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

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