While most people expect to see a variety of fish, birds, and amphibians on an airboat ride in Orlando, the careful observer may also see a variety of native mammals while on our tour. Since these are wild animals, who do not perform on command, we are never sure who will show up during each Orlando airboat ride. The vast variety keeps it exciting for our captain and our visitors alike.
If you see an animal about the size of a cat with a hard-leathery skin, then you may have spotted an armadillo. Armadillos have nine breaks in their skin that allow them the flexibility needed to move exceedingly quickly. Their ideal habitat is loose soil because it is easier for them to build their elaborate burrows that often have more than one entrance. Armadillos are usually nocturnal, but you will sometimes see one hunting insects or their favorite plants during the day.
Another elusive mammal that our guests sometimes get to see is a beaver. You may even see one busy building a dam that they gladly share with other animals, including turtles, fish, and waterfowl. If you get to see one, then pay attention to their broad tail that they use as a propeller or rudder. They also have webbed back feet, which helps them move through the water rapidly. Most trees that beavers fell are only 1-to-6-inches in diameter, but they are often seen eating tender vegetation.
Look very carefully, and you may see a bobcat. If you visit from August to March, you may even see a mother bobcat teaching her young to hunt squirrels, rats, and rabbits. Since they usually only sleep about two hours at a time, it is not unusual to see them in swamps and thickets during the daytime as they use this type of ecosystem to protect them from their predators.
Fox squirrels get their name because they look like small foxes, but they are smaller. Unlike most squirrels, these mammals spend most of their time on the ground. They often try to outrun their predators, even when a tree is available for climbing. There are four subspecies of fox squirrels that live in Florida with Central Florida being home to Sherman's Fox Squirrel. It is one of the most endangered animals in the state.
The marsh rabbit looks like a cottontail bunny, but it has a small gray-brown tail. Unlike most rabbits, the marsh rabbit prefers to live in wet areas, and it is a powerful swimmer. They are most active at night, but you can see them at any time of day.
Going on an airboat ride in Orlando brings you close to many types of mammals. Call Switchgrass Outfitters & Airboat Tours today to make the arrangements. You will love the safety of this airboat and its knowledgeable captain.