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  • What I Learned About Alligators

    Posted by Jonathan on August 14th, 2011 (All posts by )

    When I first saw this alligator it was lying motionless, half out of the water, maybe ten feet away from where it was in the picture and facing the opposite direction. It looked lazy. Then I turned around to talk to someone for a few moments. When I looked again the gator had moved to the spot in the picture and was again motionless. No one had heard or seen it move. It was just there. Spooky. I have heard that they can be very quick, and I believe it. They are usually not aggressive towards humans, and I think it was simply moving under the road, from one side to the other, via the concrete channel it was in. Nevertheless, in the future I am going to try not to turn my back on them.

    An American alligator rests in a shallow pool in Everglades National Park, Florida, with only its eyes and nostrils exposed above the water's surface. (Jonathan Gewirtz)

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    8 Responses to “What I Learned About Alligators”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      Reptiles. Don’t trust them. Assume they are hostile.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “Reptiles. Don’t trust them. Assume they are hostile.”

      Sort of like Liberals.

    3. Gerry from Valpo Says:

      They are usually not aggressive towards hu…….CHOMP!

    4. John Wolfsberger, Jr. Says:

      Do NOT, EVER, turn your back on a ‘gator.

    5. mark† Says:

      I have read that they can outrun a man in a sprint of 30 yards on land and reach speeds of 35 mph. Also, think of them lunging out of the water to grab prey and drag it back under the water. They are dangerous.

    6. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      “No one had heard or seen it move.”
      That’s scary.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      I don’t want to exaggerate the risk. I once went on a “swamp walk” with this guy, and it was a fantastic experience that I recommend highly if you’re in the area. He has spent decades working in the swamps. He said that gators generally avoid people, but he also told us how a gator once attacked his canoe and said it’s not wise for people to be in gator habitat at night. I took the above picture in a park where there are lots of gators and human visitors and, AFAIK, few problems. Gators are very cool to see if you have any interest in nature, but it’s prudent to treat them with respect and not to forget that they are wild predators.

    8. Bill Brandt Says:

      …and compared to an Australian salt water crocodile or Nile crocodile these FL alligators are like pussycats.

      I remember visiting Cairns, at the base of the York peninsula in northern Australia – beautiful place – more tropical than Hawaii – but all along the shore are signs warning people of the crocs.

      The scene in Crocodile Dundee where the croc leaps out of the water to grab him happened to a fisherman around Darwin in a boat – as he stood up to cast a croc leaped up to grab his arm and pull him under.

      Fortunately he had the presence of mind to yank his arm out before the beast could lock his jaws –

      Some of those Australian crocs get over 20 feet.