Do You Really Need a Selfie With and Alligator?

Do You Really Need a Selfie With and Alligator?

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

The other day I was watching a segment on TV about the need for "selfie-free" zones when risky behavior is involved.  Too many people were dying trying to get the "shot of a lifetime."  Today when I went to Myakka River State Park, I witnessed the potential for injury that is inherent in this type of shot.   As I was driving over the bridge, I happened to notice 3 young men attempting to approach an alligator sunning herself on the bank downstream.  The men were within striking distance of the alligator but apparently they didn't consider that a problem.  I don't know if they wanted to touch her or get a picture with her but it looked as though they were hovering rather close to her.  By the time I parked the car and walked to the bridge, the guys had apparently gotten their selfie or whatever they wanted and were long gone.

I was glad.  At least I didn't have to worry about the lunacy of this action since there were several alligators partially submerged in the river near the one on the bank.  After all it WAS courting season. When I got to the bridge and looked upriver, one of Myakka's BIG GUYS was snoozing away and enjoying some quality time along the river.  At least he was.

Within 5 minutes, he had some company approaching him and it wasn't one of his lady-friends. Cautiously the man approached the alligator.  He wanted his "once in a lifetime" shot.

I could not believe the chance this man was taking.  Didn't he know it's courting season for alligators?  He's in that alligator's territory.  He's watching ONE alligator.   How many other alligators in the river are watching HIM???  His vision is limited by the camera in front of his eyes.  He doesn't know what's happening beyond this one alligator.   If this alligator should choose to react to this man's presence in HIS territory, can this man predict when that will happen and be able to anticipate with a FASTER reaction time? 

As I was wondering what is wrong with the people that I was seeing today, I turned back around to the other side of the bridge and lo and behold there were two more people down near the river's edge...right where I had previously seen an alligator rear up and do his courting routine to all the interested lady alligators.  The couple had arrived about 5 minutes after this "dance" and were not aware the alligator had been there but no doubt that alligator was aware that they were there.   I wondered what he thought of this couple's interference in HIS wooing of HIS ladyfriend..... Sure looked risky to me.