An Alligator Encounter

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The Fakahatchee Strand/Everglades 10,000 Islands NWR definitely delivers beautiful birds and scenery.

It also delivers dangerous wildlife.  You cannot be out and about in this area without also keeping your wandering eyes to the ground for snakes and alligators.  Nowhere.

I parked my car in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park’s Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk parking lot.  In the pond alongside the parking lot and highway, there is a good chance of seeing the alligator that lives there. 

This day, yep, s/he’s there.  I walked at a distance around the alligator and pond, taking some shots.

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American Alligator

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Mind you, I am zoomed in on a 70-200mm lens attached to a 1.7x teleconverter, so know I did not take an unsafe chance with that photo above.

I continued walking around and alongside the pond and alligator.  It had not moved, so I took some close-ups.

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I continued down along the pond to check a couple known bird perches, then turned around to go back to go wander down the boardwalk.

Walking back, I kept my eye out for that alligator and found s/he had moved, in a direction not good for me.

The next photo shows s/he had moved closer to the embankment of the road pass-through to the second parking lot where you see my car is parked.  The boardwalk entrance is behind my car and the first parking lot is to the far right and front of the pond.

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Alligator and My Car

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At this time walking from the big parking lot to the right are three guys in a laughing conversation, heading towards the alligator.

Like out of a movie, I watched the alligator slowly move to the embankment and begin to climb out….

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I could see the guys weren’t paying attention and hollered, “Watch out, alligator!”  The guys stopped and started backing up when they saw the big alligator coming out of the water.

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“Big ‘Ole Gator”

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The alligator also stopped and laid down.

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“Advertising for the Sign”

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At this point, I was a bit nervous.  The guys were getting closer to the alligator now to take cell phone photos, including selfies.  I told them that alligators were fast, they shouldn’t be so close.  “We know,” they said.

Now, I just wanted to get around this scene and to my car.  I walked the farthest point around the road with those three guys between me and the alligator and quickly made it to and inside my car.

When I looked out my car window, the alligator had lowered back into the pond, but was still on the surface, while the guys were standing there marveling about the photos they took.

I am quite thankful nothing bad happened, but it certainly could have gone wrong for those guys.  As I was driving down the highway, it struck me I’d forgotten to go down the boardwalk.  I decided there’d have to be another day and time, lol, I’d had enough danger for the day.

Someone here in Florida recently told me, “Gators do not attack people.  Gators attack stupid people.”  Sounds about right.

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