Gator, Boys!

This riveting story was published in 1875 in The Savannah Morning News from the journal of the Okefenokee exploration party:

American Alligator hiding in Yellow Bonnet Lily pads on Billy’s Lake; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 7, 2017. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

“As alligators are rather tardy in their movements, it is an accomplished trick with them to lay quietly for the passing little fish, or sometimes for a full-grown cow. When we thought of our carcass furnishing a meal for the brutes, our feelings could better be imagined than described. Our fears as to their proximity were soon verified. Before we had wade more than half across, the cry came down the line (we were in Indian file), “Look out!” About ten feet to the left of the head of the column the water was seen in commotion and the bonnets being disturbed, as though some monster was forcing a passage through them just below the surface of the water. “Gator, boys!” exclaimed Uncle Ben; and the order to “clear up” was given. Mud and water boiled in our wake as we attempted to make quick time to the opposite side. When the head man struck the bushes his progress was impeded, and those of us who were unfortunately in the rear, had to pause a few moments before we could proceed. There we stood, the writer the hindmost man, with a double-barreled gun in his hand, ready for action. But where would the alligator take hold? This and a thousand other fears flashed through our mind before we got to the harbor of safety – the scrub on the other side.”
–  Savannah Morning News. Savannah, Georgia. May 25, 1875

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 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."

One thought on “Gator, Boys!

  1. Having almost stepped on a gator laying in the weeds at Harris Neck NWR down there I can only imagine how stressful that had to be standing in the water. Note, if my gator had not opened its eyes on my downstep I would have landed right on its head.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: