Alligator Right-of-Way

Excerpt from my March 12, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal. As one leaves the more open waters of Billy’s or Minnie’s Lakes in the Okefenokee and enters the cypress forests and hammocks, the channels become considerably narrower. While there aren’t as many alligators in these tighter areas, occasionally a large specimen might be patrolling the water.Continue reading “Alligator Right-of-Way”

That’s the last time I saw that hog alive…

An excerpt from E.A. McIlhenny’s 1935 book, ​The Alligator’s Life History:  “On one occasion I saw a Duroc boar hog that weighed not less than five hundred pounds caught by a large alligator while the hog was swimming across a stream about eighty feet wide. The hog had a regular crossing place at this point, andContinue reading “That’s the last time I saw that hog alive…”

Assiduous and Courageous Mother

Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, written in ​1773-1777; Part II, Chapter V “The female, as I imagine, carefully watches her own nest of eggs until they are all hatched, or perhaps while she is attending her own brood, she takes under her care and protection, as many as the can get at one time, either fromContinue reading “Assiduous and Courageous Mother”

Okefenokee Baby Alligator Pod

Thursday, 10:21 AM – After a slow paddle a few miles up the Suwannee Middle Fork canoe trail from Billy’s Lake, the overhanging cypress and moss curtains pulled off a bit and the channel opened to blue sky. The waterway became filled with vibrant green lily pads and the floating spatterdock “gater taters” tricked ourContinue reading “Okefenokee Baby Alligator Pod”

Okefenokee Alligator Trails

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It was in the early winter of 1874 that my father found Chase Prairie. On this trip, and on all others thereafter he always carried a small pole about 8 feet long with an old bayonet on the end which was usedContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligator Trails”

An Old Champion

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791: “AN old champion, who is perhaps absolute sovereign of a little lake or lagoon (when fifty less than himself are obliged to content themselves with swelling and roaring in little coves round about) darts forth from the reedy coverts all at once, on the surface of the waters,Continue reading “An Old Champion”

Gator, Boys!

This riveting story was published in 1875 in The Savannah Morning News from the journal of the Okefenokee exploration party: “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 carcassContinue reading “Gator, Boys!”

Juvenile Alligator Pod on Okefenokee Minnie’s Lake

At the north end of Minnie’s Lake on the Middle Fork of the Suwanee River in the Okefenokee, we paddled into a cove of Spatterdock and downed cypress that held an inspiring spectacle: no less than six or seven young alligators congregated in a small area. The center of attention were three that were perfectlyContinue reading “Juvenile Alligator Pod on Okefenokee Minnie’s Lake”

A Very Large and Terrible Creature

Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, Part II, Chapter V. ​”THE alligator when full grown is a very large and terrible creature, and of prodigous strength, activity and swiftness in the water. I have seen them twenty feet in length, and some are supposed to be twenty-two or twenty-three feet; their body is as large as that ofContinue reading “A Very Large and Terrible Creature”

One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1894 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “But as we were skirting along the shore I suddenly called ‘Hist! An alligator lay on the bank just before us. The boy turned his head, and instantly was all excitement. It was a big fellow, he said,—one of three big ones that inhabited theContinue reading “One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead”