Friday, February 7, 2014

CAMERA CRITTERS AND SATURDAY'S CRITTERS

I am joining Misty's Camera Critters and Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  Thank you for hosting these great memes ladies.

This is an alligator post from our trip to the Everglades.  We last visited several years ago in the spring and I don't ever remember the number of gators then that we saw on our latest trip.  


They seem to be thriving.


It is around this time that they start looking for mates and in the undergrowth, what we at first thought all those years ago as very loud frogs, were in fact the sound of alligators calling to each other.  It is a very surreal sound.  We heard similar sounds on our recent visit, though they weren't quite as noisy.  


There were two alligators right next to the trail we were walking on.


On either side.  You really had to be aware of your surroundings.


Do you see the Great Blue Heron on the left of the picture below?









I felt pretty safe when I saw this large group at the end of one of the boardwalks, which was overlooking them from above.


We really did think that a few of the tourists were getting too close to get a photo op.   I came across a man whom I thought was very unwise.  He was asking his wife to take photographs of him with their two young children by one of the alligators right next to the trail.  I couldn't hear what she was saying but I could tell by her expression and the sound of her voice that she wasn't happy.  A photo was taken quickly.  Later as she and I were walking towards each other along the same path, we were passing the spot where the two alligators were on each side.  We both were 'tight-rope' walking swiftly in the middle of the path, and as we looked at each other while keeping an eye on the alligators, in the universal language of the eye-roll we spoke volumes, smiled and laughed a little uncomfortably as we passed one another, and walked on in the opposite direction.


They are wonderful creatures, however, and it was awesome seeing them in their own natural habitat. You just have to be sensible and treat them with the utmost respect.  


As I walked by this big fellow I remembered the Ranger telling someone that they aren't as slow as they look, they can run 20 miles per hour on land.  


So, it is important not to take them for granted.  Sleepy they may look but not really.   You just have to use your common sense and don't do the ridiculous things that I have read people do.  Many of these photos were taken with a zoom lens by the way.


We had a tremendous time making our way along the Anhinga Trail,  and and also walking along the boardwalk.  They are an incredible sight to see.  


On the whole at no time did I feel unsafe, wary but not unsafe, though as I said before you have to use your common sense. Frankly and you may think I am being super overly cautious when I say this,  I wouldn't want to take very young children here, no energetic toddlers who like to run here there and everywhere.  I did see 12-13 year olds being escorted by Park Rangers and I thought that was fine.  I saw none of the alligators walking on the path as I've seen in photos online.  They all seemed as though they were resting or sleeping ....


but several had their eyes open, and seemed as interested in us as we were in them.


I look forward to the next time we come here.


You feel like prehistoric times haven't disappeared at all.


"Never insult an alligator until you have crossed the river."
~Author unknown~