Springtime in the Everglades - 2017

But he was clearly intent on fishing, not trying to snatch a bird. He would submerge completely And then break the surface with a fish in his mouth. He would swallow the unfortunate fish with his head above water. While we watched, he caught many fish. All that hunting and fishing aroused the larger and obviously more mature gator and he slip quietly into the water. It was difficult to tell whether he was actually eyeing the birds or just sightseeing. He never lunged at any bird either standing in the water or on the shore. Instead he cruised around the lagoon and lazily caught a couple of larger fish. But suddenly, he erupted from the water with his head and back completely out of the water, tail and backend still immersed. He crashed back into the water and performed the death roll that gators do when they grab larger prey to drown them. But his prey this time was still fish, as we saw when he lifted his head to swallow. No one on the platform observing this behavior had ever seen it before. He repeated his actions a couple of times and the photographers were able to video the performance. It is important to remark upon all the people standing with us while this reptilian show was going on because we were surrounded by different languages: Dutch, French and Spanish were clearly heard. But almost everyone, including some shy children, spoke English as well. How extraordinary or was it? Can’t forget the big Cotton Mouth Moccasin we observed coiled atop a fallen tree trunk which extended over the pond water. Ibis were in the pool but paid the large, black and thick snake no attention whatever—even when he slid off into the water and disappeared. It seemed to us that they would be comfortable when they knew just where he was.

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