Okefenokee Gutter Gator

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Wait, that’s already been used. “In a culvert under the road there lived a gator…”

Okefenokee Alligator
Juvenile Alligator; Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia. March 16, 2019. At the Stephen C Foster State Park. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download legally from Dreamstime.com.

In a roadside ditch between the cabins and the RV campground of the Stephen C Foster State Park in Georgia, a three to four-foot juvenile alligator made his home. Being on the walkway between the campgrounds and the visitor center, he was probably one of the most visited and photographed gators in the park (perhaps besides “Sophie”, the matriarch that has dwelled in the boat launch area for many years).

It’s an easy spot to find: there are metal posts at both sides of the road to mark the culvert for mowers. However, not seeing any fish for food in that roadside gutter, I’m not sure how long he’ll take up residence there. But he was pretty clever in choosing that culvert as a safe place to hide and a safe way to cross the road. But at some point, he’ll grow too big to fit in that little pipe any longer!

Because he was such a regular attraction for park visitors, he was pretty tolerant of people walking up for a closer look. On several of our evening walks after paddling the Okefenokee Swamp, my daughter capture some closeup video on her GoPro Hero5. But when he felt threatened enough, he’d shoot like a little rocket into the culvert!


iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22087784

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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