Most people don’t think about raccoons when they picture the marshes of Cartagena. However, it is actually very common to see raccoon families on your airboat tour. Typically, raccoons are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are active at night. However, in tierra bajas, it is the tide that greatly influences their schedule. So, it is not unusual to see them active in the middle of the day!
The raccoons also tend to be a bit smaller than the raccoons found in the North. This is possibly due in part to our warmer climate. You may also see a….
Although it is highly unlikely that you would see a panther on your airboat tour through the Western areas, these majestic cats do make their home in the Pineland habitat further east. Currently, there are 20,000 acres of pineland protected ecosystems are characterized by shallow, dry sandy loam over limestone, covered almost exclusively by slash pines.
Panthers have a tawny, pale brown color, with white stomachs. Panthers’ noses, tail tips, and places behind their ears are all dark brown or black. These large cats are long and slender, with shorter legs and ears. Panthers’ paws have strong, thick pads. An average sized male panther would be about seven feet long, from its nose to its tail. Most male panthers weigh about 120 to 170 pounds, while females weigh about 80 to 120 pounds.
Did you know that when you see an alligator, you are basically looking at a dinosaur? These amazing reptiles have been described as “living fossils”, since they have been in existence for 200 million years, beginning in the Mesozoic Era. The alligator, as we see it today, evolved in the Cretaceous period, about 80 million years ago! They have successfully adapted to their ecological niche, and have remained basically unchanged since this time.
You’ll often see alligators basking in the sun, keeping an eye out for their next big catch. At night you’ll hear their roars echo throughout the swamp.
Alligators are not a creature you want to contend with. A large adult American alligator weighs an average of 800 pounds, and is about 13 feet long. However, they can grow to 14.5 feet long and weigh over 1,000 pounds! The largest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 17 feet 5 inches (according to the Everglades National Park website).