Florida is Gatorland

Yesterday, I drove home on the 408 bridge across Lake Jessup. The water was calm, and that makes for good gator viewing. I’ve been told this lake’s alligator population is second in Florida only to the Everglades. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. No matter, this lake is still chock full of reminders from the dinosaur age.

Sure enough, I could see the tell-tale signs of life. The head bobbed high enough for its nose and eyes to remain above water. The rest of the gator remained submerged, much like the bulk of an iceberg stays out of site. I started counting as I drove across the bridge.

One…two…three… In the short trip, I got up to eight gators just on the right side of my path close to the bridge. I know there were more out there, either too far for me to see or on the other side of the bridge.

There’s a move afoot to remove the alligator from protected animal status. Once endangered, it’s now becoming a nuisance. Earlier this year, a freak month of attacks on humans claimed three lives. Now the legislators want to give citizens the right to kill a gator that becomes a nuisance on their own property. Local gator trappers believe that’s a mistake. People who aren’t familiar with these beasts may not always win in a contest between the two.

The threat to alligators is no longer man. Now we know they’re losing in battles to pythons in the Everglades. I wonder how long before more lakefront homeowners start losing pets to pythons instead of alligators?

My money is still on the gators. Florida is Gatorland.

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