The American alligator, sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile native to the Southeastern United States, with a small population in Mexico.

Alligators are an apex predator, one that has popularized popular culture and frequently appears on the news, typically attached to a crazy story coming out of Florida. Alligators appear in multiple places around the continental United States, but they’re most predominantly known for living in Florida because of the Everglades and a large number of swamps.

But gators don’t stay confined to the swampy areas. They can be found roaming pretty much all over the state. You might see an alligator swimming in a puddle on a crowded intersection or even visiting your neighbor’s swimming pool.

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Except perhaps for alligators, few animals are associated more with Florida than the dolphin. At Vacanza Rentals, we don’t want to write about where you can see dolphins in captivity. In SWFL you can experience them up close in the canal outside your vacation villa OR when out on your rental boat on The Gulf of Mexico. Swimming with or feeding dolphins can be dangerous for both human and dolphin and should not be attempted.

Several dolphin species occur in Florida costal waters. Dolphins cooperate in many ways, some species more than others. As a group they may guard against predation by sharks or support a sick or injured community member in the water by keeping it afloat.

The most common dolphin in Florida waters is the bottle-nosed dolphin. Bottlenose dolphins have robust, powerful bodies that are blue-gray on top with lighter sides and bellies.



Manatees roam the waters of Florida from April through October, but when things get a bit chilly, they head to places like freshwater Florida springs, where the temperatures remain constant throughout the year.

It may not seem warm when you jump into a freshwater spring, but the water temperatures remain around 70 degrees, which is perfect for manatees in Florida who need that kind of warmth to survive.

Seeing a large number of Florida manatees in one place is an amazing experience, but just remember these gentle sea cows are there for survival. Whether you’re on a solo kayaking trip or a manatee swim tour, always mind your “Manatee Manners”— look, but don’t touch.

In the waters close to Fort Myers and Cape Coral, there are a lot of so called manatee zones when out boating. This means to go slow so that you don’t accidently run over the very large and very slow manatee. If you are lucky enough to get close to a manatee you will probably see a lot of scarring on their backs from propellers. So, take it slow.


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