“Has anybody ever died doing this?” I asked our Cuban tour guide.

“Yes!” he shouts, as the noisy air boat lifts into the air and then crashes back down again onto the murky river.

As the water poured aboard, I gripped even more firmly onto the side of the boat, before lifting my feet in the air, to prevent them getting drenched.

Baby alligator in the Everglades, Miami, Florida
Baby alligator in the Everglades, Miami, Florida

Now I could think of many creative ways of dying – but falling into alligator infested waters and being eaten alive by the giant reptile is certainly not one I’d like to experience.

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Our trusty guide soon reassured the group that if we fall into the water, we WOULDN’T be eaten – at least not straight away, he said: “If she’s hungry, the alligator will most likely drag you to the bottom of the water and wait until you drown. Then, she will eat you.”

He laughed, but was being serious.

Not the smartest topic to talk about during an Everglades tour, but it certainly stopped us putting our arms and feet outside the boat… Well, kind of?

For $25 dollars, we got to explore the Everglades and get up super close to one of the longest living predators on the planet, alongside some equally aggressive (but less dangerous) wildlife…

Lee Walpole almost pecked to death by little bird creature during Everglades tour, Miami
Lee Walpole almost pecked to death by little bird creature during Everglades tour, Miami (Pic: Ian Lilley)

“During sunshine hours, gators don’t actually do much.” Our guide tells us while circling one of the female beasts and flicking mud at it.

“They like to sunbathe all day to consume energy, before coming to life at night” he said – immediately reminding me of one of my ex-girlfriends.

Fortunately, in my case getting ‘eaten alive’ wasn’t literal… but for most animals which live in the Everglades – one night with an alligator, will be their last.

The tour lasts about 40 minutes and despite how I may have sold my experience, it was actually great fun and I’d love to do it again.

Sitting with an alligator in the Everglades, Miami, Florida (Pic: Ian Lilley)
Sitting with an alligator in the Everglades, Miami, Florida (Pic: Ian Lilley)

Special thanks to BuffuloTiger Air Boat tours for hosting such a fantastic tour.

This post was written by Lee Walpole
on May 31, 2017