This guy

alligatorThis is the only “erderator” (18-month-old speak from more years ago than I am strong enough to count) we saw during our trip to the Sunshine State.

First a disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on alligators. From what I’ve been told they CAN show up just about anywhere in Fla but they usually stick to their preferred habitat, which is the swampier inland areas. If you are hanging out on the gulf coast, like we were, especially the built-up, populated areas, you don’t have to walk around warily watching for alligators. My s-i-l’s house is in that area and I really didn’t think about alligators at all during my walks in her beautiful neighborhood. Not even close to as much as I think about skunks when I walk in my neighborhood on the Planet Ann Arbor.

Ed and Suze told us some cautionary tales about encountering large alligators when nosing their smaller boat into some swampy areas but, generally speaking if you are a tourist staying on the gulf coast and you want to see alligators, you go to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens or drive an hour or so inland to Myakka State Park if you want to see them in the wild. We have gone to both of those places a couple of times (don’t ask me about biorhythms). I have to admit that BOTH times we went to Myakka, it was cloudy and a bit chilly (for Fla) and we did not see many gators. This was a really short trip and we didn’t have time for Myakka. There was some talk about the jungle gardens but in the end we headed north about mid-day Thursday. We were scheduled to meet up with my niece and her BF (and cat) that evening in Gainesville and I guess I figured we weren’t going to see any gators this time around and I was okay with that. You do what you do and the doggamn “R” word seems a weeeeeee bit more interesting after this trip (but just a weeeee bit, because getting back to work today was wonderful in its own way, not to mention money…).

And then. We were approaching Gainesville on a secondary highway north of Micanopy (which we drove through – slowly – but didn’t stop), and we were crossing a great big swamp (or something) that seemed to be part of Paynes Prairie Preserve and there was a big walkway at the side of the road, so we stopped. When we got to the end of the walkway, we looked down and saw the guy in the photo. Or maybe it’s female. I was happy to be up on a large and sturdy structure and wouldn’t know how to sex an alligator anyway.

By the way, although I was not nervous about meeting alligators walking around Gainesville, my niece reported that alligators have been known to use some of the University of Florida campus walkways there to get to wherever they are going. She did NOT seem to be freaked out about that. Much less freaked out than I am about skunks in my loverly Planet Ann Arbor neighborhood.

One Response to “This guy”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Do you have to look at their bellies to tell the sex or am I thinking of crabs? 😉 I don’t care for them at all and would be fine never seeing them. I was the same about bears and moose in Alaska. I’m not a dangerous animal lover!