Thursday, May 08, 2008

Alligator alert heightened during mating season

The alligator is wily, kill-crazy and resilient. Even without the assistance of human dope fiends the alligator has shown an uncanny ability to expand his territory.

Every year at this time there is a spike in alligator-related news stories, probably corresponding with alligator mating season. Alligators begin courting in April, and most mating occurs early in May. A fierce and warlike species, alligators are polygynous, with one male alligator servicing up to 10 females in his territory. The males provide no care for the young, and females little more than that.

After the first year the young are abandoned by their mothers, who move on to attend to their new hatchlings. Eighty percent of young alligators die in the first year, often in the jaws of other, larger alligators. By the time they are a few years old they are battle-hardened and bloodthirsty, and ready to assume their role as "exotic pets" or, as I refer to them, "scout gators", probing human communities for signs of weakness.

What, then, are the alligators up to lately?

Dogs are widely known as "man's best friend". Many people keep dogs as pets, companions and protectors. So, logically, what would be one of the first targets of an alligator attack? The family dog. Just like a special forces operator taking out an enemy sentry, the alligator frequently targets dogs. Especially small barky dogs, like terriers. In Tampa, the first casualty was Freddie, a 5 year old terrier, pulled to his death during a walk in the park.

A crew working in Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo south pond discovered a small alligator in the shallow water. The link to the original story is no longer available on the Sun-Times website. Once again the MSM covers up the truth. There was some confusion because other articles mentioned a nearly-frozen scout gator discovered in the same location three years earlier.

From time to time alligators will attempt to interfere with human commerce, disrupting transportation and shopping. A recent example of this occurred in Fort Lauderdale, where a 9.5 foot alligator stopped traffic on a major highway before being put down.

In addition to preying on crackheads and small dogs, gators will occasionally target the elderly. A 69-year old Oldsmar, Florida woman narrowly escaped death when an alligator broke through her back door and rampaged into her kitchen.

Like the modern terrorist, the alligator also looks for soft targets. The alligator adapts, and seeing the wave of fear that any school-related incident causes in our society, a 10 foot alligator decided to target children at a school in Windermere, Florida. Police were called in to escort children safely to and from the building. The alligator was apparently working with a spotter, a smaller female alligator who concealed herself in a nearby pond until she was captured and destroyed. As of this writing the larger gator has not been captured. He has been described as "as big as a dinosaur."

So now you know. The next logical question is, what is the human response to this onslaught?

I wish I could describe our response as strong, resolute and unified...but I can't. While I detailed the problems of drug-related alligator incidents in an earlier post, of equal concern is the human tendency to simply not take alligators seriously as a grave threat to our existence.

This is an American blog, and I'm a proud American, so normally I don't report on foreign alligator news. But this story was disturbing enough to make an exception:

An unknown thief walked out of a Norwegian aquarium with a small crocodile concealed in a bag. What is his plan? Sure, this might have just been a simple theft committed by someone with a desire to own or sell an exotic pet. But it might have been much more. Maybe the first part of a plan to breed cold-resistant crocodiles, for instance. I shudder.

Three assholes broke into an alligator farm in St Augustine, Florida, and stole video equipment after vandalizing the property. Even worse, they tormented several of the imprisoned alligators by throwing water bottles at them. Relations between human and alligator are bad enough without idiots like this aggravating the situation.

In another example of failure to properly educate our young people, 5 Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledges from Embry Riddle University were arrested after trying to steal a live alligator from a miniature golf course. This begs the question...why are there alligators being kept at a miniature golf course? This is yet another example of the way pro-gator apologists and their dupes minimize the alligator threat, denying the true nature of the alligator menace.

Sometimes, though, the news is encouraging.

Alert police in Pullman, Washington, broke up an alligator infiltration conspiracy and arrested a man attempting to sell a baby alligator for $350.00. The hatchling was taken into "protective custody."

