Ecosystems in the Everglades: Part 4

ecosystemsIn a blog post last week, we discussed two different ecosystems in the Everglades: freshwater sloughs and freshwater mark prairies. Those are just two of many of the ecosystems within the Everglades.  

Each ecosystem looks and acts different and helps the circle of life. On an airboat tour with Captain Mitch, you will pass by many of the Everglades’ ecosystems. For this blog post, we wanted to share some information with you on two more ecosystems in the Everglades.  

CypressCypress trees are found in the Everglades in one of three distinct formations. They are a deciduous conifer that can survive in standing water. It’s common to find a cluster of cypress trees in the shape of a dome. Cypress strands occur where cyrpress trees grow in a long, linear shape parallel with the flow of water. Stunted cypress trees (dwarf cypress) grow where there is less than favorable growing conditions. 

Marine and estuarine In the Everglades, the largest body of water is Florida Bay, which has more than 800 square miles of marine bottom covered by submerged vegetation. Seagrass and algae provide food and shelter to many marine organisms which sustains the food chain. There is also a lot of corals and sponges, fish, crustaceans and mollusks that call the waters of the Everglades home.  

As you can see, there’s lots of moving parts that make these ecosystems thrive, so it’s important to protect and care for all these different ecosystems as they all play a critical role in the lifecycles of endless plant, animal, and insect species.  

Want to see a few different ecosystems up close? 

Come on down and enjoy a fun trip out on the water exploring the Everglades on an airboat tour that leaves from Everglades City. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

Ecosystems in the Everglades: Part 3 

ecosystemsIn a blog post last month, we discussed two different ecosystems in the Everglades: pinelands and hardwood hammock. Those are just two of many of the ecosystems within the Everglades.  

Each ecosystem looks and acts different and helps the circle of life. On an airboat tour with Captain Mitch, you will pass by many of the Everglades’ ecosystems. For this blog post, we wanted to share some information with you on two more ecosystems in the Everglades.  

Freshwater sloughA freshwater slough is a low-lying area of land that channels water through the Everglades. They are marshy rivers. They are deep and maintain flooded throughout the year. They move about 100 feet per day. The Everglades has two sloughs: The Shark River Slough known as the “River of Grass” which is the larger one, and the smaller and narrower Tayor Slough. Both sloughs discharge into Florida Bay. There are other sloughs that flow through to western Florida Bay and the Ten Thousand Islands.  

Freshwater marl prairieFreshwater marl prairies are short-hydroperiod marshes and have a diverse low-growing vegetation in them. The marl allows slow seepage of the water but not rapid drainage. They look like freshwater sloughs, but the water is not as deep. There are large areas of them bordering the deeper sloughs of the Everglades. These marl prairies are created by thin, calcitic soil that has accumulated over limestone bedrock 

As you can see, there’s lots of moving parts that make these ecosystems thrive, so it’s important to protect and care for all these different ecosystems as they all play a critical role in the lifecycles of endless plant, animal, and insect species.  

Next week, we will discuss about the following ecosystems:  cypress and marine and estuarine.  

Want to see a few different ecosystems up close? 

Come on down and enjoy a fun trip out on the water exploring the Everglades on an airboat tour that leaves from Everglades City. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

 

 

 

 

Burmese Pythons Caught in the Everglades  

burmese pythonsThe Burmese Python is an invasive species to the Everglades, causing a lot of destruction. In July, 5,000 Burmese pythons have been captured in the Everglades since hunters have been paid to track them down since 2017. The program to hunt down pythons is run by  the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 

Scientists guess there are between 100,000 and 300,000 pythons in the Everglades. 

Registered hunters can earn a minimum wage for up to 10 hours of work a day, plus a bonus for their catch. They can receive $50 for each python measuring up to four feet plus $25 more for each food measured above four feet long. Hunters who catch a nesting female python will earn an extra $200. 

Pythons can easily reproduce in the Everglades because they have no real predators. Female pythons can lay up to 100 eggs.  

By reducing the number of pythons in the Everglades, hunters are helping bring a balance back to the ecosystem to the Everglades. 

Unfortunately, it has been estimated pythons have already eaten/killed more than 90 percent of mid-sized mammals in the Everglades. Pythons can eat more than their own body weight and grow up to seven feet long in their first year of life. Researchers are worried bird species will be wiped out in the Everglades, especially since they aren’t prepared to deal with this invasive predator. 

The answer to restoring the wildlife balance in the Everglades lies in the reduction/eradication of the pythons. To get a permit to hunt for pythons, click Everglades python permit page. 

