Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Floridian Crocodillians (part I)

Wow - 5 days without a post, I'm not sure how that happens but you can probably blame these guys. So I mentioned or hinted cryptically in various posts and comments that my recent weekend in Florida was, at least in part, planned with a view to my seeing the 3 established species of Florida's reptilian megafauna capable of viewing humans as prey and this is the first post resulting therefrom. Of the 3 I hinted at 2 are crocodillians and the third we'll deal with later.

When you're a kid one of the "facts" you tend to learn about crocs and gators is that gators are the american ones and crocs are from africa, asia and australia. As with many natural history facts repeated to kids this one is wrong. Firstly there is a second species in the genus Alligator which lives in China (and zoos around the world) but there are also crocodiles in Florida; American crocodiles - Crocodylus acutus. Now I have a bit of a history with these guys - the largest population in the caribbean lives in the waters surrounding isla cabritos with its two rare iguanas but we struck out there due to flooding. Driving down to flamingo to check out its resident crocs it started to pour with rain. We drove on hoping for sun, which duly came, and when we got there the locals explained it was too hot for the crocs and if we'd only got there when it was raining we'd have seen some. Urgh. Luckily Florida's other local crocodillian is far more widespread and far more cooperative. Now I'm no FC but I'm really rather pleased with this.

gator skies

This little 6 foot gator cruised around and had a good look at us. Then it ate some plants just like Darren said it might (I'll put those photos up another time).


Most of the time it just cruised around looking awesome. However it left me wanting more. I want a) a third chance at seeing C. acutus, b) some shots of a very big gator and c) a look at that third super reptile before it disappears again. Oh well - sounds like I have no choice but to make a return trip.


david said...

That first picture is stunning! Disorienting, too. Great.

tai haku said...

Thanks David.