades. Venomous snakes like the Cottonmouth and non-venomous ones like the red rat snake help manage the Everglades rodent populations. Their shyness and camouflage patterns let them hide in sawgrass marshes and even in the trees of hardwood hammocks.

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Red Rat Snake


We can’t leave out these (mostly) little guys. They may not be intimidating dinosaurs like alligators, but there are nearly 20 lizard species in the Everglades. So they have strength in numbers. Green anoles and their nonnative cousins the brown anole can be spotted in trees by their bright red throat pouches.

Their much larger, invasive cousin, the knight anole, is often found on tree trunks hunting insects and other anoles. Despite being around 18 inches in length, knight anoles can camouflage themselves well. However, they can be spotted by the yellow flash marks under their eyes.

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Green Anole

The biodiversity of the Florida Everglades is one of its most cherished traits. Everglades reptiles big and small reside in this ecosystem, beside the many wading birds and among the different habitats. The Everglades can appear so massive on an airboat ride that it can be easy to overlook the little things. If that happens, then look closer, because those little things may just be great at hiding.

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5 Surprising Facts About Alligators

Alligators may not be colorful like herons, or be cute and small like green tree frogs. But the power, agility, and strong presence they display in the wild fascinate both locals and Everglades visitors alike. Taking an airboat eco tour, you can learn many interesting things about Everglades alligators. For now, here are a few things you might not know about these living dinosaurs.

They Can Jump… and Climb!

In addition to being nimble swimmers, alligators can jump six feet into the sir from a resting position! This leaping ability is mostly for ambushing prey near the water. But they can use it to grab onto tree branches and climb to their prey.

Having that much mobility could mean one of the most dangerous places to be is between an alligator and a meal. Don’t worry, though. They have a natural fear of people, which is fortunate because…

Alligators are Fast Runners

Alligators prefer to stay in or near water, and their strong tails help them swim at a speed of up to 20 to 30  miles per hour (MPH). But if they see a potential meal hanging out near the edge of the water, they can bolt after it on land. As big and heavy as they are, alligators are capable of moving in short bursts up to 15 MPH on land.

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The Sex of an Alligator is Determined by the Temperature of its Nest

Like some reptiles, the temperature of an alligator’s nest determines whether the alligators will be male or female. A temperature below 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit will produce females, and a temperature above 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit will produce males. An even number of both males and females will be produced if the temperature is near 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

They Help Maintain the Everglades Ecosystem

Despite their beastly hunting instincts and solitary nature, Everglades alligators give back to their community, whether they realize it nor not. In fact, that solitary nature helps other Everglades wildlife thrive.

When alligators make their homes, called alligator holes, they clear old vegetation away in the marsh. This makes room, for new growth after they abandon their dwelling. Abandoned alligator holes also serve as an oasis to birds and fish during the Everglades dry season, when water becomes scarce.

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Everglades alligators are not only the most iconic of all the animals here, but the most significant. While they are wild animals and formidable predators, their shyness around humans makes them perfectly safe to view on an Everglades airboat tour.

Just don’t feed them, or even your running shoes might not save you