The pythons lower animal populations by eating them, but they also harm the population who eats them! These snakes’ bodies hold high levels of mercury, which can poison any animal or reptile that eats them. The pythons’ presence is changing the entire ecosystem of the Everglades 

If python hunting isn’t your thing, visit the Everglades in a much more relaxing way… on an airboat tour! An airboat tour will give you a glimpse of the Everglades’ native, wonderful wildlife that is still around, despite pythons. To book a tour, click the Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours  page or call 239-695-3377. 

 

 

Endangered Species: Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow 

Cape Sable seaside sparrowThe Cape Sable seaside sparrow is an endangered species in the Everglades. In order for this bird to survive in the Everglades, an ideal water level for this bird must be maintained, and that is no easy task.  

Between April and July, the sparrow builds its nests a mere six inches off the ground, so it needs a water level high enough to keep it away from predators and low enough, so the nest doesn’t wash away.  This bird is nicknamed the “Goldilocks bird” because its habitat conditions have to be “just right” for it to survive. In 1981, there were an estimated 6,656 Cape Sable seaside sparrows in the Everglades, but by 2002 there were only around 2,624 of the birds around. 

The sparrow lives in six different locations of the Everglades, usually rocky grass prairies with muhly grass; the Everglades is the only ecosystem the bird exists in.  In these short-hyrdoperiod prairies, there is somewhat dense, clumped grasses with open space for the sparrows to move around. The sparrows’ nests are cup-shaped, and the bird itself is only 5 inches long. The sparrow is a dark olive gray in color with a brown back and light gray with dark olive color lines on the sides; there are small patches of yellow feathers around the eyes and the bend of the wings. These birds feed on grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, and seeds from the grass. They are known to have short-range movements and do travel far away from their nesting areas outside of the breeding season. A sparrow usually only lives to the age of four. 

According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the condition of the sparrow is so dire and they’re trying to do anything they can to save them, even if this means giving one pair of sparrows the opportunity to breed. They believe this year will be the worst breed year they’ve seen for the sparrow in decades. 

Spot the Sparrow 

The Capble Sable seaside sparrow is disappearing. A change in a mere couple of centimeters of water in the sparrow’s habitat can determine whether or not the birds can or will breed. Scientists and officials are continuing to work on restorations plans that will protect the bird and its environment without causing too many problems elsewhere. Getting the Everglades back to its original state, will help this bird and many other species. The restored water flows which will help keep the rise of sea level at bay.  

If you’d like an opportunity to see a sparrow fly by, an airboat tour may be your chance. Airboats can bring you all around the Everglades to places you cannot get to by foot. To explore the Everglades, contact Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours 

Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

 

 

Ecosystems in the Everglades: Part 2 

pinelandsIn a blog post last week, we discussed two different ecosystems in the Everglades: mangroves and coastal lowlands. Those are just two of many of the ecosystems within the Everglades.  

Each ecosystem looks and acts different and helps the circle of life. On an airboat tour with Captain Mitch, you will fly by many of the Everglades’ ecosystems. For this blog post, we wanted to share some information with you on two more ecosystems in the Everglades.  

Pinelands:  Pinelands are forests that live in the exposed limestone substrate of south Florida. It’s a rugged terrain with a slash pine canopy. Throughout the pinelands, there is a variety of different flora and endemic species, which only grow in the local area. The pinelands are also known as the pine rocklands. For this ecosystem to thrive, fire is essential. The fires help clear out faster-growing hardwoods that block out light to pine seedlings. The plants in this area are used to frequent fires. The Park uses prescribed fires to mimic the natural pattern of fires to help keep the pinelands alive.  

Harwood hammock: Hardwood hammock is a dense area of broad-leafed trees that grow on a natural rise just a few inches. Hammocks can be found in most all ecosystems in the Everglades. Many tropical species like mahogany, gumbo limbo, cocoplum, along with temperate species like live oak, red maple, and hackberry live in hardwood hammocks. Since the plant life is so varied in a hardwood hammock, there are lot’s of wildlife that live their too. Due to the elevation, hardwood hammocks hardly flood. These hammocks are also protected by fire as acids from decaying plants dissolve the limestone around the tree islands that creates a moat. Ferns and airplants are seen throughout hardwood hammocks due to the moisture-filled air and shaded areas.  

As you can see, there’s lots of moving parts that make these ecosystems thrive, so it’s important to protect and care for all these different ecosystems as they all play a critical role in the lifecycles of endless plant, animal, and insect species.  

Next month, we will discuss about the following ecosystems: freshwater sloughs, freshwater marl prairie, cypress, and marine and estuarine 

Want to see a few different ecosystems up close? 

