Everyone knows there are alligators in Florida. Alligators are to Florida, what Moose are to Maine. They are apparently, everywhere. I say apparently because they are nearly impossible to see, even close up. Yes, Alligators lurk and live at the edges of beachfront, in canals, ponds, wetlands, swamps. They are not the bright green, upright icons chugging beer on a T-shirt. They are invincible archaic survivors, living in what to me, is the belly of the Underworld.
I have noticed in our time here that people in Florida seem complacent about the presence of these ancient beings.
No matter the frequent “on location” TV News reports of another 8 foot, armored, cold blooded creature showing up in the hot tub with Fifi’s pink rhinestone collar stuck between his teeth, your typical Floridian or Snowbird doesn’t seem to find their presence worrisome. Delude yourself if you must, but they are among us. More accurately we are among them; this is their swamp. And no indigenous creature does swamp better than a Florida (American) Alligator. (Alligator mississippiensis)
Let me illustrate the peaceful coexistence scenario
Our present campsite residence has a small but attractive lake fed by a meandering stream, the color and opacity of 1970’s Army fatigues. This circular lake-ette is surrounded by trails, a grassy picnic area, and a small sandy beach.
One could easily imagine colorful towels laid out amidst the palms and pines. Small children are wading in the shallow water, filling their plastic buckets and racing to the sand, while Mom chats on her iphone, watching the clouds pass. The reality is gently offered by the Parks Department with this tame and tractable cautionary sign.
How could anyone consider swimming with alligators?
I wonder if the tone of this cautionary sign would change were we to replace the word “Alligator” with:
Huge Prehistoric Carnivorous Reptile?
Be watchful for Huge Prehistoric Carnivorous Reptile, especially if no Lifeguards are present.
(Tarzan doesn’t work here.)
Report approaching Huge Prehistoric Carnivorous Reptile to Lifeguard or Park Ranger.
Never feed Huge Prehistoric Carnivorous Reptile.
Here in Florida, Alligators are the “elephant in the room” of suburban development and tourism. Along with recent additions of Pythons and Gila Monsters, Alligators are just part of the Flora and Fauna of Florida. Would someone in say, Milwaukee be OK with one of these guys, laying in the driveway or coming across the yard?
Alligators are one of the few wild creatures comfortable living in suburban and wild places to have removed themselves from the endangered-species list. They were down but they weren’t out. Once it became rude to wear them as shoes and purses they bounced back.
Or did they just come back up to the surface? Amidst the Spanish Sword Palms and the pea green water they reign supreme. Never underestimate the resilience of a prehistoric reptile species. Here’s the facts:
150,000,000 BC – Present
Lives in southeastern America. Usually lives for 35 to 50 years, and grows to a length of 10-15 feet during that time.
Let that sink in…150,000,000 BC – Present; and still here
35 to 50 years? The oldest alligator in captivity is 76 years old and living in Belgrade Zoo.
Length of 10-15 feet -There is a 19.5 ft alligator caught in Louisiana
Bring on the reclaimed land, ice age, gated communities and global warming; they are still here. For our Darwinian Evolution fans this might suggest that they were built correctly the first time, no need to renovate or modernize this model! Yes, there are an estimated one million alligators in Florida alone. If this estimate is as humanly biased as the facts above, we can expect there are many more. Why are the Alligators so willing to cede ownership of this vast environment to humans and their suffocating need to drain and build?
I believe it is a conspiracy by the Alligators to keep the humans oblivious and complacent until Florida can be reclaimed by the rightful owners and original inhabitants: the Reptiles.
Just kidding,. …maybe…
To a greenhorn Florida camper like me, they are the Dragons, Giants in the Wood, the Yeti on the mountain. They are the minions of Sobek, the Egyptian Croc God. http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/sobek.html
Look that name up, it’s an interesting read, a bit too juicy and conflicted for this missive. He is a Shadow side teacher; always interesting, always treacherous.
Maybe my curiosity about human “Alligator blindness” lies in the persistent “Reptilian Brain” conversation. This Reptilian awareness ranges from alien watchers suggesting we are controlled by Reptilian races, or we ARE a Reptilian race to the more concrete and mainstream Triune Brain theory, representing the current Psychotherapeutic paradigm. Triune brain says human brains are built on a Reptilian Brain chassis, with Limbic system and NeoCortex added later. Ask any trauma survivor, the reptilian part is in charge of fear, flight and fight. This ancient part is effective for survival, but hard to modulate and nearly impossible to turn off.
Google Reptile brain and there is everything from soup to nuts; and they are strangely all related if you step back far enough.
Whatever the reason, I intend to give them wide berth. I will treat them with deference and respect and I will stay out of their pond. It does suggest another question:
What else is here that I can’t see?