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Airboat ride in alligator territory

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It seems like I’ve been hanging out a lot on alligator turf lately: Shark Valley in the Everglades, Myakka River State Park near Sarasota, Wakulla Springs up in the Panhandle. Today I went looking for gators again, this time a little closer to home. A friend took me on my first airboat ride at Sawgrass Recreation Park in western Broward County.

We saw only two gators, which our captain attributed to the cloud cover taking away the creatures’ motivation to sun themselves.

Airboat gator2

(This one looks annoyed at our intrusion on his turf, doesn't he?)

We also saw a great blue heron, cormorants and vultures.

Airboat cormorant

The captain entertained us with stories about shooting pythons she finds in the Everglades or hacking them up with her machete. She noted that they are not native to the Everglades, get into fights-to-the-death with alligators and are eating most of the population of small mammals (raccoon, possums, etc.). Um, yeah. Can you put away that machete and take us back to the dock now?

Airboat capt