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Finally…an alligator sighting!

Posted by on April 26, 2015

APRIL 26, 2015                                            GULF SHORES, ALABAMA


First thing this morning. 

I’VE BEEN SEARCHING AND SEARCHING. As those of you who’ve been following my blog are aware, I’ve been looking for alligators ever since we arrived in the deep South several weeks ago. I mean, seeing alligators while picnicking at a park in San Diego is just not something that’s gonna happen, right? Or probably where you live, either. So, I’ve really been looking forward to “wowing” you guys with some pictures of these frightening animals. But I’ve not been able to deliver. I’ve spent countless hours searching, but despite the advanced reptile hunting tactics I’ve employed, I’ve so far been unsuccessful. I feared that you’d not any longer be on the edge of your seats with anticipation…that you might by now have turned your attention to Hillary’s budding presidential campaign or something like that. Well, all of that’s changed. Today, in fact right this moment, your patience will be rewarded!


Late this afternoon. 

FINALLY, AN ALLIGATOR SIGHTING!  This morning began no differently than any other. I had my breakfast protein shake with a side of wheat germ, donned my fly-fishing waders and set out on my daily 3 mile run. I’m not sure what prompted it, but I decided to alter my route a bit . Today I wouldn’t jog to the nearby athletic stadium and run up and down the bleacher stairs as I usually do. Rather, I’d venture into the coastal marshland behind the local Wal-mart store, where surely I’d be likely to find some ‘gators. Bingo! About 20 yards into the swamp, in waist-deep muck, a real live gator rounded the corner and began approaching me at rapid speed. He looked hungry…even angry.


Fortunately, I had my Brownie Holiday camera with me.

I WAS TERRIFIED! I was frightened…barely able to capitalize on the Kodak moment. But, whew! I managed to click off a few frames with my Brownie Holiday film camera.  Then, faster than a frog’s tongue, I pulled the Sig P220 10 mm pistol out of my fanny pack and fired a few rounds right into the beast’s open jaws. Thankfully, he made a rapid U turn and kicked up a pretty good wake as he sped back into the weeds, where he gave up the fight. I stuffed him into my camouflaged Jansport day-pack and headed to Terry’s Taxidermy Shop across town. By nightfall, that sucker was on display in the Gucci shoe store in the strip mall by the Tom Thumb gas station. Lest you think I’m spoofing, here are a couple photos I took, documenting the events I’ve described and proving that, just like George Washington, “I cannot tell a lie.”



There he is! See, I told you I’d get a snapshot of a real live Alabama alligator for you!


This is the marsh where I was jogging this morning when I encountered the alligator.

winkJUST SPOOFIN’ YA. If I’ve managed to hold your attention this long and you’ve stuck with me, I’ll tell you the real story. I got so tired of searching for alligators, kind of like what happened with my bear hunts last Fall in Montana, that this afternoon we visited a place near Gulf Shores called “Alligator Alley.” It’s a tourist attraction…a place where you can see alligators in their natural habitat, and learn all about them. The ‘gators there are considered “nuisance animals,” because they’ve lost their natural fear of humans after being fed by fools who don’t know any better. At that point, they become way dangerous and must be removed. Alligator Alley places them in swampland, cares for them, studies them and offers them for tourist observation. As you’ll see, Florence even got a chance to hold a little one. And no, it wasn’t slimy. The Alley is a pretty neat place to spend an afternoon. And for only $10 bucks admission charge, it’s cheaper than going to a movie! So, as Paul Harvey would have said had he been the one telling you about all of this, “And now you know the rest of the story.”




Video contains graphic images which may not be suitable for young children. Parental discretion is advised.




1. Where they live: There are nearly 5 million alligators around the United States. They live in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama and southern Texas. Alligators are found in freshwater.  The live in slow-moving rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes.

2.  What they eat: Alligators are carnivorous. They eat turtles, fish, birds, and mammals that come to the water’s edge. They gator2“ambush” their food. For example, an alligator may patiently wait near the shore of a lake, almost completely submerged, until an unsuspecting deer ventures to the water for a drink. Bam! The ‘gator snaps its huge jaws around the deer. Or, a conniving ‘gator may balance some sticks on its snout and wait for a bird intending to perch on a log. Bam! The bird’s a goner! And boy do they have huge appetites! A big ‘gator can consume about 200 pounds of food at just one meal. That’s a pretty big serving of steak tartare!

3. How they move: Your average alligator can swim about 20 miles per hour. And believe it or not, that same ‘gator can run on land, for short spurts, as fast as 30 miles per hour! That’s a very brisk clip for an 800 pound reptile!

4. How long they live: Most live about 50 years, but some have been known to live much longer. They’re often called “living dinosaurs” because they’ve been around for 37 million years. I know, that sounds like a stretch, but that’s what they told us at the Alley. And, hey, those guys seemed to know all about alligators.


“Here’s looking at you, kid.” Alligators have superior night vision.

5. I could go on and on. I don’t want to brag, but I know a whole lot about alligators, ’cause I asked bunches of questions when we visited Alligator Alley. Hey, I paid $10 bucks to get into the place…so I was determined to get my money’s worth. The next time I see you, remind me to tell you more fun facts about ‘gators. Oh, come on…you’re actually sort of interested, aren’t you. Admit it. As I always say, reading my blog is kinda like being home schooled!


I’ll continue my story next time.

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