Close Encounter

JT / T&KU! Wild American Alligator 3-2019 Florida  Click image to read more about the encounter
JT / T&KU! Wild American Alligator 3-2019 Florida Click image to read more about the encounter

One thing I like to do is photograph wildlife and every now and then I even get to help some wildlife research friends tag alligators for research and tracking. I was born in Lakeland, Florida and love freshwater lakes and rivers but when I took these when I was just out on a hike for fun. I have taken thousands of photographs of alligators over the years, but these photos are my favorites so far and wanted to share them with you with some information about the pictures:

It is a Wild American Alligator that lives near in a place called Lake Apopka which is one of my favorites places to go and just hang out.

On March-3-2019 I was sitting on a bank relaxing watching birds and enjoying the sunrise with my camera, coffee and a danish.  Now the white area in the photographs is a service road with water reservoirs on either side. After about 5 minutes of watching birds, I heard a squishing sound behind me, like when you walk on thick wet grass with old leaves mixed in. This made me look over my left shoulder and this cool looking critter came up from its side of the road and laid down watching me for a minute or two. It then got up and started walking over to my side and laid down on the shore next to me. which put it about 15 feet away at this point. It sat there for a few minutes before sliding on into the water swimming away.  I have been around and measured plenty of alligators over the years so this one is right around 9 feet long. I’m laying on my side and it walked past so it was easy for me to figure its size since I’m right at 6 foot tall.

Regardless of what people might say or what you see in the movies, they are not as aggressive as people think. They will defend themselves, their nest and babies if they need to, but they usually won’t take on a full-grown person or ever a large animal. They tire out the way to easy, so they must conserve energy during the day because they do a lot of their hunting at night. Alligators are cold-blooded, so they must sit in the sun to recharge to get their strength back and it helps their digestion. (without getting to techincal about it)

There is no way to tell if one is a male or female just by looking at them and the way we do figure it out is really weird so maybe I will share that anotehr day. Yes, they are dangerous but like any wild animal you just need to show it respect, don’t freak out and everything will be ok … most of the time. I have had some good teachers and some college education that helps me understand these animals. I have always liked dinosaurs when I was younger so that is why I think they are super cool.

 

Hope you like it its a pretty one! - JT Norton

JT Norton / Try & Keep UP! 2019

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