Not a Good Day for Gators

In 1875, The Atlanta Constitution published the dramatic headline: “We now announce to our readers, and the people of Georgia, that we are fitting up an expedition for a complete and thorough exploration of Okefinokee. The full details of the plan and expedition will be published soon – if they come out alive.” Over the next months, the paper released many exciting stories from the Okefenokee Swamp, like the following…

Large American Alligator swimming alongside our Canoe on the Suwannee Middle Fork (red trail); Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 2015. © Download and use this image legally at

“We had not gone far before we discovered several alligators swimming ahead of us, and as we went their number increased. When we quit fishing we laid our poles away and paddled ahead for the lower end, driving these monsters in advance. Every turn of the lake we would notice that the number still increased, until the sight was truly wonderful. They kept just out of reach of our guns, until we neared the end of the lake, and then they became more familiar, and many attempted to pass us and turn back, without sinking beneath the surface of the waters, and large, rusty fellows, twelve feet in length, would swim up within fifteen feet of the boat. When we got a large number of them hemmed up in a place not over two acres in size I attempted to count them but there was no use. We had to content ourselves at guessing. The lowest estimate was put at three hundred, and Mr. Lee said ‘it was not a good day for gators, either.’”
​- The Atlanta Constitution, October 7, 1875.

iNaturalist observation:


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