Okefenokee Alligator – a log with eyes

“Sam lay rolled in blankets beside Frodo. ‘I had a funny dream an hour or two before we stopped, Mr. Frodo,’ he said. ‘Or maybe it wasn’t a dream… I saw a log with eyes!’  ‘The log’s all right,’ said Frodo. ‘There are many in the River. But leave out the eyes!'”
– Lord of the Rings, book 2, chapter 9

American Alligator swimming submerged in dark blackwater cypress swamp with spatterdock lily pads and Spanish Moss. Photographed March 11, 2020 in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

Like floating driftwood with eyes, the alligator is exceptionally camouflaged as it lies submerged in the dark swamp waters. Often lying as still as a stone for hours with only its eyes and nostrils above the surface, unwitting prey may often come within chomping distance unaware of their danger. A sudden sideways slash of the head and a large fish is trapped in those unrelenting jaws. A forward thrust of the tail and a duck or otter may disappear down that previously unseen gullet. A strong thrust may even propel the alligator several feet out of the water to nab the unsuspecting heron from its perch.

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/49850860

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