Category Archives: Reptiles

Roughing It

We are used to seeing Alligators in swamps, on riverbanks, and around marshes. These two found sunny spots that were more genteel looking. The first one was snoozing in a large patch of lawn clover.

Alligator in the Clover
Alligator in the Clover

Another found a slightly shaded spot on a manicured lawn. The water is a man-made reflecting pool on the grounds of Middleton Place, a historical plantation known for its formal gardens.

Alligator Basking with Azaleas
Alligator Basking with Azaleas

Cruising Along

On a mission, or so it would seem, this Alligator crossed from one side of the pond to the other without stopping or diverting. His pace was just slow enough he didn’t make much of a ripple in the water.

Alligator Passing By
Alligator Passing By

After he passed the Cyprus tree the reflections from the budding trees on the far bank colored the water.

Alligator Passing By
Alligator Passing By

Alligator Ramp – Different Position

Different Position for me, that is. This was taken about 15 minutes before and standing ten or so feet closer on the path than yesterday’s post of the Alligator Ramp. The two Alligators and group of turtles hadn’t moved much when that first photo was taken.

Alligators, Turtles hanging out
Alligators, Turtles – click on photo for larger view.

The change in the sun and my angle created a completely different look of the reflections in the water.

Alligator Ramp

The young Alligator in the water circled around a few times but for reasons unknown didn’t make the climb to join his sibling and mom out of the water.

Alligator Mom and Child, with Turtles
Alligator Mom and Child, with Turtles – click photo for larger view

I have seen Alligators crawl over turtles on these ramps and I have seen them eat turtles. Life in the swamp is risky business but for this afternoon this group was getting along.

Below, the young Alligator stayed with his head lifted quite awhile; air exposure is part of how they regulate their temperature.

Alligator Mom and Child
Alligator Mom and Child – compare jowels

Brown Snake

Differences in pattern or color from the background are often the best way to spot creatures in the wild. This snake caught my eye due to both of those factors, plus he was moving!

Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk
Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk

I’m not a big snake fan, but I was fascinated by the shapes this one took as he moved down the tree trunk and that he could hang onto the tree. He was intertwined when I first saw him. I thought he was eating something but it turns out his head was directly over his tail.

Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk
Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk

Slowly he worked his way towards the ground, straightening out, his body taking an indirect route.

Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk
Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk

Then he made a few 90 degree turns. I got distracted by the Reddish Egret in the water beyond this tree line and when I looked back he was gone. I promptly went the other way.

Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk
Brown Snake on Palm Tree Trunk

One of the photographers I was traveling with identified this as a Brown Snake, and harmless to humans. I’ll take her word for it. He was brown so I’m not looking it up — too many pictures when you Google snake.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 1/28/2018

Little Blue Heron Passing By

The Alligator never moved.

Little Blue Heron and Alligator
Little Blue Heron and Alligator

These were taken January 9th, at the end of a week when we had extreme cold for South Carolina and six inches of snow. Alligators slow their metabolic activity when it gets cold and all they need is to breathe.

Little Blue Heron and Alligator
Little Blue Heron and Alligator

The Little Blue Heron waded the entire length of the Alligator, poking in the water as he went, perhaps not even recognizing the gator was there.

Little Blue Heron and Alligator
Little Blue Heron and Alligator

Fifteen Minutes of Fame: Alligator

A young Alligator has taken to draping himself on a rock quite near the shore of the pond in the rookery. Many local photographers have captured beautiful images with reflections, eye closeups and detail of his stripes over the last several weeks.

I couldn’t resist adding to his fame when the opportunity with these reflections presented itself.

Alligator on a Rock
Alligator on a Rock

I’m pretty sure the rock has been right there but this is the first time I’ve seen anything but a turtle on it. Some branches hanging over it have shifted, perhaps making it a more appealing perch. Plus, there is no worry about sharing.

Alligator on a Rock
Alligator on a Rock

Here is another view from a few feet away through the downed branches.

Alligator on a Rock
Alligator on a Rock

Taken 12/23/2017.

Click on any photo for larger view. 

Movement in the Water

The movement was subtle, especially for a 15 foot Alligator.  I’m guessing on the length–I could just say very long. This fellow was swimming quietly, but covering some distance.

Alligator Swimming Across Pond
Alligator Swimming Across Pond

He had places to go and wasn’t wasting any time getting there, swimming in a straight line from where I first spotted the movement towards an island where the Alligators often lounge at the edge of the water. And watch for wading birds to land or chicks to fall.

Alligator Swimming Across Pond
Alligator Swimming Across Pond

With the length of his back out of the water and a tree for reference you can see just how big

Alligator Swimming Across Pond
Alligator Swimming Across Pond

I didn’t see the second one until I was looking at the photos later. Tucked under the branches on the left, he didn’t move as the older and much larger beast went by.

Alligator Swimming Across Pond
Alligator Swimming Across Pond

Click on any photo for larger view.