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Alligators Hate the Cold: Searching for Gators in Myakka River State Park

alligator myakka lakeThe first thing I learned on my airboat ride in Florida’s Myakka River State Park was that alligators hate the cold. I guess that’s why most of them live in Florida. But Florida can get colder than their liking too, and on those chilly days they prefer to stay under water.

Myakka Lake

Where are all the gators in Upper Myakka Lake?

And February 13th just happened to be one of those days. It was 65F, and and the captain said that with the windchill it felt like 45F, and the alligators wouldn’t like that. I didn’t know that alligators even knew about the windchill factor.

Of course, the captain announced that we would probably wouldn’t see any alligators after the boat pulled away from the dock. Not that an earlier confession would have made a difference. We had driven 40 minutes from Sarasota and we were going on that ride on the “Gator Gal” around Upper Myakka Lake.

myakka boat

The airboat

So most of the 600-700 alligators were allegedly submerged under water. (I say allegedly because I certainly wasn’t going to go snorkeling to find out if the captain was telling the truth!) But the captain did a great job tracking down the gators that hadn’t checked the weather report.

We saw a few hearty souls that came up for a surface swim and some even braver reptiles that lounged around the shore, like that menacing fellow pictured up top.

swimming alligatorWe probably saw about eight alligators. It would have been more fun had we seen more, but it was still a nice (if breezy!) excursion and I learned a lot of facts about alligators, most of which I promptly forgot.

But one fact that I do remember is that that alligators only eat at night unless they see an easy meal, like an injured bird. Um, that doesn’t sound like they only eat at night to me. I’ll continue to avoid alligators day and night — unless I go on a boat ride specifically to look for them, that is.

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11 Responses to Alligators Hate the Cold: Searching for Gators in Myakka River State Park

  1. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
    Twitter: andiperullo
    March 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I’ll continue to avoid them as well! 😉
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..FAQ’s About My Upcoming Wedding Part 3

  2. Sophie
    Twitter: SophieR
    March 17, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    How interesting. I’ve never heard of Myakka River. Is that near the Everglades, then?
    Like the photo of that alligator gliding into the river. Must have been cool to see.
    Sophie recently posted..Open-minded Oslo

  3. Angela
    Twitter: angelacorrias
    April 3, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    Come on, how come you didn’t have the curiosity to verify the capitain’s words by yourself by plunging in the water infested by alligators??
    So reassuring that they eat only at night, phew, I’ll feel much safer if I meet one at noon! 😛
    Angela recently posted..A trip- a photo – Man vs Nature

  4. Marsha April 3, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Yeah, I think I’ll stay away from the gators too. Pretty brave going an a gator viewing tour, in my opinion. :)
    Marsha recently posted..Weekend Intelligence- April 2-3- 2011

  5. Vera Marie Badertscher
    Twitter: pen4hire
    April 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Reminds me of the time in Florida I was trying to get a picture of some birds standing in the water. I focused in, backed slowly away, and happened to look behind me just before I got within two feet of an alligator lying in the grass. Apparently he wasn’t hungry, because he just kept snoozing as I retreated. That was a close enough view to last me for a Lon-n-n-ng time.

  6. Nicole
    Twitter: njdurbin
    April 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    I always thought it’d be fun to take an airboat ride through gator country. That’s great you still got to seem some, despite the cold temps!
    Nicole recently posted..When what we seek is closer than we think

  7. Laura
    Twitter: gomexicoguide
    April 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    I went on a boat tour in southern Mexico and we saw a few. It’s frightening getting so close, but a neat experience at the same time. One day I’d love to do a tour similar to this one in the states.
    Laura recently posted..Weekend Links

  8. rita wechter April 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    I’ve never heard of Myakka River State Park but will check it out the next time I’m in Florida. Florida has wonderful state parks, full of wildlife. On a trip to Wakulla Springs State Park in the panhandle I took a boat ride and saw alligators, turtles and scores of exotic birds.
    You can check out my blog post about Wakulla Springs under the March 2011 tab of my website.

  9. Sofia - As We Travel April 30, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    Cool experience, I didn’t know that they were so sensitive to the weather..!
    Sofia – As We Travel recently posted..The Biggest Music Festivals in Florida

  10. Graham GlobalGrasshopper
    Twitter: globalgrasshopr
    May 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Great experience! And that’s one boat you don’t ever want to fall out of!!
    Graham GlobalGrasshopper recently posted..Top 10 cool and unusual hotels in Barcelona

  11. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    January 26, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    Ooh, this isn’t too far from us. Maybe we can make it a family outing, although we may wait until the weather warms up a bit and the crocs come out.

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