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6 Interesting Facts About Alligators

Floridians like to think they know everything about alligators, but scientists continue to find out more about the extensive history of these creatures every day. So, let’s take a look at six interesting facts that’ll put your alligator knowledge to the test.

They Aren’t Carnivores

Next time you decide to take an alligator tour, you might see one of these creatures munching on anything from fish to fruit. Because, despite how movies and other media depict alligators as flesh-crazed fiends, alligators actually appreciate a little variety in their diet. Beyond a multitude of meats, alligators enjoy a range of other wild harvests like watermelon and wild grapes.

They Have a Big Appetite

It’s no secret that alligators have an appetite; however, most people don’t exactly know how they manage to eat as much as they do. Turns out, these creatures have the ability to relocate blood from their lungs to their stomach, which elevates the production of stomach acid. This helps to increase the rate of gastric breakdown, allowing them to digest food faster and ingest meals in larger amounts.

They Are Social Creatures

They might not be as in touch with their emotions as humans are, but alligators still have strong communication skills. Whether they need to send a message through air or water, alligators can easily communicate through non-verbal and verbal signals. And, these signals often vary depending on where an alligator is in the courting, mating, or nesting cycle.

They Easily Fight Infection

You often find alligators wading in murky swamps or trudging through muddy marshes, but you don’t often find them bothered by the germs and bacteria around them. That’s because alligators secrete a slightly antiviral serum that naturally fights infection in their daily lives, which means that alligators can easily survive some of the harshest wounds of the waters. 

They Eat Other Alligators

These prehistoric predators may come across as a threat to humans, but they’re usually more of a threat to other alligators. In fact, a 2011 Florida study found that adult alligators are likely to feast on newborn or juvenile ones, which scientists believe is responsible for removing roughly 7% of young alligators each year.

They Regulate the Environment

Alligators play a huge role in controlling their own population by eating young alligators, but they also help regulate the environment by feasting on animals that would otherwise overpopulate, like certain species of fish, insects, and crustaceans. And, the holes these gators dig for hibernation provides another source of water for local aquatic animals.

Test Your Knowledge on an Alligator Tour

Whether you want to fact check our alligator information or just want to get a look at one of Florida’s favorite mascots, schedule an airboat ride with Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Our adventurous alligator tours take you through the waters of Lake Kissimmee to see alligators in their natural habitat—with some insightful information from our expert airboat captains, of course.

Animals Native to Florida Wetlands

Florida’s wetlands provide the ideal habitat for hundreds of different species of birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. While humans keep developing formerly wild environments in Florida, the wetlands in the south of the state have become a last refuge for many endangered animals.

These rivers, swamps, and mangroves draw so many different kinds of animals because they offer something for every class of animal: shallows for fish spawning, ideal nesting conditions for birds, and a robust food chain to support large predators.

Here are some of the more exotic animals you might spy on a trip to Florida’s wetlands.

American Alligator

Florida’s most recognizable animal, the alligator can grow up to 15 ft in length and weigh around 1,000 lbs. They are more tolerant to cold weather than other crocodilian reptiles, so you can find them throughout the state of Florida year-round.

You will most likely spot them sun-bathing on the shore of a lake or river, but you can also find them swimming in the water if you have a sharp eye. 

American Crocodile

The American crocodile is the largest predator in the state of Florida, with the males measuring a staggering 20 ft and 2,000 lbs. when full-grown.

Though you might not be able to tell the difference between the American crocodile and alligator, they are easy to tell apart once you know what to look for. The crocodile has a much narrower and pointier snout, and only lives in the southern tip of the state near saltwater or brackish environments. 

Florida Manatee

It is hard to mistake the manatee for any other creature because there’s just nothing else like it in fresh water. The Florida manatee is a large, grey, round animal with a paddle-shaped tail and flippers, and it slowly cruises around springs, rivers, and mangroves chewing aquatic plants. They are one of the few species of mammals that spends their whole life swimming in water.

Though they can hold their breath for an impressive 20 minutes, they regularly come up to breathe and sometimes swim at the surface of the water, where you can best spot them.

Wood Stork

Florida’s wetlands are some of the best bird-watching sites in the world, as exotic birds from the north along with native Florida birds share the same habitat during the winter. One of the most interesting birds to watch is the wood stork, the only species of stork that breeds in North America.

Watch this impressive white-feathered bird with a black head wade in the shallows looking for prey as it lowers its bill into the water, waiting for fish to bump into it. Once it feels the prey, it swiftly snaps its bill shut in the blink of an eye.

Lake Kissimmee Wildlife Airboat Tour

The Everglades National Park isn’t the only place where you can find these exotic animals and others; you can watch alligators, wood storks, bobcats, bald eagles, and more exciting native wildlife right in Central Florida at Lake Kissimmee.

Come to Grape Hammock Fish Camp for the best airboat tour on Lake Kissimmee, and our guides can take you to the best wildlife watching spots in the area.

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