Friday, July 19, 2013

See ya later, alligator!

A block from where I was staying a couple of weeks ago, I saw one of these signs. Well, okay.
I ran around to the side of the canal and looked over the short fence. They weren't kidding.
This particular canal was frequented (that I saw, anyway) by three smallish alligators about a a couple of feet long, a larger one that was about six feet long, and by a whopper that was a good eight feet.
 
The turtles were partly camouflaged by the muck in the water, but kept their heads up when a gator came around.
I was surprised that some of the birds were willing to sit so close to the water.  Sure, there had to be plenty of bugs, but didn't this also put them in easy range of the alligators? I noticed, however, that they'd move to higher branches when there was trouble swimming by.
Trouble like this guy. See the rounded back of that big turtle on the right? You would not catch me that close.
Not a problem - I had no interest in feeding or harassing. The strange thing was that the fences were only short lengths, with easy access out of the canal on either side. In fact, one person told me that earlier in the week a gator had been spotted in the road. I kept my eyes open each time I approached, checking the brush in the area before getting to close. But I was drawn back over and over, a few times a day. Of course, I'm the sort of person who had a pet python.
video
My second day there, I caught this alligator on video.  The first minute is slow, then it gets a little crazy as I am startled by the gator's sudden lunge at his prey.  I emailed it to a friend of mine and he said, "Was that you cursing at the end?"  Well, if you counting laughing and saying, "Holy shit!" as cursing, then yes.
Big, primitive killing machines.  I find them fascinating.

31 comments:

  1. ha. glad you did not harass or feed them with a slip of your foot...smiles...we used to get them when i lived in florida...they got my cat but she escaped...lived another 10 years after that...teeth scars on her legs...

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    1. I'm glad, too! I hear they take out a fair number of little dogs in Florida.

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  2. Good grief! I knew there was a reason I lived up here...at least our grizzly don't lurk in the mud waiting for us to come by.

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    1. They're just doing what they are programmed to do.

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    2. This animated film falls into this conversation nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdL17lg-GUw#at=14

      Sorry I couldn't give you an imbedded link.

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  3. I think that you are quite adventurous to go so close to them!

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  4. The one time we went to SC, I was shocked by the places that had small ponds with alligators roaming freely around. And no fences!

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    1. Most of the canals weren't fenced. I think they put up the small stretch just to give people a place to stand.

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  5. Oh no....did he get what he was after. That scared the crap out of me. My dad's place has a sign up but my dad told me he put them up at the small pond because they once had one there but it's not normal. I could never live near them.

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    1. I think so - he seemed to be chewing something afterwards.

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  6. They are strange beasties, primitive as you say. And the faces always look human to me.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. They are fascinating. And terrifying! I saw one once wandering around in a parking lot in Florida. All the tourists were standing at a safe distance taking pictures and no one could get to their car until it left. Very scary creatures.

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    1. They aren't apparently, quite as aggressive as crocodiles, but I still like to keep my distance.

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  8. wow, they are quite the creatures! it's hard to imagine feeling comfortable around them then i remember i don't get very bent out of shape about 500 lb black bears in my yard.

    catching up on all the posts i've missed here since you and i were at our respective beaches. it is indeed easy to get inot vacation pattern so quickly. i am fighting my way back to daily life pattern. compassion fatigue....thanks for the reminder. and walden? i agree thoreau can be both inspiring and irritating as all hell. i read a book on vacation you may enjoy though if you like a less pompous mindset on the value of simplicity and nature (in fact i described it elsewhere as an unpretentious modern day walden). there's a porcupine in my outhouse by michael tougias. it was a quick and enjoyable read.

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    1. I think you get used to whatever big predators live nearby. Because what else can you do?

      I will definitely look that book up, thanks!

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  9. I look at these guys and the only thing I can think of is how good they'd taste if they were properly cooked. I've only had alligator once and honestly, it just tasted like pork.

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    1. I don't eat pork, so that isn't appealing to me.

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  10. Fascinating but to be kept well away from. They mean business. And it's easy not to identify them when all you can see is what looks like a large log floating in the water.

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    1. That's their secret - stay well camouflaged!

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  11. Oh to have that level of patience before I eat my meal. You replied above that it was chewing something. Do you know what it ate? Great video clip but National Geographic would probably be disappointed that you got to excited at the big moment.

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    1. No idea? There were plenty of turtles around, but I also know they'll eat smaller gators. And National Geographic wasn't paying me, so they'd have no right to complain.

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  12. WOW! Reading this post and viewing your photos of the gator's, reminded me of the years I spent living in Florida - they're everywhere!!!

    "In fact, one person told me that earlier in the week a gator had been spotted in the road."

    Yup...I've seen them on the road as well. And also on a golf course, just lying there in the sun.

    It's ironic that for an animal that moves so slowly, when it attacks, it moves at the speed of light.

    "Big, primitive killing machines. I find them fascinating."

    Me as well!

    Super photos, girl!

    X

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    1. I'm seen them out and about other places. In the Okefenokee I was so sure they were fake that I kicked one!

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  13. Every year around here you hear of an alligator or two being euthanized because they ate someone's wee doggie! But if owners of wee doggies kept them from dashing about in areas known to have gators there'd be no need for such extreme measures. They were here first after all, and are just doing what they're wired to do---dinner runs past? You follow it, then swallow it! I'm fascinated by them too. Love to go to a certain park down in Tampa with my camera, in hopes of finding them out and about. There's a boardwalk all around so you're above them and not in any danger. Your video made me jump!

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    1. You are a fool if you live near gators or other big predators and don't keep your pets contained. They should not put an alligator down for that.

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  14. That jump startled me! I can see why you are fascinated by alligators. They are very good at what they do.

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