Category Archive: Airboat Rides Orlando

Learn More About the Burmese Python

Burmese pythons, one of the five largest snakes in the world, are dark brown snakes with patterned blotches on their scales. The enormous snakes originated in Southeast Asia with many calling the Everglades home.

The enormous, constricting snakes are between 12-19 feet long and live close to water and in tropic environments. Burmese pythons can be found in grasslands, marshes, swamps, river valleys and jungles, and are amazing swimmers and climbers with strong grips.

Hidden by their camouflaged colors, these nocturnal snakes wait for their prey without being detected. Burmese pythons feed on mice, rats, birds and rabbits and other small mammals. They use their sharp teeth to seize prey, wrapping its body around, and at the same time, tightening its muscles and killing it.

These snakes breed in the early spring, with the females laying between 12-36 clutches (eggs) in March or April. The female will wrap around the clutches tightly, which raises the temperature. The hatchlings will use their egg tooth to cut their way out of the clutches and remain there until they hunt for the first meal and shed their skin.

Burmese pythons can live beyond 20 years and shouldn’t be a family pet. They’re capable of biting and even killing with its tight muscles. These snakes have an appetite and require custom-built, safe enclosure for their size and strength.

Burmese pythons are a protected species in the State of Florida. Violators that own the snakes can be imprisoned for more than seven years or fined $500,000 if convicted.
At Wild Florida, you can experience a 16-foot Burmese python along with gators and other cute creatures. If you’re looking to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most incredible animal species, visit Wild Florida today.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Wild Florida

Spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart in the Florida wild. Show the love by getting cozy during an airboat ride where you’ll encounter an ecological tour of the Everglades. Before stepping aboard, take in Florida’s natural scenery from a 500-foot sightseeing dock. While you’re cuddling on your airboat excursion, keep an eye out for alligators and birds ranging from bald eagles to herons.

Airboat riders also get to explore the lush landscape during a romantic swamp walk where you can be one with nature. Plus, the day wouldn’t be complete without strolling and touring the adventurous wildlife park, which features exotic animals like zebras, watusi and emus, tropical birds and tortoises.

Take your gator experience further by feeding these prehistoric predators from a platform. Watch their massive jaws grab the meat and eat it all up!

Plus, you get to participate in a hands-on demonstration where you can hold and take a photo with an alligator. How cool is that? Partial proceeds from your cherished alligator photo benefits the endangered Florida Panther.

Your excursion continues with a lakeside lunch at The Chomp House Grill. Chow down on bodacious barbecue, including pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs, gator tail, frog legs and sweet potato fries paired with a refreshing Swamp Slushy or Hurricane Freeze.

Show your lovebird a token of your affection with a Wild Florida souvenir from the Swamp Store. Buy a stuffed animal or gator-tooth necklace for your darling. The treasured gift is a marvelous memento of your time spent in the great outdoors during Valentine’s Day.
If you’re looking to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most incredible animal species, visit Wild Florida today.

Umbrella Cockatoo Powder is Reunited with Owner at Wild Florida

Powder is an 18-year-old Umbrella Cockatoo that joined the Wild Florida family two years ago. Umbrella Cockatoos hail from Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines, can live up to 80 years or more in captivity and grow up to 24 inches in length from the beak to the tip of their tail feathers. The birds are renowned for their gentle, docile and sweet-tempered personality, which makes Powder an amazing addition to the Wild Florida gator and wildlife park. Take a stroll through the nature preserve and experience Powder and cute creatures from the Florida wild and other areas.

Janice Brooks and her family owned Powder since he was eight weeks old back in 1997. When her husband Skip passed away in 2011, Powder didn’t take it very well. As a result, he started picking his feathers and developing some behavioral issues. Brooks knew she needed to find Powder a new home.

“I’m happy to report that Powder is living in a large, beautiful aviary at Wild Florida, and is having the time of his life,” says Brooks. “His feathers never grew back but he’s happy, healthy and thriving. I visited him on my birthday and it warmed my heart to see him again.”

Powder was ecstatic to see his owner once again, and is enjoying his new environment with his feathered friends.

Powder is a great addition to the park as we continue to grow and enhance our experience for all of our visitors,” mentions Sam Haught, co-founder of Wild Florida. “We are working hard to continue to expand our park, so that our visitors can experience not only an amazing and unique airboat experience, but also getting to see Florida as it is in its natural environment.”

If you’re looking to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most incredible animal species, visit Wild Florida today.

Why Are Manatees Moving Away from Florida?

In an interesting turn of events, manatees have been appearing further and further west along the Gulf of Mexico. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network for Alabama and Mississippi started reporting strandings and sightings, and it has since increased year over year with the number of spotted manatees west of Florida, which is beyond their normal home. Now, here at Wild Florida, we see plenty of manatees or “sea cows” as we like to call them on our Orlando airboat tours.

