Can Alligators Snatch You Off A Bridge?

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Can Alligators Snatch You Off A Bridge?

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

I was told that after Mother's Day, the last of the snowbirds will have returned to their homes up north and for a few months, a new "normal" will begin. No longer will the parks, beaches, and restaurants be as crowded. That was certainly evident in Myakka River State Park. Generally the area near where the pontoon boat tours are launched is quite busy but Friday morning, no cars were arriving and no one was milling around when I was there.

Even the alligators seemed to be few and far between. One guy was hanging near the bridge in hopes that his dashing good looks might make him a star among the Myakka visitors but since few were on the bridge to notice what a nice profile he had, he slowly closed his eyes and sank back beneath the river's surface.

It's good that he did or his feelings might have been hurt had he overheard a comment of someone watching from the bridge. The man was not familiar with alligator behavior and was nervous about his safety on the bridge. He knew alligators could move quickly. He heard that they could make lunges. "Could this alligator snatch a person off the bridge?" he asked.

"Hmmmmm," I thought, "I wonder how many scary movies this man watched when he was growing up."

Fortunately for this man's "safety," he didn't stay long to find out. On the other side of the bridge I happened to notice an alligator who had been peacefully slumbering away, begin to awaken.

As the alligator came out of his sleep, his mouth opened wider...and wider...and wider. I wondered what that man would have thought had he witnessed this alligator's "obvious" hostility and aggression. Would he have been in a mad dash for his car in fear for his life? If so, it would have been wasted energy for sure!

This alligator was just trying to cool off when he opened his mouth wide. Alligators don't have sweat glands and this is one option that they employ when they need to cool down. When that's not enough, a quick and refreshing dip into the Myakka River is always an option.

Speaking of options, wouldn't it be neat if the creative writing classes would provide pictures of the parks and wildlife nearby and then let the kids turn their imaginations loose to write stories of their own choosing to forgive a less than stellar grade on some earlier quiz?

Hmmmmmmmm.... I wonder if that alligator would have had a trampoline under the water.