People who grew up here tell me as recently as the 1970’s alligators were rarely seen. Now they are coming back and making life interesting in these suburbs. The whole place is full of waterways so this girl could show up anywhere, anytime. But she’s just a baby.
I ran into a monster.
I was walking down to the Anclote with a realtor, a couple of friends and their dog. Away from the others, I followed the dog along a path, taking in the nice woodland along the river, some old trees with big orchids in them. The dog abruptly changed direction and went back past me. Had he been looking at something? I heard a sound like a long breath and slowly saw the gator in the tall grass just a little beyond my arm’s length away. The path I was on led right to it. This gator was the biggest I have seen outside of Collier Co.
They are so otherworldly and so still that they don’t look alive when they are out of the water. At that size it was old, maybe 50 years, maybe 700 pounds. This one had come through the bad old days before protection. I heard the breath again and realized I was being hissed at. I took myself back up the path.
Made me think. How many places have things in the yard that can eat you? Not just bite or sting you but actually take you as prey. It would be a unique way to die. Humans just don’t get killed and eaten much anymore.
Gators are one of the interesting things about living in this place. I have never heard roar of the alligator. When I find out where they are sounding off I am going to make a trip.