Wednesday, July 29, 2020

ALLIGATORS AT THE EVERGLADES IN 2008

Twenty-two years ago and it is hard to believe it has been that long, I saw the Everglades for the first time. It was an amazing experience.  I have been back once, but that has been several years ago also.  

I remember when we first arrived and started walking around, we heard a very strange sound. It was almost like a loud chirping.  At first I thought it may have been a thousand frogs, or like the cacophony you hear from crickets on a very hot night. Then we thought perhaps that strange sound came from birds.  
Finally we were told that they were the mating calls of the alligator. There were dozens and dozens of them, and it was incredible to see them in their natural habitat.

We saw them in the water, lying in the grass below us as we walked on the trails, even on the side of the trails, and the whole time, those loud chirping  calls echoed everywhere...

which to a person who has never heard an alligator before was mesmerizing.


The coastal plains of the southeastern United States are home to most alligators, who live in both natural and man-made fresh water lakes, ponds and wetland areas.

A bit ungainly out of water but they are great swimmers.   That's not to say they can't move fast so don't be deceived.  I read on one of the information boards nearby that they can shoot out of the water like a porpoise.
The males are between 10-15 feet (3 to 4.6 meters) in length and can weigh 1,000 pounds (453 kg). Females grow to a maximum of 9.8 feet (3 meters).


Facts about alligators:

There are over 200,000 alligators in the Everglades, but over 1.5 million in the state of Florida.

As solitary reptiles, you will rarely see alligators in groups, except during the spring mating seasons.  They lay 30 to 40 eggs which incubate for approximately 60-65 days, and produce hatchlings 8-10 inches long.

The jaws of a gator have over 1,000 pounds of closing pressure!

Each alligator has approximately 80 teeth at any time.  When they wear down or are lost in battle, they are replaced with new teeth.  An alligator can go through 2,000 to 3,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Gators live approximately 30 to 35 years in the wild, and can live past 50 years in captivity.  

The main diet of a gator consists primarily of fish, but they will also feed on turtles, mammals, snakes and birds.

Often you will see only the alligator's head in the water, not its body.  This allows them to more easily strike their prey, such as fish, without being detected.

Alligators regulate their temperature by moving out of the sun and into the shade, where they rest with their mouths open to release stored heat.  They also cool off by going into the water.

Because of legal protection, alligators are no longer endangered.  They are, however, still classified as threatened to insure their continued protection and that of the endangered American crocodile.

The above information, and more,  came from this site, and though we did not go on an airboat ride, it is on our list for whenever we go back.

They are fascinating to watch and fit into my category of absolutely magnificent, but like any wild animal we must never take them for granted. Don't get too close if you can help it.  I know, I am preaching to the choir but I saw first-hand people within a few feet standing way too close, even with their children, for those photo ops.  

I have heard and looked at photos of unexpected alligators in people's gardens, on the golf course, just about anywhere where there is water.  If you live in alligator country I would be very interested to hear your story of any encounters you have had.

Stay safe, stay healthy and thanks for looking.










34 comments:

  1. I made your pancakes this morning and we both loved them! They will be put in my recipe box! I have seen plenty of alligators on T.V. only, but never heard a mating call! What a weird experience! Your pictures are suitable creepy.

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    1. That’s great Ginny, so happy you enjoyed those pancakes. Hearing those alligators was a surreal experience. Thanks for stopping by to let me know about the pancakes Ginny, and for the comment on my alligator post 😊

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  2. An interestingpost IT would be great to see them in person

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    1. Thank you Gosia 😊. It was quite an experience but the last time I went there seemed even more alligators and I was very nervous.

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  3. chyba bym nie chciala spotkać aligatora:) Ciekawy post:) Pozdrawiam

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    1. Ciekawe tak i cieszę się, że widziałem ich we własnym środowisku, ale ponieważ jestem teraz znacznie starszy, nie wrócę. Są fascynujące, ale przerażające, że są tak blisko. Dziękuję za odwiedzenie mojego bloga i komentarz.

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  4. Replies
    1. Cieszę się, że je lubisz. Wyglądają bardzo prehistorycznie.

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  5. Hello, Great post on the Everglade gators. They are amazing to see, I keep my distance from these scary critters. I have heard some of their noises, one sounded like a deep growl. Very scary! Take care, enjoy your day!

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    1. Thanks Eileen, fascinating comment. Yes, very scary. Enjoy your day too

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  6. Amazing creature. Good to read about them as well as seeing the photo.
    Similar to our crocodiles in the north of Australia.
    Take care.

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    1. Thank you Margaret. I have watched nature shows about your Australian Crocodiles. Very interesting.

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  7. Just last year here in Florida over in Disney that child was dragged in the water and killed because the people were walking along early in the morning with the dog and the child and the edge of the water where the alligators were and it just came up and grabbed the child. They are very dangerous and they can be in any body of water in Florida even a small pond in your backyard and sometimes they come and get in the pool

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    1. I remember hearing about that now. Horrifying and tragic.

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    1. I get your drift Christine, lol! At this stage of my life I agree :)

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  9. We went to Gator Park in the Everglades in 2013. It was very interesting.

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    1. I saw that place advertised Gigi, but after the Everglades we decided to move on.

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  10. Glad you enjoyed seeing them. But I have no desire to. Nor could I live in FL, because of them. Brrrrrrrr.....

    But of course, many people do, live in FL!

    Gentle hugs,
    Please may I ask you please, to read my post.

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  11. Hi Denise.
    Excellent and informative post on the Alligator, some superb images, a creature I have never seen, have seen large numbers of crocodiles both have very dangerous mouth.
    You both stay safe.
    John

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    1. Hi John, glad you enjoyed. I don't remember seeing a crocodile, not even in a zoo. I wish you both safe also John, thank you :)

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  12. They are one thing I do not want to get too near...I want to think and look on youtube for their mating call. That sounds fascinating.

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    1. Hi Rose, when you said about looking on YouTube for videos of mating calls, I did just that. I was surprised, they sounded more guttural than I remember, more like what an alligator should sound like :)

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  13. Wow, Denise your photos are great! The fact they can grow so many teeth is quite amazing. Thank you for sharing your experiences in the Everglades and the facts about alligators. I had no idea there was this large population of them!

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    1. Thank you Martha Ellen, I'm glad you liked my post. Their numbers had grown dramatically since my first visit, when I went back a few years later.

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  14. Now I may never hear a chirping sound again without around for aa gator, Denise. Thanks for the interesting facts and photos. We have never been to the Everglades.

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    1. Hi Dorothy, you are very welcome. Maybe you and Pat can go down there on one of your road trips. It is a fascinating place.

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  15. Interesting facts about the alligators. Prefer to see them in photos because I would be afraid take the trails with them crawling around.

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    1. Thank you Nancy, I am glad I got to see them where they live in the wild, but I would think twice as I get older :)

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  16. No danger of me getting close.

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    1. Me neither at this stage of the game ;) Thanks Linda!

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