Not your average “Soap on a Rope.”
This, it seems to me, is one prime example of a giant bull Alligator mississippiensis, otherwise known as the American alligator. All I need to know is that they have big teeth and strong tails and that my kayak hull is rather fragile when it comes right down to it.
It was a warm day in late April on the Silver River, so the beast came onshore to collect some heat from the sun. Typically, alligators stay sedentary, preferring not to go into the colder water unless they feel threatened. If they do get scared, their normal safety procedure is to scramble directly into the water and submerge. That’s fine, as long as one’s kayak is not between the ‘gator and the water.
There’s a 3 knot current in the Silver River, so once I spotted this guy, I paddled upstream a bit, grabbed the camera and began to drift (from right-to-left in this picture.) As I came directly across from my subject, I noticed the OTHER tail in the woods… “Good ford!” I said, “There’s two of ‘em!” Evidently, this little puppy had a girlfriend.
Not wanting to disturb his marital bliss any longer (they do have reptilian brains, after all, and are not capable of much discernment), I slowly paddled… backwards.