The head of the Manatee Sighting Networks for Alabama and Mississippi, Ruth Carmichael, has anticipated that something in the environment is changing, which is causing the manatees to spread out, which in turn, is driving them west. Carmichael needs to gather more data in order to make a more accurate hypothesis for the manatee behavior, so she is expanding her network to include Louisiana and Texas. “We see more animals coming here, staying longer, going farther west. We want to be prepared,” Carmichael said.

According to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’, Louisiana has averaged about seven manatee sightings per year for the past 20 years, while Texas records about one sighting per year. “Work toward a four-state sighting network is preliminary so far but the project is important,” said Suzanne Smith, marine mammal stranding coordinator at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans and one of the people working with Carmichael.

Wild Florida is passionate about Florida wildlife, especially those endangered species such as manatees. If you want to learn more about our Orlando airboat tours or Florida wildlife, make sure to browse through our website or contact us today! To report manatee sightings or strandings:

Florida Officials Consider Bringing Back Bear Hunting

After enduring several black bear attacks, Florida wildlife managers will discuss whether to restore bear hunting to the state after a 20-year ban next month.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider whether to draw up a detailed hunting plan or to drop the idea during a meeting on February 4.  The potential hunting plan can be controversial because of public safety concerns.

Since records started being kept, there have been sixteen recorded bear injuries in Florida, but many of these injuries will be minor and many of those interactions were provoked by humans.  In 2014, attacks have increased significantly, particularly right on the outskirts of Orlando where residential areas are pushed up to heavily wooded areas like the Ocala National Forest.  The latest attack occurred in December in the Panhandle where a 15-year-old girl was attacked, dragged off the road and mauled until her dog drove off the bear.

The hunting ban started in the 1970s after the bear species suffered a severe decline based on years of logging, hunting and urban development, and in the meantime, the black bear population had rebounded and risen to about 3,000 in Florida based on a count done in 2002.
If you’re interested in going on an Orlando airboat ride, experiencing exotic wildlife, or just getting out of the hustle and bustle of Orlando, make sure to come out and visit us at Wild Florida.

South Florida Experiences Record Number of Panther Deaths on Road

Recently, the number of endangered Florida panthers killed on South Florida’s roads has set a new annual record, with 20 killed so far.  The most recent Florida panther killed in a hit and run accident was a 6-month-old male that didn’t have a radio tracking collar.  He was found along Golden Gate Boulevard near Sixth Street Northeast.

The previously held record was 19 set in 2012, and prior to 2012, the record was 18 in 2009.  Overall, the number of wild Florida panthers that have been found dead in 2014 has reached 27, with two found dead from disease, three killed in fights with other panthers, and two additional deaths from unknown causes, according the Conservation Commission.

The increase in road deaths of the Florida panther is largely due to the rebounding population numbers. The panther has been on the endangered species list since 1967.  Local ranchers and hunters attribute the high death count of panthers to them running amok, and they’ve also complained of livestock depredation and reduced deer herds.

“I think it’s really an indication of a successful program,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission commissioner Liesa Priddy said. “It’s unfortunate evidence, but I think it’s evidence of a successful program.”

The widely accepted solution to slowing down the deaths of panthers on the roads is educating drivers about the speed limits in zones where panthers are largely populated, especially at dawn and dusk when panthers are most active.

Here are Wild Florida, not only do we care about Orlando airboat tours, but we also care deeply about Florida wildlife.  Join us in the recognition and conservation of Florida wildlife in order to keep Florida’s natural elements preserved.  If you’re interested in learning more about the natural Florida, contact us and purchase tickets to come visit our Wildlife Park or take an airboat tour.

Spend the Holidays with Wild Florida

The holidays are a special time of year for family, gifts and celebrating the things in your life that you’re so very grateful for.  At times, you could fall into the monotony of staying at home, and not getting out of the house as much as you should.  That’s where Wild Florida comes in.  With more than 4,200 acres of undeveloped land located just outside of Orlando, Florida, Wild Florida is the perfect destination to make memories with your family for the holidays.

First, you can schedule one of our many Orlando airboat rides for a unique and fun experience.  You can select a half-hour, hour, night, or private airboat tour through the headwaters of the Everglades at Wild Florida through our website.  Don’t forget to bring your camera to get some of the most unique and interesting wildlife located in their natural environments.  Safety is our number one priority, and we’re committed to the health, safety and well-being of our guests.  Our vessels are USCG approved and inspected annually.  There is a accident plan in place in case of any unexpected incidents, and we have appropriate emergency gear on board as well.

Are you more of a fan of staying on the ground instead of in the water?  Our Wildlife Park will be the perfect distraction with animals from all over the world available for you to learn and interact with.  We get new animals in all of the time, so if you happen to be a return visitor, make sure to check out what we have new.  If you want a more special, interactive experience, then our Keeper for a Day and Behind the Scenes Tour experience will be for you.

If you’re interested in going on an Orlando airboat ride, experiencing exotic wildlife, or just getting out of the hustle and bustle of Orlando, make sure to come out and visit us at Wild Florida.


