Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

July 20, 2011

The Snail Kite

This bird has no luck!
It was chased out of its ancestral home in Lake Okeechobee by severe drought and severe greed by those who drained the lake over countless protests.
Water levels on Okeechobee declined to the point where the Snail Kite and its primary food source, the Apple Snail, could no longer survive.
So the beleaguered Snail Kite went north and found a new home on Lake Toho, where surprisingly it began to flourish, for a while.
But once again, humans interfered.
The local boaters angry about Hydrilla in the lake that were causing their boats to sputter, asked FWS to step in and eliminate the bothersome plant.
This plant however, is the favorite food of the Apple Snail, which is the favorite food of the Snail Kite.
So, you see the problem?
Instead of wiping out the plant population completely, a compromise plan was devised to try to keep the peace and a balance between the two.
Surviving that dilemma for the moment, now comes a new human attack that will most likely force the Kite out of its new home permanently.
This new invader comes in the form of Airboat Tours on the lake.
The plan is to have at least 20 of them running every day, all filled with tourists.
If you have never heard these things running, think of standing next to a jackhammer or a wood chipper.
The local homeowners are angry because they have beautiful homes on the lake which up until now, has been peaceful and quiet.
While the homeowners will probably not die from the hideous noises and the huge crowds, the same cannot be said for the Snail Kite.
If this Airboat Tours business is permitted to set up shop on Lake Toho, it will be the end of the Kite, which has been run out of town before by humans with little concern for their welfare.
If you live near Lake Toho and are able, perhaps you might wish to show up at the next Commission Meeting on September 19th, that will decide whether this group will be allowed to begin the end of an Endangered wildlife and the tranquility of a beautiful wild area.
Read about the Airboat Tours Issue here:
Residents Fight to Stop Tourist Attraction on Lake Toho

If you do plan on attending the next meeting, here is contact information:
Osceola County Government  407 742-2000
County Commissioner: Frank Attkisson District 4 - Lake Toho
The last meeting to address the Airboat Tours Issue was held July 18th and was then continued for 60 days.
See the meeting results live here:
The next meeting to address this subject will be September 19th at 5:30 PM
in Commission Chambers (4th Floor)
I Courthouse Square
Kissimmee, Florida
Let's All Be There in September!


  1. Imagine my surprise when my wife and I stopped to inspect the recently (Tropical Storm Debbie) refilled Alligator Lake near downtown Lake City Fl (about 35 miles north of Gainesville.)

    There on the dock railing was a female snail kite! I was so surprised that I initially tried to convince myself it was a Marsh Hawk but we watched it capture several Apple snails, extract them from their shells and eat them.

    I took several pictures with my cell phone and if anyone would to see them I will post them on my Imagevent site and post the link in a bit.

    Here is the link:



    Eric G. Taylor
    Lake City FL

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