At Home with Gators – Loop Road


I’m also fascinated by the difference between terror and fear. Fear says, “Do not actually put your hand in the alligator,” while terror says, “Avoid Florida entirely because alligators exist.

Mira Grant

She gazed toward the marsh that grew thicker, deeper, greener with approaching summer. Mosquitoes whined in there, breeding in the dark water. Alligators slid through it, silent death. It was a place where snakes could slither and bogs could suck the shoe right off your foot. And it was a place, she thought, that went bright and beautiful with the twinkling of fireflies, where wildflowers thrived in the shade and the stingy light. Where an eagle could soar like a king. There was no beauty without risk. No life without it.

Nora Roberts

I thought I’d start out today’s post with quotes I liked about alligators. To the first, you can see that alligators do exist here in Florida (be brave) , and to the second I agree that nature’s beauty comes with risk (again be brave). When we visit the wilderness, we are visitors in their world and it is good to be very observant. This is not a scientific post about the American Alligator,  Alligator mississippiensis, but I thought I’d show the big lizard in the colors of its natural environment. All of these images were taken on the same day, 3/20/19, along the 25 mile stretch of Loop Road, that loops off of Tamiami Trail in the Big Cypress Preserve area.  It is one of my favourite places and always with great photo subjects, if no alligators show themselves, there are birds, or if no bird hangs out, then there are reflections, cypress trees and cypress knees, filtered light, evocative shapes and shadows. It is always,always a delight.









What a way to spend a warm tropical Sunday lolling around in the sun with your tail in the water.

Hmm, yeah good!! 🙂




~ by Judy on June 9, 2019.

16 Responses to “At Home with Gators – Loop Road”

  1. Love those last two photos. And the quotes. I liked the difference between terror and fear, for as you know, I do have a problem with snakes. Yet also I do roam where they slither. You just have to look where you’re putting your feet. And don’t step back to get a better shot! I guess that’s not a choice you have time to make in your swampy environment!

    • Snakes can be a surprise for sure. Gators can if you are not paying attention. Water seems vacant, no one home and you start looking around at the trees, and suddenly there is a big lizard staring at you. So you are like the second quote, taking the risk to photograph beauty in your neck of the woods.

  2. Great shots, Judy! Recently I saw a story where an alligator was in the kitchen of a Florida home…yikes! I prefer them in the wild, don’t you?

    • Definitely!! I have some spiny orb weaver spiders that I can’t see to get rid of, I much prefer them in the glades where they belong too.

  3. Well, these chaps transform the prospect of a walk in the woods from a nice activity to something quite terrifying. I don’t think I’d go to the wood again if there was the slightest chance of meeting one!!!!

    • For the longest time I took their lazy seeming behavior like floating or basking as a given. Then at Lake Okeechobee the gators were big, fast and aggressive, lunging at our little boat in the rim canal. I had not seen that before, so now I don’t take any seeming sloth for just that. Plus, beware of mama gators with little ones.

  4. I wonder what it must be like to live with ‘gators so close. I know a blogger who has one in the pond behind her house… And she’s quite all right with that. Thanks for the post.

    • While I did visit them at their home in the glades I might not want to have one to be cautious of right in my literal back yard. I’d probably be all right with it though. The lizards which do live in my back yard are iguanas who enjoy no end munching on my bougainvillea hedge. These are the result of pets released into a very favorable environment as they are not (or weren’t) native to Florida, but now abound in South Florida.

      • Iguanas are fine. Some can be very pretty in South america. I hear there’s been quite a lot of “pets” released in the wild, either by accident or on purpose. Including pythons… 🙂

      • I don’t personally mind the iguanas despite the damage to landscaping. Although I don’t like seeing them at bird rookeries as they will eat bird’s eggs. But,I do take exception to people being irresponsible about animals they buy that are not native to an area then releasing them to alter or harm what is native. Over time species will be distributed in natural ways, bird’s carrying seeds many miles and dropping them or migration due to environmental changes. But, humans being thoughtless and causing harm unnecessarily…just a shame. We also have this problem with lion fish which do not belong but they thrive. And, in past times, melaleuca tress were brought in from Australia to drain the swamps..they drink a lot of water. Someone apparently thought it could be controlled and now the trees cannot be eradicated despite numerous efforts. And as you mention the pythons. It is all interesting but we need to be more careful what we do.

      • Totally agree. Careful is the word. Rabbits introduced in Australia have become a plague ‘coz there are no predators. Eucalyptus imported to Mexico are draining the underground water sources. And the city is sinking… 😦
        Take care

  5. Those are wonderful, wonderful shots of the beasties. Alligators are a given here, too. You’d think they’d be thoughtful and stay in the refuges, but they don’t. During mating season especially, there always are a few that turn up on a highway or in a swimming pool. I like your photos because of the setting. We don’t have that mysterious, jungle-y background for them.

    I did have a new experience with them a few weeks ago. I was at the Brazoria refuge, and the frogs were going crazy. Such a racket! There was one especially loud, deep grunting sound that I took to be a bullfrog — until I snapped to and thought, “Gator!” And so it was. It had been hidden in the grass about 20′ from where I was on the road, and it slid down the bank and into the water. Eventually, I figured out that much of the noise was being made by males either trying to attract females, or competing with one another. But such bellowing! I’ll never mistake them for a bullfrog again.

    • I am so glad you like the beasties. From that shoot I liked the different colors I saw contrasting the first two images, one with the yellow rocks and the other with the greenish bluish leafy reflections. Depending sometime on which side you are on….the shaded side or the direct sun side. The yellow rock picture I kind of like too because there are reflections of leaves you cannot see but they are sort of double exposure looking. Sometimes you see reflections and shoot for them and other times only the camera saw therm.

      I agree frogs can produce quite a cacophony of sound. Generally when I hear that eerie sound, especially if late day, I think of Lovecraft’s Lurker in the Threshold when the sound of the frogs were harbingers of the Old Ones coming. Frogs voices are very eerie sometimes.

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