Nests of the Crocodile

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791.

American Alligator on floating peat mat; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 13, 2019. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

“STILL keeping close along shore; on turning a point or projection of the river bank, at once I beheld a great number of hillocks or small pyramids, resembling hay cocks, ranged like an encampment along the banks, they stood fifteen or twenty yards distant from the water, on a high marsh, about four feet perpendicular above the water; I knew them to be the nests of the crocodile*, having had a description of them before, and now expected a furious and general attack, as I saw several large crocodiles swimming abreast of these buildings. these nests being so great a curiosity to me, I was determined at all events immediately to land and examine them. Accordingly I ran my bark on shore at one of their landing places, which was a sort of nick or little dock, from which ascended a sloping path or road up to the edge of the meadow, where their nests where, most of them were deserted, and the great thick whitish egg-shells lay broken and scattered upon the ground round about them. (* I have made use of the terms alligator and crocodile indiscriminately for this animal, alligator being the country name.)” –  Part II, Chapter V

William Bartram was a botantist, artist, and nature writer that explored the southeastern United States around the time of the American Revolution (1773-1776). He was a scientist, creationist and Christian that gave glory to the Author for all the wonderful works he observed and documented in his book, Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida.

iNaturalist observation:

Bartram, William, and Thomas Slaughter. William Bartram: Travels and Other WritingsLibrary of America, 1996.

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