Friday, October 07, 2005

My Favorite Gator Shot.

I think this is probably my favorite of many gator shots in my stash of photos. This one is actually a Kodachrome slide that I digitized.

This guy was doing his best to be a log, to not be noticed (yeah, right!) as I paddled by. It's rare to see water so still, but it sure is nice when you find it. I really like the MC Escher effect of the gator connected to his reflection.

It's Homecoming for the University of Florida Gators this weekend, and while I am not a sports nut...I am married to one. Mrs. FC is a certifiable sports nut and bleeds the orange and blue of the UF Gators. I prefer the mossy, scaley real thing. We...complement each other.

So, I am going to post at least one gator shot each day of this homecoming weekend.

I have only been bitten by a gator once, and that was at a stoplight in downtown St. Augustine.

I was maybe 13 and had caught a young gator of about 3 feet long. My dad drew the line at keeping a gator and suggested we take it to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.

We were stopped at the traffic light at the foot of the Bridge of Lions in downtown St. Augustine waiting for the light to change. I was holding the gator in my lap, my left hand on his waist and my right on his head. He was pretty calm ...until I relaxed my grip.

He promptly reached over and grabbed hold of my knee. It wasn't a big deal, although I jumped and yelped. My dad had a strange look on his face as the light changed, he drove forward, and the gator continued to clamp down on me.

It was over in a minute. My Levi's protected me and I was barely scratched. I had him loose and repinned by the time we crested the bridge and the rest of the trip was uneventful.

Gators are much more prevalent today. They are truly an environmental success story. That's great news, but it means we really have to be gator conscious when around their habitats. I have never lost a dog to one, but it happens. I can never relax when my dogs are enjoying a swim in our tannin stained streams...mostly, I don't let 'em. I'm always scanning for the suspicious wake or swirl...not very relaxing.

More gator later...

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Deb said...

That is a nice photo! Once again your post brings back memories of my Florida vacations. One day my cousins, neighbor kids, brother, and I were swimming in the St. Johns River. Y'all know where Colee Cove is? That was the place. Anyway, suddenly the woman married to my uncle at the time (I won't give her the respect of calling her my aunt, strange story there) started yelling and screaming for us to get out of the water; she had seen some strange ripples nearby. I didn't see anything at the time, but later I got a very clear view of a very big gator swimming nearby. Yikes!

Rexroth's Daughter said...

FC-- That is a fantastic photograph. The reflection of the gator and the gator itself is definitely reminiscent of MC Escher. Beautiful. I was going to write that I can't imagine what it must be like to live where there are predators large enough to take down a human, when I remembered the mountain lions and bears in my neck of the woods. It does keep us alert on our hikes, which is a good thing.
Enjoy homecoming!

pablo said...

Yes, isn't it interesting to realize that sometimes we are not at the top of the foodchain. We have bears and mountain lions in Missouri, but they are very rare, and I don't think the terrain around Roundrock is suitable for them. Still, a wild mountain lion was struck by a car in Kansas City last year!

Floridacracker said...

Once again I am struck by the serendipity of this blogging experience. I know exactly where Colee Cove is, have Colee's in the family tree, and have spent many hours shrimping in the river near Colee Cove. Here you are in MN...what are the chances??? If your Uncle's wife was some poor white trash, she might be one of my relatives.

I guess every area with some decent habitat still has something around that could eat us. Vigilance and respect win the day.

Now where were you yesterday? I looked all over for a Pablo comment and could not find one.
A mountain lion in KC? That seemed strange until I remember a few weeks ago, a FL panther was hit on I-95 near St. Aug.

Deb said...

FC--this is amazing! My grandparents bought their river place in about 1971 I think; it was about 1/2 mile south of the Colee Cove Fire Department. I remember going to the annual catfish & hush puppy fry at the fire department. Their name was Conover; I had an uncle by that name who lived in St. Augustine for a few years. The wife I was referring to wasn't poor white trash from around there though; but his first wife could have been! I still have 2 first cousins in that area that I haven't seen for many many years.

It's a small world. Thanks for bringing back some memories!

Wayne said...

Great story! I wonder if it's possible that gators might gradually migrate northward. I remember enjoying their company on frequent canoeing trips on Wacissa Springs outside of Tallahassee.

(Of course I was at FSU. The years they never won a single game :-) )

Floridacracker said...

The Wacissa turned out to be a treasure trove of paleo artifacts and fossils. I used to get the FSU newsletter about the project. I never canoed it, but need to do so.
I guess with global warming, someday New Yorkers may lose dogs to gators...

Zanne said...

Don't be talking about paleo artifacts, you'll get me all excited!!!

That's the greatest gator photo I've every seen. Fantastic.

Tell your dear wife, she's been's the Seminoles she should be rooting for, not the 'Gators.