<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1238430469538210&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

21 Everglades Animals to See on an Airboat Ride

As a vast and vibrant ecosystem, the Everglades is home to a stunning array of wildlife. An airboat ride through this natural wonder is a unique opportunity to see some of the most fascinating creatures up close. From stealthy alligators to colorful birds, here are 21 Florida animals you might encounter on your Everglades airboat adventure at Wild Florida.


Everglades Mammals


Named after their short tail, bobcats are medium-sized cats that are exceptional predators. Hunting primarily at night, bobcats take down animals ranging in size from mice to deer! Along with its short tail, you can spot a bobcat based on its white underside with dark bands on top and black ears. If you miss seeing one on your airboat ride, you can catch our resident bobcat, Daphne, up close when you stroll through our Gator Park!


Fun Fact: Bobcats are highly adaptable and thrive in various environments, from forests to swamps.


Commonly found throughout Florida, raccoons are about the size of a large house cat. They are distinguished by their bushy tails marked with black rings and a black face "mask." They are one of Florida's most common urban animals, often seen around campsites, parks, and neighborhoods raiding garbage cans.

raccoonFun Fact: Raccoons are incredibly dexterous and can open locks, making them expert scavengers.

Red fox

Red foxes average about 7 to 11 pounds and grow up to 35 inches in length. These mid-sized mammals prefer living on the edges of forests, meadows, and open pastures. So, if you're lucky, you might be able to spot one on the edge of the woods that surround Lake Cypress.

foxFun Fact: Red foxes have a musky odor from scent glands at their tail base, almost as strong as skunks, used for marking territory and communication.

White-tailed deer

White-tailed deer live in almost every habitat type in Florida but tend to stay in dense forests or on the edge of forests. Mainly grazers, white-tailed deer often feed on leaves, twigs, grass, herbs, and common Everglades plants.


Fun Fact: White-tailed deer can leap as high as 10 feet and as far as 30 feet in a single bound.

Wild pig

Because colonial traders and immigrants introduced pigs to Florida in 1539, Florida is one of the earliest states to have a feral pig population. As omnivores, wild pigs are known to feed on nuts, mushrooms, fruits, snakes, frogs, eggs, and insects. You can often tell when a wild pig has been looking for food when you see a small patch of land recently rooted or plowed. 

Fun Fact: Wild pigs are highly intelligent animals with a strong sense of smell, often using it to find food buried underground.


Everglades Reptiles

American Crocodile

While it may be tricky to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, each of these reptiles has key characteristics. While alligators' noses are more broad and rounded, the American crocodile's nose tends to be longer and more pointed. Another feature that might help you differentiate these two is that the American crocodile often basks in the sun with its mouth open, a behavior rarely seen in American alligators.fl-sb-crocodile-back-in-hollywood-20180305

Fun Fact: Crocodiles share a common ancestor with dinosaurs, making them a living relic of the past. 

American Alligator

Found only in the southeastern portion of the United States, American alligators mostly stay within the Florida marshes and coastal Louisiana. Despite their average length of up to 13 feet, these massive creatures can be elusive, hiding among the marshes or underwater. Knowing when alligators are most active and reading a few wildlife spotting tips can help you snag a picture of these beasts! Or you can always visit our Gator Park for an animal encounter with some of our beautiful resident gators. 

alligator_nest-678560-editedFun Fact: American alligators have a powerful bite, with a force of nearly 3,000 pounds per square inch, strong enough to crack a turtle's shell.

Florida softshell turtle

Reaching a maximum length of 20 inches, the Florida softshell turtle has a long neck, narrow head, and slender snorkel-like nose with flipper-looking feet. You can mainly spot them floating on the surface of lakes and ponds, often covered with algae and other aquatic vegetation. 

Fun Fact: Florida softshell turtles can breathe through their skin and throat lining, allowing them to stay submerged for extended periods.

Florida cooter

Found in rivers and large streams, the Florida cooter is one of the most frequently seen turtles in the state's waterways. Growing up to 15 inches, you can identify Florida cooters based on their dark olive-brown shell with bright yellow markings on each plate.

Florida_cooterFun Fact: Female Florida cooters create fake nests around their real ones to trick predators.


everglades birds

bald eagle

Believe it or not, you don't have to travel to a national park to see our nation's official bird. Florida has the second largest population of bald eagles next to Alaska. Bald eagles typically call "home" wherever they can catch the most fish. And with Florida containing more than 30,000 lakes that cover over three million acres of land, it's safe to say they have no trouble finding a home with ample food nearby.

