If you were to say that the alligators you may see on an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades is a cold-blooded killer, you would be absolutely right – in more ways than one.
The best Everglades airboat tours know where to find that gators. And they know how dangerous they are.
As National Geographic says, “Adult alligators are apex predators critical to the biodiversity of their habitat. They feed mainly on fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals. However, they are opportunists, and a hungry gator will eat just about anything, including carrion, pets and, in rare instances, humans.”
That’s definitely cold-blooded behavior! But alligators are also cold-blooded in the sense that they are ectothermic.
Tourists aren’t the only ones who love to soak up the sun.
“Alligators are ectothermic — they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission explains. “Alligators control their body temperature by basking in the sun, or moving to areas with warmer or cooler air or water temperatures.”
In other words, alligators are cold-blooded animals, whereas the tourists are warm-blooded.
Alligators lie low during the winter months. “They stop feeding when the ambient temperature drops below approximately 70° F (21° C) and they become dormant below 55° F (13° C),” the experts at the FFWCC say. When they are dormant, they mostly hang out in their dens. If the sun is shining and the temperature warms up a bit (which it often does here in South Florida), they’ll come out to soak up a few rays.
But now that the temperatures are warming up, the gators are going to become more active and will be easier to spot “Alligators are most active when temperatures are between 82° to 92° F (28° to 33° C),” the FFWCC says.
If seeing an alligator is one of the goals of your time in South Florida, an airboat charter is an excellent option. Contact us for more information!