I admit that I love alligators. They appear to be so prehistoric, because they are!

I am fortunate enough to have preserves, wetlands and reserves near me where I can safely observe them from sometimes a close distance.  But that does not mean I take their presence for granted for one second.  Like the ocean, you never turn your back on a gator. 

I have been amongst domesticated and wild animals my entire life. I used to support my entertainment career (habit) by working with animals. They are not to be trifled with.  Many times people have asked me if our little chihuahua bites.  I tell them he has never bitten anyone, but people bite, so anything is possible.

I know when to be around them, where and how.

It never amazes me to see people treat these dangerous, ancient, magnificent creatures as if they are tame because humans are allowed to walk anywhere in their vicinity.

This could not be farther from the truth. 

They are opportunists and sun-bathers. We have to determine for ourselves which is which.

They can run as fast on land as they can swim in water. This is not something to play dice with.

When is it essential to keep as much distance as possible from them (meaning DON’T go to a wetland, preserve, reserve, park or alligator habitat)?

During mating season or hatching season are the most dangerous times to be in their presence.

When is that?  It behooves us to find out for ourselves especially if we live in or are visiting Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. (April, May, July. There I did your work for you.)

We have encroached on their habitats for decades and they continue to shrink.  Our exploding population, capitalism and greed has relegated them to smaller and smaller areas.

So, for goodness sake, give them some space, observe them from afar, don’t go walking on lakes, rivers, estuaries, ponds or rivulets at dawn or dusk, alone or with your child or dog. 

They deserve our respect and some space to survive.

AND YES! I took these photos.