Sunday, October 17, 2010

Florida, Thirteen Alligators



EYW 034 Following an airboat tour at Everglades Holiday Park in South Florida, I stroll over to the “Free Alligator” show.

By no means a high tech operation, however it does give me an opportunity to learn more about the “Official Reptile” of the “Sunshine State.”






EYW 035 It also raises the question, “Are you smarter than a 5 year old alligator?”




EYW 036 The alligators on display are “nuisance alligators” that have been bought from alligator trappers.

These “lucky” alligators have been spared the fate of becoming an expensive pair of shoes, purse or a belt.





Nuisance alligators are ones that have wandered into neighborhoods or have been fed by humans. They have to be rehabilitated to become “wild” again before they have a chance of being returned to their natural habit.

So you want to catch a gator?

Then you better grab him by the tail and quickly throw a cloth over his eyes, jump on his back then tape or tie his mouth shut. A skill that local Indians used before the modern tools of the alligator trappers were invented.

I know, “you can do it!”

Can you tell the difference between a croc and a gator? If you get too close to either one of them it won't really matter but an alligator has a rounded snout.




MD CAN 147 Australian Fresh Water Crocodile




EYW 038 Although I am told that an alligator brain is about the size of a pea, the next demonstration convinces me that size may not matter when it comes to being smart.

Again using ancient Indian techniques the alligator's mouth is held close with a human chin. The trick is to keep the mouth close.




I think I will pass on trying to be an alligator magician. The power of the alligator's jaw is in the open to close motion where it can exert thousands of pounds per square inch of force. Something you might just lose your head over.





EYW 039 “I promise to keep things open, just for you”



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