Herpetofauna - One Life's List

American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis

Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia.  March 1978


The Okefenokee Swamp was the perfect place for my first alligator.  I spent eleven days canoeing through Oke as part of a class I was taking (Swamp Ecology), and the gators were thick.  One of my tasks was to count gators; in one twelve mile stretch I counted 159! Being the end of March, the weather was still fairly mild, and we were able to get pretty close to some alligators with our canoes, and even slapped a few on the tail as they went under!  Sometimes at night we would canoe out into the open 'prairies', and when we shined lights out into the darkness, the eyes of gators would reflect back with a red glow.  Occasionally a large male gator would bellow, a deep, rumbling noise beyond description.  Camped at night on our little wooden platforms, we would fall asleep to the sound of bullfrogs and gator bellows in a truly primeval place...

The top photo was taken on my return to Okefenokee in 2003. The bottom photo shows a young gator from South Carolina.

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