Gators on the Move

Another adventure on the Prairie (La Chua Trail again).  This time around, I was the person who called the ranger.  The gators were certainly on the move today, and although I don’t profess to know much about gator behavior, my guess is that it was because it has rained so much in the past few days that they are searching for new water holes/ food sources.  I think I will be taking a break from the trail for a little while due to all of the movement and because a gator hissed at me today (yes, hissed!).

Disclaimer:  I used my 400mm lens today, so although it looks like I was very close to the gators, I was not.  Usually I am up on the path while I shoot pictures of the gators in the canals.  Today, however, a few of the gators were on the path, which is why I will be taking a break from the trail for a little while- too close for comfort.  I respect that they are wild animals and that they, in fact, might be hungry, and I might look like food.

 

Big gators sunning in the sink (a view from the boardwalk covered platform)

A smart gator found a resting spot at the bottom of the dam's waterfall (where fish are known to get sucked down)

A bunch of gators found a great fish-finding spot

Bird resting on a branch

Alert gators

I headed back to the entrance as soon as I saw this gator along the path- he was on the wrong side of the trail AND was facing the path.

Close-up shot of the small gator on the path

A gator changing positions- he went from one side of the dam to the other

This is the same gator that crossed the dam- he is not making any noise, and his mouth stayed open like that for 5 minutes- I think he was cooling off?

Unfortunately after I turned around to head back after seeing the smaller gator on the path, I realized that I was blocked by another gator.

This particular gator had moved from the canal (same gator that blocked my path- above)

I had to play the waiting game because I couldn't go backward (because of the other gator on the trail behind me) or forward. He finally got up to move.

He took a rest, and that's when I moved to the right because he had moved left. This is when he stood up and hissed at me. And... that's when I called the ranger!

Thankfully, before right after I called the ranger he walked away.

See you later, alligator!

 

Moral of the story is… I will either stay on the boardwalk, go in the afternoons (a person on the path told me that gators move the most in the mornings), or wait until it has been sunny for a few days and hopefully the gators will be tanning themselves rather than looking for food.

Follow-up:  After relaying the story to a friend who knows a tons of information about gators (www.gregleperaphotography.com), he said that the gator hissed to let me know that he was there and that I was getting too close, but not as a threat.

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