Manatees in the Everglades 

native speciesDid you know adult manatees can eat up to 10 to 15% of their body weight daily? That’s a lot of food! To get in that much food, manatees graze for about seven hours per day.  

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, manatees are a “keystone species” Manatees behaviors can alert researcher to environmental changes and they are monitored by tags.  

The manatee season in the Everglades just ended.  The season begins November 15 and goes until March 31.  

In 2017 the government had to make a decision on whether or not manatees will still have an endangered species status. Over the years, manatees’ numbers have grown, which is why this change of status may occur.  Right now, the manatee is not endangered. In early 2019, a survey estimated at least 5,700 living in Florida waters, which is a jump from the 1,267 manatees counted in 1991, when the first aerial surveys were taken. 

In the last 29 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local governments have helped create more than 50 manatee protection zones, boating rules, and restricted construction of docks in certain habitats. 

Around 95 manatees were killed in 2016 by boats and other watercrafts. With such a high number of manatees being that year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urges boaters to be extra careful. 

In 2017, there was a proposal to change the manatees from endangered to threatened species. Many scientists are opposed to this change, because it would remove federal protection from manatees in the Caribbean, whose numbers aren’t as high as the ones living in Florida.  However, their status did change in 2017 and was downgraded to “threatened.” 

During manatee season, slower speed limits go in effect for boaters. Boaters are asked to wear polarized sunglasses to better spot manatees and abide by the speed limits put in place. 

Here are some other fun facts about manatees: 

  • Manatees sleep on the bottom and float up about every 20 minutes to breath.  
  • Manatees can weigh between 1,500 and 1,800 pounds.  
  • Manatees can live up to 60 years old in the wild.  
  • Manatees live and thrive in warm water above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • Manatees can easily float due to their fat helping with buoyancy and their large lungs filling with air.  
  • Manatees squeal under water to communicate.  

 

Spot Some Manatees on an Everglades Airboat Tour 

Although not guaranteed, you may get the chance to see a manatee on an airboat tour through the Everglades. 

 If not, don’t worry there are so many other animals, birds, plants, and marine life you can spot on a ride 

Book an Everglades airboat tour today with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours.  

Call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours  page to book a trip!  

Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax). 

 

Fun Facts About Airboats

airboatsAirboats and the Everglades just go together – the image of an airboat gliding across the waters in this wetland are iconic. People have been using airboats to get around in the Everglades for decades.

Captain Mitch House of Captain Mitch’s Private Airboat Tours has been in the airboat tour and tourist attraction industry since he was knee-high. Captain Mitch was and raised in Everglades City, Florida where he ended up following in the footsteps of his Father Captain Doug and great grandfather Barrel Head House, who was the pioneer of airboats.

Airboats have evolved over the years and now take tourists and visitors around to view the beauty that is the Everglades.

For this article, we wanted to share with you some fun facts about airboats:

  • Airboats are also known as “fanboats.”
  • Airboats are propelled with either aircraft or automotive engines.
  • Automotive engines are preferred for airboats, as automotive gas is much less expensive than gas for aircraft.
  • Airboat hulls are made from aluminum or fiberglass.
  • Airboat propellers can produce prop wash behind them of around 150mph.
  • Propellers must be enclosed within protective cages to prevent injury to riders and operators.
  • Airboat operators must have extensive operational safety knowledge.
  • Airboats do not have brakes and cannot move in reverse.
  • Airboats are steered by passing forced air across vertical rudders.
  • Airboats have no operating parts below waterline.
  • Airboats have elevated seats for operators and passengers that allow for better views.
  • Modern airboats are built with mufflers to reduce the loud noise from the engine and propellers.
  • The first airboat was built in 1905 in Nova Scotia, Canada, and was nicknamed the “Ugly Duckling.”
  • The first airboat registered in Florida was brought to the area in 1920.
  • The first commercial airboat in Florida appeared in the early 1930’s.
  • Today’s airboats are used for eco-tourism, fishing, hunting, and rescue.
  • Airboats were used to save thousands of New Orleans residents and flood victims after Hurricane Katrina.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Military, and U.S. Special Forces use airboats.

Ready to experience an airboat for yourself? They provide a fun ride! Our captains are trained, experienced, and knowledgeable on airboats and the Everglades. Ask us questions!

Our guides and team know the Everglades well! Our airboat tours are fun and educational for the whole family! Get excited you’re in for a fun ride!

Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

The Importance of Mangroves in the Everglades

mangrove forestsIf there’s one plant the Everglades is know for, it’s its mangroves. You know those trees whose roots stick above the water and look like long fingers? Yup, those are mangroves and they are extremely important to the ecosystem of the Everglades. They are magical in appearance and when you glide by them on an airboat tour, you feel like you’re in a fairytale or enchanted land.

Currently, Florida is home to about 469,000 acres of mangrove forests. The Everglades is home to largest mangrove forest in North America. Mangroves thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. These trees produce seeds that drop and get carried away by water or winds, and the mangroves will grow wherever the seeds land.

There are about 50 species of mangroves. Three species of mangroves are found in Florida: the red mangrove, the black mangrove, and the white mangrove.

The most well-known, and easily seen in the Everglades, is the red mangrove. It’s the mangrove we were describing above. It’s a salt-tolerant tree that grows in areas with low-oxygen soil. They can take freshwater from the saltwater to survive. These mangroves have prop roots that make them look like they’re standing on the water. With these roots, the forests can handle rising tides in-and-out of the Everglades. The roots are reddish in color.

The black mangrove sits at a higher elevation than the red mangrove. This mangrove has finger-like projections that protrude from the soil around the trunk of the tree.

The white mangrove can be found at the highest elevations of these three species. This mangrove’s roots do not show; it has light, yellow-green leaves.

Mangroves help protect the Florida coastline, the Everglades, and in turn, help protect human developments. The mangroves’ roots stabilize the coastline and higher lands by reducing erosion. These trees also block winds, waves, floods, tides, and storm surges from damaging the land – think of them as a fortress wall. The bigger, wider, and thicker a mangrove forest, the more protection to the environment it can provide.

Not only can mangroves protect land, they can also filter water and keep water quality high.

Another major benefit and quality to mangroves is that they also provide a habitat for a variety of birds and marine life. Many fish and animals use the mangrove forests as protection, shelter, or a place to find food.

Unfortunately, mangroves and mangroves forests are disappearing. According to American Forests, the oldest national conservation organization in the country, almost half of the world’s old-growth mangrove forest have disappeared in the past 50 years. Humans are a major cause to the loss of the mangrove forests due to industrial shrimp farming and coastal development.

Now, in Florida, state and city laws have been established to protect these forests, which are a key role in Florida’s ecosystem. It’s important we do what we can to protect these plants as they are key to not only the Florida ecosystem, but the protection of us!

Ride Through the Mangroves on an Airboat

Do you want to see the beautiful, protectors known as mangroves up close? An airboat tour can take you up-close-and-personal to these plants!

An airboat ride through the Everglades can allow you to see vegetation and animal life you won’t see anywhere else!

Book an airboat tour  with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours by calling 800-368-0065  or visiting our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Ask us about the mangroves!

We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

 

Everglades Airboat Tours Are a Must Do!

Everglades city Airboat oursWhat’s more “Florida” than an airboat tour? If you’re planning to visit, spend time, or live in southern Florida, we recommend you get yourself to Captain Mitch’s Private Airboat Tours.

Airboats gliding through the waters of the Everglades is iconic as it gets. Airboat rides and tours are a fun and unique way to explore the Everglades and catch glimpses of some mammals, fish, birds, vegetation and more!

An airboat tour gives you the chance to see a part of Florida that you may not get to see otherwise. Our airboat tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable on the area and airboats for any and all questions you have along the way.

We know a Florida vacation may include some theme parks, beaches, and golfing, but an airboat tour is the quintessential way to experience real, natural beauty of Florida and a way to connect with nature. The ecosystem that the airboat will bring you through is truly unique and you will see nothing like this elsewhere in the world.

Captain Mitch and his crew are passionate about sharing their home and expertise with others.  Captain Mitch has been involved at Private Airboat Tours in the tourist industry for more than 30 years here in Everglades City, Florida.

An airboat ride with Captain Mitch and his crew will be one your greatest memories of Florida’s and the Everglades’ ecosystem and swamplands.

Whether you are visiting or a year-round resident, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Schedule a Private Everglades Tour on an Airboat

Come experience the Everglades and nature like never before! See wildlife and plant life you will never see anywhere else!

Our guides and team know the Everglades well! Our airboat tours are fun and educational for the whole family! Get ready to have the time of your life!

Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

What is Brackish Water in the Everglades?

brackish waterHave you heard of the term “brackish water?” If you’ve been to southern Florida, you’ve likely heard it mentioned. What is it? Brackish water is a combination of saltwater and freshwater – it’s where the two types of water meet. Brackish water has a higher salinity level than fresh water, but it is not as high as sea or ocean water. The salinity of brackish water can vary, but usually, brackish water contains between 0.5 and 30 grams of salt per liter.

Brackish water can exist on its own in nature, or it was made due to human construction. When found naturally, brackish water can be found around estuaries where a river meets an ocean. Many areas of southern Florida contain brackish water  and it flows into the Everglades.

Many water species can survive and live in brackish water and can go back and forth between fresh and saltwater. In brackish water, you can find trout, bull sharks, tilapia, alligators, some species of crab, shrimp, and more.

Within the Everglades ecosystem, there needs to be a proper balance of fresh and saltwater for water species and plant species to grow. In recent years, salinity levels have risen in the Everglades, which has been a problem. Restoration programs are putting freshwater into the Everglades to combat rising salinity levels.

Jump on an Everglades Tour on an Airboat

A great and safe way to see the variety of wildlife and vegetation in the Everglades’ brackish water is on a ride through the Everglades on an airboat with Captain Mitch.

Our guides know the Everglades well! Our airboat tours are fun and educational for the whole family!

Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

Crawling Creatures Found in the Everglades

crawling creaturesWhen you think of the Everglades, you probably think of alligators and airboats. But, what about the thousands of insects and other bugs?

Thousands of these creatures call the Everglades home. The Everglades is known for having large swarms of mosquitoes and biting flies. However, there’s also a lot of beautiful butterflies flying around, which are much less annoying and don’t bite.

All these creatures, even the annoying or scary-looking ones are a valuable part of the Everglades’ ecosystem.

Insects –Insects don’t have a backbone and they are a type of invertebrate. They have a hard-exterior body covering caused an exoskeleton. They are cold blooded and do not have lungs.  Insects account for about 90 percent of life forms on earth, so you know there’s a TON in the Everglades. It is unclear how many insects are in the Everglades, but entomologists have put together lists of bees, ants, butterflies and more. The South Florida Collections Management Center has more than 5,000 insect specimens found in the Everglades.

Arachnids – Spiders, mites, ticks, scorpions, pseudoscorpions, and whip scorpions can all be found in the Everglades.

Centipedes – They are long, thin arthropods and have fewer than 20 legs or as much as 300 legs despite the “centi” in their name. They live in the Everglades, but usually aren’t seen because they are mostly nocturnal.

Millipedes – These are commonly seen in the Everglades and they do not bite or sting. They are longer and thinner than centipedes and they can have anywhere from 36 to 400 legs. They are slower than centipedes.

Love insects, spiders or creatures with 400 legs? Come jump on an airboat tour! You’ll be surrounded by insects (and not even know it) during your adventure.

To book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours, call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

Everglades Bird Profile: The Great Egret

great egretThe Great Egret is one of the largest wading birds that lives in the Everglades. It is over four feet tall and its wingspan is more than 50 inches in length.

This bird has long black legs, black feet, and a stout yellow bill. It can often be mistaken for the Great White Heron, but the heron has a heavier bill and pale legs.

The egret flies slow with its neck retracted, which is different from many other similar-looking birds.

This bird stalks its prey by slowly walking or standing still and can catch a fish in a flash with its quick bill reflex. They eat fish, amphibians, reptiles, other birds, small mammals, and invertebrates. They look for food in marshes, swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, tide flats, canals, and flooded fields.

The Great Egret usually is found alone but gathers with others during mating season in shrubs and trees over water.

At the end of the 19th century, many Great Egrets were being killed in the Everglades and in North America for their plumes, which were used for decorative hats. In the late 1800s naturalist John James Audubon visited the Everglades, and public outrage grew to put a stop to the mass commercial hunting of wading birds for the plume. The Great Egret became the symbol of the National Audubon Society, which one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. More than 300 Great Egrets had to be used get just one kilogram of feathers.

The numbers of this bird have grown but haven’t recovered due to habitat loss.

 

Want a chance to see the Great Egret? You might on an airboat tour!

To book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours, call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

Everglades Mammal Profile: Everglades Mink

minkThe Everglades is home many mammals, including the Everglades Mink.

This fury creature is a small member of the weasel family and is one of three types of minks found in Florida. The Everglades Mink happens to be the only one that lives in south Florida. This type of mink is semi-aquatic, carnivorous and related to otters, ferrets, badgers, and martens.

