The lake (click for map) is the northwest headwaters of the Everglades and has more alligators per acre than any place on earth. There are well over 1000 of them and this is where we take our airboat ride. I don't think it's possible to find a better airboat road as this outfit takes you back among the Alligator Flag and cattails into places no normal boat could possibly go. The air or fan boats, having a 250 hp engine and a fan above the water and at the back of the boat pushes you across water, mud, grass and occasionally gators (this does not hurt them, nor does the sound seem to bother them as they rarely move when visited). This is one lake you don't want to fall into. It's one thing to fall into a cold Vermont pond (like VINS home schooler Alex B. might do) but another to fall into the muck and gator filled lake here in Immokalee, FL. Although gators have caused less than 20 deaths to humans in the last 50 years in Florida, the swamp stink alone should be a natural deterrent to inadvertent tumbles overboard.
Indigo Snake Drymarchon corais
To safely handle an alligator, as anyone should do, you have to grip them behind the head and hold their body tight. They can thrash and use their tail as a whip. The bite however can be very painful regardless of the size. The smaller they are, the sharper the teeth. But the older they get the duller. The problem is, the bite of an alligator older than a few years has amazing crushing strength, so being bitten by either is not good. This one is close to 2 years old. Alligators have rounded snouts and yellow and black banding when they are young.
American Alligator Alligator mississippiensisAlligators were once endangered in the US. Now there are well over 1 million in Florida and can be found in just about every body of fresh water around (even swimming pools) with perhaps the exception of the Winn-Dixie storm run-off pool near my house. There is a turtle living in it though. More on him another time.
This silly project of mine is being read on 5 different continents. If you know of anyone in Africa or Antarctica that would like to read of my wild adventures, feel free to pass along the link to them or anyone else for that matter. Especially anyone who has ties to TV producers at the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet. hehe