Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alligator Alley

About a week ago, I was lucky enough to be down in the Everglades of southwest Florida. My son and I, along with two of my sisters and our mother, went on an awesome road trip down into Alligator Alley in Collier County.

We saw a lot of signs for smoke and/or fire when we got off the main highway that looked like they could be open or closed depending upon the conditions. I was incredulous as I did not understand how what I perceived to be wetlands could catch on fire. What I didn't realize is that this part of Florida has been under drought conditions for a while.

We went out on an airboat ride and the water was almost next to nothing in some spots. The boat operator said this was actually a higher water level than in the past few months, they hadn't gone into rainy season yet. As a matter of fact, the area we went out for our boat ride was so brackish that the 'gators didn't want to be there. I didn't know that salt water dried their skin, and they will get away from it into fresh water wherever they can.

The following pictures show the 'gators after they had crossed the property farther back to enter a canal that had a natural stream of fresh water. We saw not one alligator out on the airboat tour, but literally 10 of them were swimming and sunning themselves on the other side where the fresh water was running. The most amazing part was that the waiting area to get on the airboat was right along the canal that had the fresh water. There was an insignificant little wooden fence and then a two foot incline down to the rocks lining the canal where the alligators were lining up to have their pictures taken.

They were extremely docile, and I can only hope that they and their friends and fellow wildlife are going to be okay. Right now, Alligator Alley is still closed down due to wild fires that started a couple of days ago. The flora and fauna affected by this is unimaginable.

It may sound silly to you, but every time I go down there, I'm struck by how many more species there are than up north. You don't even think about all the little lizards and insects and birds and reptiles and mammals until you see it up close and personal.

I'm hoping that there is minimal loss of life, across all species; and that the fires go out very soon
.








24 comments:

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Now, just think about how those things haven't changed much for a few million years! Awesome.

Also, don't forget the plant species that are also down there that are more varied than those up north. And, I agree. When I moved down here, mockingbirds were the norm, not the occasional bird you'd see for a second in the back yard. I had to learn a whole new bunch of birds and snakes and such.

Just Moi said...

Those alligators are huge! eww, creepy. lol

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BeckEye said...

Holy shit, did you get hit by a barrage of spammers?

Also, I can't think alligators are cute, even if their lives are on the line.

Gwen said...
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Gwen said...

Your ability to love anything that needs loved warms my cockles.

I said cockles.

Glad you had a good trip!

LegalMist said...

Welcome back!

When I was a kid I lived in Florida. We used to picnic at a park with a lake with 'gators in it. Signs posted everywhere said "Please Don't Feed The Alligators" -- I always wondered how you'd refuse if they demanded?

Cora said...

Woah! Me thinks you may have been spammed a tad? Good lord - look at all that! Grrrrr.

As for the gators - you're more courageous than I am, my dear! That looks waaayyyy too close for comfort!

*shudder*

JoJo said...

They are sooooo prehistoric looking! Glad you were able to get such great up close photos!

mike said...

That's why I've always been more of a crocodile guy than alligators. They're down with the ole' brackish water.

And so am I, now that I have Googled what brackish means.

Jocelyn said...

Cool pics!!

Scope said...

Gators and taters. Mmmmm good eatin'! :-)

I hope they get the rain the need in a reasonable way,

~E said...

please tell me you used Zoom and didn't actually get up close and personal near the big teethed things?!?!

*shivers*

~E said...

did he then call you betty?