A plucky angler in Brookline, New Hampshire, nearly captured a 5' scout gator while fishing in a local pond. Conservation authorities have encountered alligators in the Nashua and Connecticut rivers in the last two years. The article I linked to details several other alligator incidents in the same area over the past few years.

As if more proof were needed that snorkeling or scuba diving in alligator-infested waters was a bad idea, we have this story from Tampa, Florida. 62-year old Dwight Monreal was diving for golf balls, in full scuba gear, when he was attacked by an 11' gator. Monreal reacted by jabbing his thumb into the eye of the alligator, but it continued to chew on him.

Fortunately for Mr. Monreal, prepared American Matt Johnson was playing golf nearby. Mr. Johnson attacked the alligator with a rake and a four-iron, freed Monreal and then drove him to the clubhouse in his golf cart. Monreal was treated for a crushed and dislocated shoulder, broken arm, and bite marks. Next time Mr. Monreal, who has been diving for golf balls for 14 years, will probably stay away from the 13th hole water hazard, at least during mating season.


BeckEye said...

"Alligators are polygynous, with one male alligator servicing up to 10 females in his territory."

I know a lot of male humans who fit this description.

Splotchy said...

Constant vigilance! And we have that, thanks to you.

That first photo reminds me of Master Blaster from Mad Max III.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Of course you must've followed the story of Reggie the Alligator, who was dumped in a lake in LA after he got too big for his owner and eluded capture for 2 YEARS before being sent to the LA Zoo, where he has already escaped from his pen at least once. While he was living in the lake, the city would hire experts to try to catch him, and these experts would swear that no way Reggie could give them the slip, and yet he did, time after time.,2933,293502,00.html

Bubs said...

Vikki, Reggie was awesome. I did post some stuff on him in May 2007. What I loved about Reggie was the cast of characters that descended on the area to trap him. There were rival teams of trappers from Gatorland and a guy named T-Bone Quinn, that ended with T-Bone calling the Gatorland team "retarded."

Splotchy, you're right! Gator blaster!

Beckeye, yes there are. MizBubs has frequently compared me to a lizard.

Dino aka Katy said...

great stories as always I have another instance of pro alligator stuff. Grumpy went to Baja and Bean in Charlottesville when I took this picture Note the second $6 drink!!!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Alligator family units do sound suspiciously like some human demographics, don't they? Maybe alligators and humans HAVE been spending too much time together.

Bubs said...

Barbara, I think so. The question is, who is influencing who?

Katy, wow. I'll have to try making one of those. I wonder if that's what Adrian "lefty" Apgauer was drinking before he got naked and jumped in the canal.

Wren said...

Bubs, I had NO idea that alligators posed such a dire threat outside their natural habitat in the Florida swamps. Honestly, even innocent scuba divers on golf courses (I'll admit I never thought I'd need to visualize a scuba diver on a golf course before) aren't safe anymore. Thanks for the head's up. Have you heard of any alligators slinking around the Sierra foothills in Northern California? I'm telling you, I'll be MUCH more vigilant from now on.

lulu said...

I've been canoing in the Connecticut River with wonderturtle; in fact, I fell in. I had no idea I was in danger.

Writeprocrastinator said...

Wow, excluding growing up with cannibals, you'd think that male gators would be happier with 10 to 1 female to male ratio. Then again, that's probably why they're so crabby, trying to keep ten female gators happy.

Anonymous said...

Alligator thrill kill cults in Florida. What will Mother Nature think of next.

Distributorcap said...

why do you keep talking about Lynn Cheney?

Bubs said...

DC, as far as I know none of these alligators writes steamy cowboy-themed lesbian erotica.

Kirby, I'm afraid to find out. Nature hates us.

WP, whoa...and they can't buy alligator bags as presents.

Lulu, are you ok?!?

Wren, in July 2007 in Oakley, CA a man found an alligator in his front yard. Are you crawling distance to Oakley?