Bald EaglesFun Fact: Bald eagles can see four to seven times better than humans, allowing them to spot prey from great distances.

great blue heron

As one of Florida's most common large birds, great blue herons have become comfortable around people and are sometimes spotted begging for human food. Find these Everglades birds by looking for their blue-gray color, large yellow bill, and black stripes above their eyes.

Fun Fact: The great blue heron can strike at prey with incredible speed, catching fish and other small animals with their dagger-like bills.

wild turkey

You might be familiar with the Thanksgiving turkey, but wild turkeys are fascinating birds as well. Wild turkeys have excellent eyesight, three times better than humans, which helps them detect and avoid predators. You can identify these large birds by their red-colored face and neck, and often stay within wooded areas. 

Turkey2-300x156Fun Fact: Wild turkeys can run up to 20 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour for short distances.

great egret

Great egrets are the largest white heron in Florida, measuring up to three feet tall with an up to five-foot wingspan when fully grown. You can often find this wading bird in shallow wetlands, salt marshes, or on the edges of a lake, strolling through the shallows and picking off fish and frogs.

Great EgretFun Fact: During mating season, a patch on a great egret’s face will turn bright green to attract potential partners. 

roseate spoonbill

Distinguished by their rose-pink feathers and spoon-shaped bill, the roseate spoonbill is one of Florida's most colorful Everglades birds. You will sometimes find them in shallow waters, sweeping their broad bill in a side-to-side motion, searching for invertebrates, small fish, mollusks, and other small prey. 

Roseatte SpoonbillFun Fact: The pink coloration of roseate spoonbills comes from the carotenoid pigments in their diet, just like flamingos!


Anhingas are large, dark water birds with a long, slender neck and a long, sharp, serrated bill. They prefer coastal areas, marshes, and mangrove swamps where they can hunt slow-moving fish and other aquatic prey underwater.

Fun Fact: Anhingas often swim with only their necks above water, earning them the nickname "snakebird" due to their snake-like appearance.


everglades amphibians

southern toad

Because of their warty, dry-looking skin, the southern toad can live in relatively dry habitats. Many Floridians have probably seen them often, as they are commonly found in yards, gardens, and near porches and street lights. You can distinguish this toad from others by two large ridges between the eyes that end as knobs behind the eyes.

soutern_toadFun Fact: Southern toads can produce a toxin from their parotoid glands that deters many predators. 

greenhouse frog

Native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands, greenhouse frogs have been introduced to Florida and can be found in fallen leave piles. They are identified by their olive-brown color, with two broad stripes running down their back, paler undersides, and red eyes. 

Fun Fact: Think you hear a cricket or bird? That just might be a male greenhouse frog making its soft chirping sound at night.

oak toad

Oak toads have a gray complexion with yellowish stripes down the center of the back and three to four pairs of light-edged dark spots. Found primarily in sand pine scrub and dry hammocks, you might hear this Everglades amphibian’s soft "Cheep, cheep, cheep" when stopped near the edge of Lake Cypress.

Fun Fact: Oak toads are the smallest toads in North America, measuring just about an inch in length.

green tree frog

Similar to a chameleon, green tree frogs can change color depending on mood or environment. Green tree frogs are normally bright green, but when stressed or cold, they can turn dark olive-brown or charcoal colored. While it may be a bit difficult to see them, you will definitely hear their scratchy croak, often during rainstorms. 

green_treefrogFun Fact: Green tree frogs can croak, or ‘honk,’ 75 times per minute.

peninsula newt

While these are sometimes spotted around the Florida Everglades, the peninsula newt is more commonly found in the Florida Peninsula, hence the name! They are usually dark olive, brown, or black and measure about four inches.

Fun Fact: Peninsula Newts have toxic skin that helps deter predators, making them less appealing to potential threats.

Everglades dwarf siren

As the name suggests, the Everglades dwarf siren is a salamander only found in the Florida Everglades. These slippery creatures live in freshwater marshes and look like small eels. They have two front feet but lack hind legs, reaching up to only six inches in length.

evergladesdwarfsirenFun Fact: During droughts, these Everglades amphibians coat themselves with mucus and bury themselves in mud until it rains again.


Exploring the Everglades by airboat is a thrilling experience, as you witness these incredible animals in their natural habitat. Each trip promises new discoveries and unforgettable encounters with the wild beauty of this unique ecosystem. Book your next airboat adventure at Wild Florida and get free admission to our Gator Park, where you can see even more Everglades animals up close and personal.


Plan your adventure now at wild florida

subscribe to Wild Florida blog