Come on down and enjoy a fun trip out on the water exploring the Everglades on an airboat tour that leaves from Everglades City. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

 

 

 

Ecosystems in the Everglades: Part 1 

mangrovesThere are many different ecosystems in the Everglades. In fact, you will fly by many of them on one our airboat tours. For this blog post, we wanted to share some information with you on a few of the ecosystems in the Everglades.  

Mangroves: Mangrove forests live along coastal channels and winding rivers in south Florida and the Everglades. The term “mangrove” identifies several species of salt-tolerant trees that thrive in harsh growing conditions along the coast. There is red black, and white mangroves found in the Everglades. The red mangroves are the most well-known for their stilt-like roots that stick out above the water. These mangroves live in tidal waters where the freshwater and saltwater mix together. The Everglades is home to the largest population of protected mangrove forests in the hemisphere. Many marine species call mangrove forests home. Birds also use mangroves during their nesting periods. Mangrove forests also help protect inland and the Everglades from surges and winds due to hurricanes.  

Coastal lowlands: Coastal lowlands live between tidal mud flats in Florida Bay and dry land. The coastal lowlands are also known as the coastal prairie. This area is well-drained and is filled with shrubby, salt-tolerant vegetation. No mangroves can thrive in the coastal lowlands due to periodic flooding and heavy winds. Many different species can live in the lowlands due to its varying salinity levels. Succulents and other desert-like plants are known to thrive in the lowlands.  

It’s important to protect  and care for all these different ecosystems as they all play a critical role in the lifecycles of endless plant, animal, and insect species.  

Want to see a few different ecosystems up close?  

Next week, we will discuss about the following ecosystems: pinelands and hardwood hammock.  

Come on down and enjoy a fun trip out on the water exploring the Everglades on an airboat tour that leaves from Everglades City. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

 

 

Basic Information About the Everglades 

habitatsIf you’re thinking about coming out on an airboat ride with Captain Mitch, you’ll be spending some time in the Everglades. How much do you know about the Everglades? It’s a beautiful landscape, and our team at Captain Mitch’s Private Everglades Airboat Tours wanted to share some information with you about the area.  

On an airboat tour, we fly through grass and swamps of the Everglades. Taking an airboat ride in the Florida Everglades swamp land and an ecosystem is unlike any other in the world. Similar ecosystems, like he Amazon, Nile Basinand the Mississippi River Delta all differ from one another in many ways. However, one unifying factor is the presence of significant freshwater rainfall near an ocean or other saltwater body. This flow of fresh water from rivers into salt water creates a mixture called brackish water. Brackish water is home to a variety of flora and fauna found in the Florida Everglades 

The flow of nutrients and small mineral particles that flow into the Everglades serve as food for the small life forms that grow. Other semi-aquatic plant life found in the Everglades serve as a breeding ground and nursery for fish, birds, alligators, deer, bears, hogs, snakes and more.  

The Everglades is lush and green almost year-round due to the warm temperature and flow of fresh water created by the rains of about 60 inches are year annually.  

The total acreage of the Everglades (land and water) is 1,542,526 acres.  

About 1 million people visit the Everglades each year.  

Ready to explore this beautiful land? Our local captains will show you a great time. You’ll get the chance to see alligators, birds, and more. Our airboat tours are a thrill ride as well as an educational experience. There are many exciting anwonderful things to see on Captain Mitchs Airboat tours 

Come enjoy a fun trip out on the water exploring the Everglades on an airboat tour that leaves from Everglades City. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

Threatened and Endangered Species in the Everglades 

nesting seasonThe Everglades is home to thousands of species. We consider ourselves so lucky that airboat rides exist so we can explore the habitat of so many animals, plants, insects, birds, and more. Unfortunately, there are many species who are threatened or endangered in the Everglades.  

Thirty-nine native Florida species that may live in the Everglades (at some point) are federally listed as threatened, endangered, or are candidates for a listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. About 180 plant and animals species that occur in the Everglades are listed by Florida as threatened, endangered, species of special concern or commercially exploited.  

Right now, there is critical habitat is designated or propose for 10 of the 39 species in the Everglades and more than half of the Everglades is currently designated as a critical habitat for one or more species. A critical habitat is a legally-designated area that is deemed essential to the conservation of federally listed species. 

