The nature tours in Punta Gorda offer a unique chance to see American alligators up close. Here we have put together 5 facts that will prepare you to hop on board as an alligator expert when you visit Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours.
Alligators Aren’t the Same As Crocodiles
The first thing you’ll want to know before you point out an alligator on your tour is to make sure that it is an alligator and not a crocodile! Alligators and crocodiles are both members of the “Crocodylia” but here is what makes an alligator special:
- You will not find an alligator in salt water, but you might find a crocodile there!
- Alligators are usually under 15 feet, so smaller than a crocodile.
- When an alligator closes its mouth, you will not see its teeth. Crocodiles, on the other hand, have quite the underbite so they can’t hide their teeth.
- Alligators’ snouts are “U” shaped and not as pointy as the “V” shape of a crocodile snout.
Another fun fact is that “caiman” is the word for alligator in Spanish, but caiman and alligators are different animals! Caimans have longer, sharper teeth than alligators and aren’t native to Florida.
Alligators Have Different Walking Styles
Not only do alligators swim, but they also have different ways of walking! Alligators will use a “high walk”, it is when they lift their bellies and tails off the ground, so they can walk faster and use less energy. An alligator “low walk” on the other hand, looks more like a crawl.
Alligators Have Many Uses for Their Tails
The alligator’s tail accounts for half of its total length! While they are in the water, alligators may use their heavy tails to strike their prey or defend against predators. They also use their tails for extra swimming power and to help them lunge forward to capture prey.
On land, alligators use their tails to create depressions in the soil that fill with water creating an alligator bathtub to relax in! Smart, right?
Alligators Are Making A Comeback
Alligators used to be on the brink of extinction in Florida but thanks to conservation efforts, the state is now home to about 1.3 million gators!
Alligators Don’t View Humans as Food
Another difference between crocodiles and alligators is that an alligator will not actively hunt a human like a crocodile may. Alligator attacks have occurred in Florida because of loss of habitat and humans feeding or harassing the animals.
View Alligators on Our Tours
View alligators in the nature tours in Punta Gorda. At Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours, we offer a way to safely observe alligators in their natural habitat. Our eco-tours let you experience the true Florida wildlife and get up close with the different animals. Plus, you might be able to hold a baby alligator! We have plenty of those.
Book your swamp buggy eco-tour today and don’t miss out on your chance to see alligators up close!