Florida Wildlife Hospital Offers Unique Opportunity in Time for Holidays

Sue Small, the Executive Director of the Florida Wildlife Hospital, has announced an interesting new adoption program. People can adopt one or more of, what the Florida Wildlife Hospital calls, Educational Ambassadors. You can choose one of their five owls, an American Kestrel, a Gopher Tortoise, a Box Turtle or a Red Rat Snake. While you don’t actually get to take the animals home, you do receive a matte photo, an adoption certificate and a fact sheet about the particular species that you’ve chosen to adopt, along with an invitation to any public event where your adopted ambassador will be appearing.

With the upcoming holidays, adopting an Education Ambassador from the Florida Wildlife Hospital can make for a unique gift for those who have everything. If you want to spread awareness about the conservation of Florida wildlife or just support those who aim to protect Florida wildlife, this could also be an opportunity for you.

The Florida Wildlife Hospital is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to Florida’s wildlife in need.  Their mission is to aid injured, sick and orphaned native Florida wildlife and migratory birds and return them to their place in the natural ecosystem. They are open 365 days a year to admit wildlife patients, and they care for almost 5,000 wildlife patients a year! They are licensed by state and federal government agencies, but they receive no funding for them, so it’s important that they have active members and continue receiving donations from the public who are equally as passionate about Florida wildlife.
Here at Wild Florida, we care about Florida wildlife, and we love this adoption program that allows people to make a strong connection to the wildlife in our state. At Wild Florida, we have a wildlife park that features not only animals that are indigenous to Florida, but also animals from all over the world. Take one of our Orlando airboat rides and experience Florida wildlife in its natural environment. Browse through our website to learn more about Wild Florida.

The Amphibious Nature of the Everglades

Amphibians are amazing and unusual creatures. They go through an incredible metamorphosis as they age and their environmental versatility makes them extremely adaptable. Keep an eye out during your next Orlando airboat ride. These amazing animals aren’t as sought out or easy to spot as an alligator, but they definitely deserve a passing glance.

Often confused with reptiles, amphibians live on every continent except Antarctica. These creatures are cold blooded, meaning they require environmental elements to regulate their body temperature. Their reptilian cousins are also cold blooded, but where these two creatures really differ is in their skin. Reptiles are covered from head to toe (unless you’re a snake) in scales. Amphibians have smooth, moist skin. While this skin is a blessing in some ways, it is susceptible to drying out. To make sure their skin doesn’t dry out, amphibians stick to moist, humid, and wet environments. They can even secrete mucus through their skin to keep it moist. While these little facts may be cool, the coolest part of an amphibian, is its ability to breathe through its skin as well as its lungs.

Earlier in this post, we touched on the fact that amphibians go through a metamorphosis of sorts. Every amphibian begins its journey through life in an egg. These eggs have no protective shell; therefore, they are laid in water. Once the egg hatches, the amphibian navigates the shallow Everglades waterways as a tadpole. As they mature, they leave the water and begin their life on land.

There are a variety of amphibious creatures dwelling in the Everglades. They range from tree frogs, to toads, and salamanders. When you’re cruising through the Everglades on your next Orlando airboat ride, don’t neglect the little guys. Amphibians are just as exciting as the reptiles, birds, and mammals currently roaming the Everglades.

To learn more about the amphibians that dwell in the Everglades, or to take an Orlando airboat ride, visit Wild Florida today.

What’s your favorite amphibian? Try to find one in your backyard and take a picture of it. Share your pictures with us!


Mystery Surrounds the Death of Alligators in the Everglades

The Florida Everglades have always been home to alligators.  It has been their habitat where they have lived and thrived, but now, wildlife ecologists and other scientists are saying that the population of alligators is growing smaller.  In addition to the mysterious shrinking population, the gators they are finding in their study are smaller, weighing about 20% less than an alligator their size should typically weigh.

Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife ecologist with the University of Florida, has been studying the alligators of the Everglades through tracking and tagging for over 15 years, and he says the population of alligators is less than half of what you would expect in a healthy habitat.  “They’re skinnier, they’re fewer, they grow slower,” Mazzotti said. “Most other places, if an alligator is 10 years old it’s easily 6 feet long–not so in the Everglades. At 10 years [old], it’s only 4 or 5 feet.”

A team of scientists headed by Mazzotti from the University of Florida is now investigating this particular mystery and what could be behind the change that is occurring.  A federal government spokesperson, who is also researching the alligator mystery, says she is concerned with the declining health of the alligators.  “When they are not doing well, something has gone wrong with the ecosystem.” Estenoz said. “They are the canary in the coal mine.”

Wild Florida cares deeply for the ecological health the Everglades and other surrounding natural areas in Florida.  We provide Orlando airboat rides through the headwaters of the Everglades, in which you can experience alligators firsthand.  If wildlife is of particular interest to you, we also have a wildlife park on site so you can experience several different animals as well.  Purchase tickets to come by and experience natural Florida in all of its glory.

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