Here is a list of some species current standing in the Everglades: 

  • Cape Sable seaside sparrow – It is endangered and has a critical habitat in the Everglades.  
  • Wood stork – It is endangered and does not have a critical habitat in the Everglades.  
  • Everglades snail kite – It is endangered and has a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • Bartram’s scrub hairstreak – It is endangered and has a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • Florida bonneted bat – It is endangered and does not have a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • Florida panther – It is endangered and does not have a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • West Indian manatee – It is threatened and has a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • American alligator – It is threatened due to similarity of appearance and does not have a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • American crocodile – It is threatened and has a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • Loggerhead sea turtle – It is threatened and has a critical habitat in the Everglades. 
  • Florida bristle fern – It is endangered and does not have a critical habitat in the Everglades and there are no recent records of it in the Everglades.  
  • Red cockaded woodpecker It is endangered and does not have a critical habitat in the Everglades and there are no recent records of it in the Everglades. 

 

Because of the Endangered Species Act, the Everglades National Parks works are to improve protections for these species through different programs, status surveys, habitat management, and more.  

 

Come enjoy a fun trip out on the water exploring the Everglades on an airboat tour that leaves from Everglades City. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours  is open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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).  

To book an airboat trip in the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click Everglades airboat tour page. 

 

Everglades Fish Profile: The Gulf Toadfish 

Did you know there are about 300 different species of fish in the Everglades’ waters? For this article, we wanted to share information with you about the Gulf Toadfish, which is a fish that looks like it’s straight from pre-historic times. 

Gulf toadfish are anything but quiet. Wait, fish make sounds? Well, the Gulf toadfish is one of the few fish that can make a sound that humans can actually hear. Cool, right? 

Here are some more fun and interesting facts on this Gulf toadfish: 

  • The fish gets its name because the sounds it makes are toad-like grunts. 
  • This fish makenoises to attract a mate. 
  • These fish are in abundant quantities in the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades because it is not considered a game fish and known to be poor quality when it comes to eating. It has a slimy outside that can be toxic, so people avoid eating it. 
  • They are brown fish and they spend a lot of their time hiding in sand and seaweed.  
  • They prefer shallow waters. 
  • They are known to be a sluggish fish. They can live as deep as 820 feet in the water. 
  • They dart out from seaweed to attack prey. 
  • They can stay alive out of water for a decent amount of time. 
  • They lack scales. 
  • They can grow up to 12.8 inches in length and weigh up to one to three pounds. 
  • They are a bottom feeder fish feeding on crustaceans, annelids, mollusks, and gobies. 
  • Their slimy coating on their body can cause physical irritation to humans. 
  • This fish also goes by the names dogfish, mudfish, and oysterdog. 

Fishing is popular in the Everglades, but you must acquire the proper license and follow the fishing regulations in order to fish legally as not all fish can be caught.  

Take a ride through the Everglades on an airboat and see if you can spot any fish in the water. An airboat ride gives visitors an up-close look at the Everglades; visitors have the chance to spot many different animals, replies, fish, amphibians, flowers, and more. B 

Book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours today by calling 800-368-0065 or clicking our Everglades Airboat Tours page.  

Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private  Airboat Tours are the best Everglades airboat tours and 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). Check out our Facebook page or website for coupons, discounts, and promotions on airboat tours. 

Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

 

What to Wear and Bring During an Airboat Tour 

airboat tourCaptain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours are fun-filled airboat tour rides for adults and children. Since these rides are through the Everglades, it’s important to come prepared, so you have an enjoyable, comfortable trip and ride with us.  

Our airboat tours are year-round, which means we ride through different types of weather and environments. It can be hot, buggy, rainy, etc. Airboat tours are a lot of fun, no matter what time of year you decide to go.  

If you plan on taking an airboat tour in the spring, it can get pretty hot with temperatures in the 80s. It’s a good idea to wear shorts, tank tops, and sleeveless clothing. You may want to bring a light jacket or cardigan if the wind makes you cold.  

The summer is very hot and humid down here, so it’s a good idea to wear light clothing during the summer months. It can rain a lot in the summer, so you may want to bring a rain jacket and sneakers with you to keep dry.  

The fall is cooler than summer but there are still plenty of warm days. You may decide to wear longer sleeves or pants depending on the day but try to choose clothing that won’t make you too hot or too cold.  

Winter isn’t cold in the Everglades, but it is a lot more comfortable. You may want to bring heavier clothing to keep warm from the wind on the ride.  

Other things to bring on an airboat tour: 

  • Sunglasses 
  • Hat 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Water 
  • Bug spray  
  • Poncho 
  • Umbrella 
  • Snacks (for before or after the airboat ride).  

It’s important to pay attention to the weather on the day of your trip so you can come better prepared. If you have more questions on what to wear or what to bring on one our our airboat tours, give us a call at 800-368-0065. 

To book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours, call 800-368-0065 or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private  Airboat Tours are the best Everglades airboat tours and 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). Check out our Facebook page or website for coupons, discounts, and promotions on airboat tours.