An Everglades Mink has chocolate brown fur, a small head and tiny black eyes and ears. Its legs are short, it has a pointed muzzle, five partially webbed toes on each foot and it has a long bushy tail.

Its webbed toes help them swim easily in water while they search for food. A mink also releases an unpleasant-smelling liquid, like a skunk’s; it does this as a warning and also a marker for other minks to know of its presence. The minx will also squeal, snarl, and hiss if it is frightened.

This type of mink can grow up to 25 inches long.

You can find this mink in shallow freshwater marshes and swamps of the Fakahatchee Strand and the Big Cypress Swamp.

Everglade minks are known to grab prey larger than themselves. They are nocturnal and hunt for food on land and in the water; they enjoy eating small mammals, snakes, fish, and insects.

A mink is a loner and you won’t find it in groups usually. You can spot a minx in shallow freshwater marshes and swamps of the Everglades.

A female mink can give birth to three to six kits during the springtime. The kits are born hairless, but open their eyes and start growing hair around three weeks. These babies stay with the mother until the fall. Females stay close to the den, while males roam twice as far and visit other dens. Dens are usually found in a hollow log, or under tree roots.

The Everglades mink is no longer a threatened species.

Look for the Everglades Mink on a Tour

Although it usually comes out at night, there’s a chance you may still see an Everglades mink while on an airboat tour.

A great and safe way to see the variety of wildlife and vegetation in the Everglades is on a ride through the Everglades on an airboat with Captain Mitch

Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

About Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours

airboat toursReady for the time of your life in the Everglades? Join us on an airboat tour and see the Everglades like never before.

Captain Mitch House has been in the airboat tour and tourist attraction industry since he was a little kid. He was born and raised in Everglades city, Florida, where he ended up following in the footsteps of his Father Capt. Doug and great grandfather Barrel Head House, who was the pioneer of airboat. He built one of the first commercial airboats in 1942, which was built from three sheets of plywood and a few 2×4’s, powered with a slant six tank motor and a sawed-off prop-jet propeller with no cage. These were primitive work boats.

Barrel Head used this boat as a fishing guide in the Flamingo and Florida Bay areas of the Florida Everglades. This was a great way to gain access to the shallow salt flats of Florida Bay. On this airboat, he took tourists charter fishing for snook, reds, trout, tarpon and many other fish species in the now Everglades National Park ecosystem.

In later years, the locals around Everglades City, Florida, and the south Florida area found these airboats were a great way to travel in the swamplands of the Florida Everglades.

Captain Mitch, as the airboat tour owner, has been involved at Private Airboat Tours Everglades City, FL in the tourist industry for more than 30 years here in Everglades City, Florida.

If you’re planning to visit the Everglades, come view it in a different, fun way on an airboat tour.

To book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours, call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

Bobcats in the Everglades

bobcatThe Everglades is home to so many mammals including felines like the bobcat. Bobcats are one of two native cat species that call southern Florida their home. Bobcats are common in Everglades unlike the Florida panther.

Bobcats are not endangered. They are mainly nocturnal creatures but can be spotted during daylight. In the Everglades, bobcats have been seen walking around Bear Lake Trail, Snake Bight Trail, and the main Park road.

Bobcats can live in various types of habitats such has cypress swamps, prairies, hardwood hammocks, and pine rocklands. In one day, an adult bobcat can travel anywhere from 5 to 50 miles looking for food. For food, the bobcat eats small mammals (squirrels, opossums, rodents), birds, and fish.

Bobcats are much smaller than the Florida panther.  They coexist in the Park together. The bobcat is short-tailed (“bobbed” tail) feline with a spotted, red-gold fur coat. They have fringed fur on the sides of their head. They can weight anywhere from 13 to 35 pounds, and they can grow up to 50 inches in length.  Bobcats can live up to 14 years in the wild.

Bobcats don’t just call Florida home. They have been known to live in Canada and all the way down to Central America.

The bobcat will stay in a den it creates in a tree, cave, or open shelter. Often, bobcats have more than one den spread across different areas, in case they need shelter.  A female bobcat will have one to two kittens in a litter. Bobcat mating season is from August to March.

Bobcats usually will not approach a human. For your safety, it’s best to leave a bobcat alone while in the wild or the Everglades if you spot one.

Come on an airboat tour and see if you can spot a bobcat walking around during daylight!

Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours has been giving tours to in the Everglades for more than 30 years.

To book a tour. Click our Everglades airboat tour page or call 800-368-0065.. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).