A customer recently emailed us an exciting photo she took from her Airboat Ride on Sunday with Captain John. Stacey and her husband got to experience a thrilling sight to see of two large and equally sized bull gators fighting in the wild! Here is what they wrote:
“Sunday morning (around 11am) we had the privilege of the finest display of gators on Lake Jessup. This was our 5th ride in the past year, and we enjoyed more sightings than all our prior trips combined X 10!!! My wife Stacy got this great picture from the far side of the lake. From a short distance, Capt John thought the wound may be a gunshot, but as we got close it was clear the large male was engaged in a big struggle with the equally large male in the water and had suffered a gash to his back. They had each others leg in their mouth and as we passed by – they engaged in a fierce display of combat. John did an excellent job of letting them have their space and allowing us to see this spectacular exhibit from a safe distance. Definitely a trip to remember.
Hopefully you enjoy the photo as much as we did the trip!All the best and we’ll see you soon.”
Now for the spectacular photo taken by Stacey on Sunday, April 7th 2013:
Why do alligators fight?
April marks the beginning of alligator mating season. Although these fascinating creatures do not have vocal chords; a male gator will attract a female by bellowing loudly and sometimes by blowing bubbles in the water. These loud “roars” also serve as a way to ward off competition from other male alligators. What you see here in the photo above is two large males competing with each other in order to court a female or defend his territory.
Alligators are quick to display their dominance over other males. They fight by biting, thrashing and rolling until one retreats or is killed. This is one reason why alligators in captivity are known for having a longer lifespan than their counterparts in the wild. Stacey and her husband were absolutely thrilled to witness such an event on their airboat ride and were kind enough to share it with everyone. Thank you Stacey!
About alligator mating season
Alligator mating season begins in April. When you take an airboat ride your captain will be quick to point out the various nesting locations for you to view. Female alligators build nests of sticks, mud and vegetation to lay 20 to 50 eggs. The gender of the hatchlings depends on the temperature during incubation. You can tell the sex of an alligator before it hatches based on the temperature near the nest. High temperatures of 90° to 93°F (32°to 34°C) during incubation will result in a male alligator, while lower temperatures of 82°to 86°F (28°to 30°C) will produce a female.
Black Hammock airboat rides are located on Lake Jesup where you can witness alligator courtship and hear the mating calls from male gators as they search for a prospective female. Lake Jesup is known to have the largest alligator population in all of Florida. When you take an airboat ride during this time you will also have a chance to see the baby gators swimming around from last season! It is an exciting experience and fun for the whole family!