Deep Booming Roar

An excerpt from E.A. McIlhenny’s 1935 book, The Alligator’s Life History:

Large American Alligator swimming in the blackwater of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia USA.  January 21 2021. ©

“​The deep booming roar of a twelve foot male alligator is a sound that once heard will never be forgotten. It is not unlike the first boom note of the ostrich, or the deep, slow-throat roar of the lion before he begins the quick short-cough roars; but exceeds in volume both of these sounds. It has much more volume and is deeper in tone than the bellow of the largest of our domestic bulls. I know of no sound, natural or artificial, that causes such a tremendous vibration of the atmosphere as the full-throated roar of a full-grown alligator. Often when near these reptiles as they bellowed, I have felt a very distinct vibration of my diaphragm caused by the trembling of the air by the broken waves of sound thrown out by these great creatures.”

​E.A. McIlhenny (1872 – 1949), of the McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce company, was a hunter, explorer and naturalist that established the Avery Island wildlife refuge on his family estate in Louisiana and wrote The Alligator’s Life History in 1935. While some of his statements are criticized by modern science, he was one of the most knowledgeable alligator experts in the country at the time. His work contains valuable information and entertaining anecdotes.

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