May 18, 2012

Gator vs. Gator

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From the time this 13 foot alligator displayed his substantial maw at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, it was clear he was in no mood. Sure, it was Easter Sunday and he was sporting his Easter bonnet comprised of leafy lettuce plants....but nevertheless, Biggie didn't appear inclined to spread any cheer. He seemed antsy, like he wanted to go somewhere. A nearby narrow muddy path connected this lake to another and I suspected he was going to venture there.
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So, the entire SDP staff watched and waited for an hour as Biggie slowly plodded his way toward the other lake. Each movement seemed to be a laborious, exhausting exercise but he was determined to get to the other side.  When he arrived, a shot of adrenaline torpedoed him across the lake so fast he very well could have run across it.   He was chasing a smaller male alligator -- a 6 footer.  Naturally, at this captivating moment, my memory card expired and I quickly fumbled to change it.  When I looked up....
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...the two gators were running through the cypress forest, fully extended upright on their haunches. What a sight!  A sanctuary volunteer watching the action unfold with us said Biggie is very territorial and doesn't want the little guy to have any fish.   So, the chase was on...deep into the forest replete with Easter bonnet.  It was like watching a tank motor through the woods destroying anything in its path...
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...like this log.  You should have heard the KABOOM when Biggie powered over it.
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The little guy's strategy, apparently, was to traverse so deep into the woods Biggie eventually would retreat due to sheer fatigue.  At one point, the little one tucked himself under the boardwalk.  In fact, he was so close I could have touched him (had I momentarily lost my mind). Standing above him, I pondered whether the wooden boardwalk would hold up under the extreme weight of two wrestling gators.  Fortunately, it didn't come that.  After venturing about 50 yards into the forest, Biggie gave up and slowly returned to the lake where he proceeded to open his maw one more time and smack it so loudly tourists standing nearby jumped.  I smiled and said to a family visiting from Switzerland, 'Bet you don't see that in Switzerland!'  Their wide eyed response: 'Uh....no!'  Great adventure.  This concludes our tour of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

On a completely different note, you may have heard legendary singer Donna Summer passed away yesterday in Sarasota County.  What a loss.   Several years ago, I saw her in concert here -- what an incredible voice.  At the time she told the audience she had discovered Sarasota.  A couple of weeks later, I heard she bought a house here.  She'll be missed.  While she was known for her disco hits, my personal favorite is her rendition of 'O Holy Night'.   It's fantastic.

8 comments:

We are: clamco said...

Oh my gawd! Scary gators! Great photos, but terrifying!
With regard to Donna Summer, I gasped aloud when I saw the headline on my computer screen. Who doesn't love her? Awesome voice, beautiful inside and out. I have her double live CD which is soooo goood! Such a sad loss.

Jim Klenke said...

can you take pictures while running backwards, cause thats how I would do it.

Sad news about Donna Summer, I grew up on disco and she was the top.

Kathy said...

That third photo is fabulous! He looks rather silly with all the lettuce on his head and neck. But I wouldn't laugh at him!

Cathy Hudspeth said...

These are great pictures of some immense gators! You risked life and limb for your photo blog - Yea!!!

Didn't know Donna Summers was in the area. Love her music, and thankfully, that will live on.

Birdman said...

I prefer gator shoes... am I a bad boy?

gogouci said...

I love the photos of the gator with vegetation on his head. It's like a party gone bad.

Sad about Donna Summer. I remember roller skating to her music as a kid.

Jack said...

Great series, SRQ. If Biggie was on the move when I was nearby, we would have had an experiment in who is faster, a mature alligator or a gutless snowbird.

Donna Summer and Sarasota? The Naples Daily News is claiming her as a resident of North Naples, Tiburon to be exact, and reported that she died there. We need to set the investigative journalists on this mystery . . .

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Have just had a great time reading from the beginning of your visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary SRQ excellent series. Looooove the birds, I've just put up some new feeders in my back garden so hopefully will catch some visitors. I can just imagine the sight it must have been when the alligators were running upright, wow, a bit like my boxing kangaroos I guess. How are Henry and Henrietta these days, I've missed them.