When Everglades Adventure ventures into the Everglades, we are looking to show you creatures you are unlikely to see in your backyard. Some of them are kind of scary. At the top of the list are alligators. Even though they are humorously portrayed in cartoons and as college mascots, they can be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing– especially if they have been fed by humans.
Think of it this way, if you were looking for food wouldn’t you go to the last place you received any? That’s what alligators do to. And alligators aren’t able to distinguish between the food and the source of the food. If an alligator has not been fed by humans, it is more like to be afraid of you than vice versa. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to give them a wide berth. During mating season especially, they have been known to get aggressive. Don’t think they are slow just because they look like they might be. Alligators have been clocked at 40 miles per hour in a sprint.
When you are with us, however, we know alligators. We know when they are aggressive and when they are not. We know not to feed or provoke them. And we won’t let our guests do it. The preferred safe behavior is just to watch and not get too close to one.
What else is scary in the swamp? Lately, Burmese pythons, an invasive, exotic snake is on the list. They have entered the Everglades, mostly on the Eastern edge, and they are reproducing there. While they are seldom seen in the Western Everglades, they do migrate and they could show up anytime. In the dry season, they shelter in gopher tortoise burrows, where they mate. Adult Burmese pythons average a length of 10 feet or more. They acquire their food by crushing the life out of their prey and then swallowing it whole. Once again, they sound scarier than they are in reality, since they seldom go after humans. But be wary, as we at Everglades Adventure always are when taking tours into the swamp.