Still waters run deep. They’re also where you can spot alligators. Gators are nocturnal creatures and do most of their hunting at night, when their eyes turn a vibrant red. When the sun’s out, they’re awake but more low-key. They usually lurk just below the surface, both close to shore and out in the open waters.
Gators typically hold their breath up to 15 minutes while trolling, but they can stay submerged for several hours when needed. If you spot one, be sure to be quiet. Noise will scare off a gator, and chances are it’ll go under and re-emerge far away from the commotion. Our airboat captains are experts at finding gators in Lake Cypress (our backyard here at Wild Florida and the perfect place for an Orlando airboat ride!), but more importantly, they know how and when to cut off the engines and drift toward a gator to get a closer look!
Alligators practically live among us here in Florida. (Sometimes literally!) They often have full run of the lakes, ponds, swamps, and man-made waterways where they live. You’ll likely only see the head of a gator out in the water. It might look like a floating log, or something other than a full-fledged alligator. Keep your binoculars at the ready if you’re on a serious mission! Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled when you’re on or near water in the Sunshine State. You could spot a gator just about anywhere!
Highly territorial, alligators thankfully don’t travel in packs. They wander and hunt alone. But they do gather on dry land in what are called congregations, where they warm themselves in the sun and find (or fight for) mates. With about 1,000 gators in Lake Cypress, its shores often host these intimidating groups of gators. They’ve been around 180 million years, evolving along the way. But alligators are still rather slow and awkward on land. In water, it’s a different story. Their powerful tails propel them at speeds of up to 20 mph.
Gators are less active in the winter, although they often congregate to warm up when it’s cold. Spring and summer—when they’re mating and laying their eggs—is when they're most active and easier to spot. FYI, mama gators are extremely protective and have been known to thrash boats that get too close for comfort. They’re also particularly vocal when protecting their nests. They bellow, moan, and even hiss. Don’t worry though... Our captains know what they’re doing!
You can’t feed or hunt gators during our airboat tours. But you can let us take you on a gator-spotting mission in one of our airboats. We can’t guarantee you’ll see one of these modern-day dinosaurs, but chances are always good out here in the swamp! We don’t call ourselves Wild Florida for nothin'!