Saturday, July 23, 2005

Backyard surprise

Several years ago, I lived in a quaint neighborhood in South Florida. A canal that ran from the Atlantic ocean was right behind my backyard. Anyone who has ever lived or seen South Florida knows there are canals everywhere. Anyhow, one day I was cleaning my house and opened the window to let some fresh air in. I couldn't believe my eyes. Sitting in my backyard was a large alligator (approximately 8 feet long) just sunning. I rushed outside and got a picture, as soon as it heard me snap the shot, it slithered into the canal at the speed of light. I was truly amazed at how quickly it moved. I called the Florida wildlife preservation (can't remember the name of the government office), but the first thing they asked, "was it fed by humans?" They ask this because if an alligator is fed by humans, they associate the scent of humans with food. It is illegal to feed wild alligators in Florida. Well, I did not know if it had been fed by humans. I asked them if they could come get it and relocate it to the Everglades. They said they no longer did that, if they captured it, they would have to destroy it. Well I didn't necessarily want that, but there was a concern for the small children and pets in the neighborhood. I am not sure if they ever came to get that gator, but I never saw it again after a few days. That was amazing! But what if you saw this thing in your backyard?














The preceding images appear to be authentic and correspond to a French-language news story that appeared in the Congolese weekly magazine La Semaine Africaine on July 17, 2003.
Here is a synopsis of that story, which partially confirms the information given in the email:
The creature was first reported swimming in the port of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo on the night of July 5, 2003. Later, around one o'clock in the morning, it was spotted creeping up onto the beach by onlookers who phoned the police, apparently frightening the beast back into the water in the process. It returned to shore a couple of hours later only to be greeted by a fusillade of bullets from an array of weapons including a Kalachnikov assault rifle. Even so, it took nearly an hour to fell the beast, during which time the neighborhood sounded like a war zone, according to residents. A crowd of bystanders equipped with axes and knives began to approach the carcass with visions of crocodile steaks in their heads, but Mayor Roland Bouiti-Viaudo interfered, declaring it necessary to preserve the monster in the name of science and tourism. It was eventually forklifted into a container and, at last report, was bound not for the freezer of a local hotel, but for a taxidermist.
Contrary to what is reported in the email, the news story says the croc measured 5 meters (equivalent to 16 feet) long and weighed 850 kilos (1,874 lbs., less than half of what the email claims), and identifies its species as Crocodylus niloticus (Nile crocodile), native to fresh-water rivers, lakes and swamps — which would explain why it was so eager to quit the ocean for dry land even though it was confronted by unfriendly humans. It was estimated to be approximately 50 years old.
Because they were snapped with a digital camera, it was possible to retrieve the source data on the first image in the series, according to which it was taken on July 6, 2003 at 12:35 p.m.
This croc was twice the size of the alligator in my back yard! That is unreal!

7 comments:

Dave Morris said...

I always avoid hanging with live gators. They are testy and toothy. I usually like them in chunks, ordered right off the appetizer menu.

Johnny Menace said...

next time get your video recorder and try to capture the damn thing. You'll be a star. alligators are like dogs, just put a leash on him.

Bill said...

my place is on the west coast of florida...only got to see a little one on a run...

The Husband said...

unbelievable. i heard you have to be careful in florida, especially in golf courses and stuff. they might come right out of the water while you are searching for your ball. if you ever get the chance i highly recommend going to see the aligator farm in myrtle beach south carolina. awesome time. they even had an albino gator. great stuff.

Lee Ann said...

I saw a picture of that albino alligator the other day. I am not crazy about alligators, but I wouldn't be adverse to going to the gator farm and seeing it. I try not to be too close minded.

ticharu said...

We've re-named the 'Department of Natural Resources' up in my neck of the woods the 'Destroy Natural Resources' from a simular encounter. Not aligators obviously, but a baby raccoon. We found the little guy, wet and shivering, lost, quite helpless. Called the DNR, asked how to take care of it, they said to just kill it. We fed it with a bottle and in a few days it was strong enough to leave and we've not seen it since. People aren't pests, but every animal that gets in our way sure is. Actually, humans are the real pest...

Lee Ann said...

Oh, poor little baby raccoon! You most likely saved it's life.