We’re Going on a Gator Hunt

We’re backroaders, which means that whenever we have the time to move from one place to another without using the Interstate, we go for it. When you’re backroaders, you get to see parts of the country that interstaters fly past. What we wanted to see in this case were the gators.

People told us alligators were everywhere!

Of course, we were also told that bears were everywhere in Yellowstone and Glacier, and we didn’t see as much as a single bear hair! We were dubious about the gators, but hopeful.

Apparently, the cold weather in Florida that kept the Floridians off the beaches was the same weather that kept the gators away from everywhere. We hunted and hunted and hunted.

There was a gator that used to live in the pond on this property where we camped for a few days. Jedi kept a close watch.

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The little gator watchers are growing doubtful.

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Is it? Could it be?

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No, it’s only Jedi who snuck off for a quick swim and an alligator hunt. All he earned for his efforts was a cold bath, since we didn’t have a water heater yet.

Finally, as we headed toward one of our last Florida churches near the end of our two months here, we saw it. A big ol’ gator sunning itself on the bank of a drainage ditch alongside the road. We couldn’t go back, but we pulled off the road first chance we found and went gator hunting.

We saw this tiny little fella first. His name is Squeaky.

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Alligators are hard to see, which is one thing that makes them dangerous. Their powerful jaws and enormous, sharp teeth are also contributing factors. Here’s a close-up:

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For a little perspective, Emily, a girl of many talents, is simultaneously doing her Shaggy impression and pointing out the mini-gator who is hidden among the water foliage.

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Then we saw this sneaky guy on the other end of the basin. Can you see him? I can’t either, and I know where he is! They are masters of camouflage.

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We moved on when he slithered into the water closer to us and then disappeared.

Then we saw this beauty swimming right toward us. Of course we named him. Meet Lyle. I know Lyle the Alligator doesn’t really sound that great, and the literary Lyle is a crocodile, but nobody would go for Alvin the Alligator, so Lyle it is. {Legal disclosure: affiliate link.}

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Lyle put on a bit of a show.

Here he shows his pearly whites, which were kinda brownish-yellow with a hint of slimy green, to be honest.

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Brush your teeth, Lyle!

Sorry these pictures aren’t better. Through a series of mishaps at St. Joseph’s Island, the camera zoom doesn’t work anymore, and nobody would volunteer to wade into the water for a close-up. Bunch o’ chickens.

That brings up an interesting point. Were we in danger?

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Yes and no. First of all, rest assured that we keep risk down to a reasonable level. Second, most of the gators along the roads and near the towns are so small that they are only dangerous to small dogs, which we don’t have. We do, however, have a small child, so we kept her up high. The big gators are in less populated areas. If they’re seen in the populated areas, like at Macy’s or Cracker Barrel, they are removed.

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On the other hand, we were in danger from these little buggers, fire ants, which Christy ironically stepped in while looking for gators. Ouchie-wawa!

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The Floridian fire ants didn’t seem to be quite as vicious as those in Texas, but they seemed to be less immediately noticeable and more abundant, and they certainly did their fair share of damage.

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Don’t go gator hunting in sandals.

Here’s a mass fire ant graveyard. We haven’t figured this one out yet.

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The all-knowing, but oft-inaccurate “they” say that you’re not supposed to feed the wild gators. In fact, the story goes that one man fed a gator regularly, and one day brought a friend to look at his habituated gator. The man didn’t bring food that time. The gator, accustomed to the man’s bringing him something to eat, ate his friend.

Is that a true story? Dunno. We do know that would be a convenient way to get rid of enemies, but that goes against the whole “love your enemy” principle, so…bad idea.

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We still would have liked to see the big ol’ gators, from a safe distance, of course, but for now, this will do. This will definitely do.

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Hooray, we saw gators!

[Legal disclosure: this post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you shop through this link, we will receive a portion of the proceeds at no cost to you. We will not use it to buy alligator food.]

Comments

  1. Terey

    OM! He was right there I saw his head YIKES run for the hills!
    We as truck drivers call those back roads ” two lanes”
    Haha
    Have a great day you guys n gals!
    😀
    Terey

    1. You have a great day, too!

  2. I forgot to say I can’t believe no one would wade in the pond, drink, hole with water
    To get a close up for us you KNOW we as bystanders of true grit stories need pics!
    🙂
    More pics plz!
    Hugs
    Terey

    1. I know, what kind of travel journalists are we if we won’t sacrifice a limb or two, or at least a good number of digits, for a good shot! 😉

      1. No no not a
        Whole limb just a
        Big toe would suffice 😀

        Safe travels,

        Still stuck In Pahrump
        Terey

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