Category Archives: Reptiles

Alligator on a Mission

While I was watching the Bard Owl of yesterday’s post an Alligator thrashed around at the edge of the pond then swam very deliberately out to the middle of the pond.

Alligator Swimming in Pond
Alligator Swimming in Pond

He negotiated around a few Cypress knees, made a U-turn and stopped directly underneath the owl, that was on a branch about 20 feet (6 meters) above the water.

Alligator Swimming in Pond
Alligator Swimming in Pond

If he was hoping the Barred Owl would swoop down he was disappointed. The Owl was very aware of the Alligator’s presence. After ten or fifteen minutes the Alligator swam back where he came from, climbed out of the water and disappeared.

Alligator Swimming in Pond
Alligator Swimming in Pond, Blue Hydrangeas reflecting in the water

 

Harmless Snake

I know, it is still a snake. I’ve never been a fan, but am becoming more accustomed to them. I spotted this one at Beidler Forest working his way along a rotting log.

Snake
Snake

I don’t study the educational signs with the ID info about snakes, but do know that the round eyes and round head are signs this one is harmless.

Snake
Snake

The snake slowly checked out the crevices in the log and showed no interest in me watching him

Snake
Snake

Plus, I was on a boardwalk at least ten feet away.

Snake
Snake

Anole, Shedding His Skin

This is probably a Carolina Anole, due to the bright green color. They have the ability to change to a duller green or brown, depending on the temperature and their environment.

Green Anole Shedding His Skin
Green Anole Shedding His Skin

This one is shedding his skin, which is brought on by growth: like other reptiles their skin doesn’t grow with them.

Green Anole Shedding His Skin
Green Anole Shedding His Skin

Anoles become less active when going through the shedding process and this one picked a dangerous spot at the edge of the swamp to just hang out. He would easily be seen by a passing bird who could snatch him up for lunch. I left before that happened.

Green Anole Shedding His Skin
Green Anole Shedding His Skin

Alligator Coming Up, Maybe Not

After the bigger fellow from my post Alligator Coming Up got settled I turned my head to watch an Egret and the little gator bailed off into the water. I watched him swim around the ramp and then he took at turn at climbing up.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

He made a huge effort, flailing his front and back legs around.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

I can do it!

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

Almost there, just need to get that back leg a little higher!

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

And then he lost his grip.

Alligator Falling Off Ramp
Alligator Falling Off Ramp

Notice that the bigger Alligator never moved during all this action.

Alligator Falling Off Ramp
Alligator Falling Off Ramp

Down, down, down into the water he went.

Alligator Falling Off Ramp
Alligator Falling Off Ramp

Alligator Coming Up

Many nature areas provide ramps for the Alligators to get get out of the water and sun themselves. The result is safe, fascinating viewing for visitors and keeps some of the Alligators out of the areas where said visitors might be walking.  Usually the low end of the ramp is in the water but the pond has been lowered for maintenance so access to this ramp required some work.

A younger Alligator was laying there minding his own business and didn’t seem aware he was about to have company.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

He stayed in that spot for longer than I expected.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

But then he thought better of it as the larger Alligator heaved up over the side with a gargantuan effort.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

For a moment I thought the big one was going to flip back into the water. Alligators are proportionally tail so even with his front legs on the platform he had a ways to go.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

Made it!

The big guy made it and the little one moved a few more inches away.

Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp
Alligator Climbing Onto Ramp

The larger Alligator is probably 4 to 5 years old. He is loosing the yellowish stripes that younger ones have to help with camouflage. When they get to be this age and size they are no longer prey to other animals.

Alligator Sliding Into the Pond

When I saw the big Alligator moving I was ready for the Spoonbills to fly or the Alligator on the right to react. Anything.

Alligator and Spoonbills
Alligator and Spoonbills

No, this time the Alligator slid into the water without any fanfare; none of the other creatures cared at all.

Alligator and Spoonbills
Alligator and Spoonbills

Evidently the big guy didn’t have any cares either, and just floated in place once he cleared the bank.

Alligator and Spoonbills
Alligator and Spoonbills

Great Egret Over Pond and Reptiles

A few Great Egrets were swooping over the pond as they vied for mates or nesting spots in the nearby trees.

Great Egret Flying Over Alligators, Turtles Great Egret Flying Over Alligators, Turtles

Some were gathering sticks for their nests but they were easily distracted when another Great Egret invaded their space.

Great Egret Flying Over Turtle Great Egret Flying Over Turtle

Occasionally I’ve seen a large Alligator snap at a bird flying overhead without making contact, but these smallish Alligators and turtles ignored the aerial displays going on above them.

Great Egret Flying Over Alligators, Turtles Great Egret Flying Over Alligator and Turtles