Driving down the Florida Keys we traveled on a narrow strip of highway through a mangrove swamp. Since it was a hot day there were alligators all around out sunning themselves. My friend Sue asked, “would it be an exaggeration to say we saw hundreds of alligators? ” I assured her it wouldn’t be an exaggeration at all.
Some of the alligators were swimming, no doubt looking for the turtles, fish, muskrats, birds and snails which are part of their diet. Although alligators aren’t known to attack humans unless they feel threatened this fisherman was keeping his distance. “They can move pretty fast,” he said.
A sign warned us to stay at least fifteen feet away from alligators. There are more than a million alligators in Florida which is pretty amazing because in the 1950’s and 60’s they had been hunted almost to extinction.
At a nature center where we stopped to go on a boardwalk stroll there was a crocodile skull on display and we learned Florida is also home to some 1000 crocodiles. Crocodiles have more pointed snouts- an alligator’s is more U-shaped. Crocodiles are more aggressive and are a lighter color. Crocodiles live in sea water and alligators in fresh water. The Florida Everglades is the only place where crocodiles and alligators live side by side.
It was interesting to learn that the only other alligator habitat in the world besides the southeastern United States is in China, a country where I lived for six years.
Other posts about interesting creatures……..