Why did the gator cross the road? In this case, the mother alligator was heading to check on her babies that were on the other side of the trail after the Great Blue Heron picked one of them off. Normally when gators cross the trail, they end up lying down and resting along the way as it takes lots of energy for them to walk on land. Not this time. Momma was hiking with a vengeance and didn’t stop to smell the roses as she quickly walked from one side to the other. It only took her about 10 seconds to make the trip based on my photos. She only stayed about 10 minutes and came back to the other side. She also looked much larger and intimidating out of the water.
About 1/2 hr later, one of the little ones crossed the trail. Saw him coming up the bank and ended up taking my camera off of the tripod and laid down on the trail to get a series of photos of the crossing. I’m usually leery of laying down at BBSP around alligators but couldn’t resist this shot. Love the markings on the young gator. He was also tagged, with what looks like green fishing line, as described by one of the park rangers. A second one was also going to cross but got scared away by someone on a bicycle. He ended up coming back to momma’s side of the trail about 45 minutes later. Sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side…
Also, here’s a tip on how to identify a female alligator in the wild…check to see if the gator is wearing high heels 🙂 (see photo below)
Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens
1/200 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering
1/320 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering
1/640 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering