A shadow spot
The alligator noticed the lovely shady spot in the front entrance of a house, crept over and parked right outside the door. He was enjoying the shadow when he suddenly felt a rope being wrapped around his body.
He spun around and used whatever he needed to hit whoever was in charge of the rope. He was ready to defend himself tooth and nail. Meanwhile, the family looked horrified through their window.
James lived in Florida with his family, he woke up on a Saturday morning and went downstairs to have breakfast while he ate planning a nice getaway for his family. Then they got ready and opened the front door.
James expected to see the Florida sunshine and perhaps a neighbor to wave to. Instead, he was greeted with something that made him spit his coffee.
When James looked down, he saw a huge alligator. The cold reptile just stared at him, as surprised to see James there as James should see him on his front steps.
Before James had a second to consider what to do, his wife came down the stairs to investigate. And when she saw the overgrown lizard, she was amazed too. The couple just stood and stared at the alligator.
James’ wife let out a sudden scream that startled the alligator. The reptile panicked and began to tumble over potted plants and stumble closer to the open door.
Just as the alligator was about to cross the threshold to the house, James suddenly regained his senses and quickly closed the door. The couple looked at each other with reassuring looks, but they both knew that this was just the beginning of their alligator problems.
Alligators are actually quite common in Florida. James and his wife had seen them many times when they were away, but they usually liked to hang out by the water.
Something must have happened that made the alligator leave the Everglades and move into their front yard, James thought to himself before he noticed something strange about the animal outside.
Although the alligator was huge, it looked like it was missing something. As James examined it a little more closely through the security of the window, he noticed that two of its limbs were missing – a front and a back leg.
Even though he knew all too well that it was a deadly animal, James felt sorry for the animal. It must be hard to catch prey and get around, he had to help somehow.
But before he could help the animal, he had to look after his family. They all waited anxiously in the kitchen.
The back door wasn’t an option, the way out went right past the front door. He would have to figure out a way to protect his two children and his wife.
James tried to break the door open and push it with a broomstick. This was anything but discouraging for the animal. James had a lump in his stomach when his jaws came too close to him and not the broomstick.
The uninvited guest was definitely grumpy. James knew they would be trapped in the house for so long. He looked reassuringly at his family, trying to find a solution, the only one he could think of would not be a popular one.
It had been two hours since the family found the alligator on their doorstep. James couldn’t risk his family’s safety and had to cancel their trip.
Suddenly James realized there was a package to be delivered today! The courier would come and put it on the doorstep without noticing the living lawn ornament that guarded the house. What would he do now?
James had the only idea he could think of. He quickly scribbled on a large piece of paper with a marker. He had to make his handwriting huge so the delivery man could see it from a distance.
James’ plan was to sneak out of the back door on the way to the front door, pin him down, and then sprint back to the kitchen door. He just hoped the alligator would notice him before running back.
After creeping slowly to the side of the house, James peeked around the corner to see if the coast was clear. And it certainly wasn’t.
The alligator was still sitting in front of the door. And if it had lips, it would surely have licked them. James slapped the note on the front of the house and didn’t stop running until he was safely back inside. At this point, James knew he couldn’t defeat the scaly beast on his own.
James called Croc Encounters, an “educational institution dedicated to saving unwanted reptiles.”
Not only do they take care of “annoying reptiles”, they also run a large facility that houses everything that cannot be released back into the wild. Would they be able to catch the particularly vivacious smashing James’ flower beds?
The experts packed their truck and left the sanctuary with the usual supplies. They thought it was like any other capture.
She was not concerned about James’ frightened reaction on the phone. It was a normal reaction. “Ol ‘Two Foot” would also be a valuable addition to your educational journey. But they changed their minds when they got to the chaotic scene.
Just a scratch
The first thing they saw was the limbs … then they saw the trail of destruction.
Two Foot had completely destroyed the porch and everything on it. It only got worse when Croc Encounters tried to approach. He let out a long hiss when he saw the rope. The big guy made his intentions very clear.
The plan was to gently lead him out and use the rope as a guide. The animal experts overturned the first line.
But the alligator growled menacingly and hit its tail against the splintered wood. They tried again and it took hold. It was a long, careful fight before they finally got him into their truck. And what about the leg injuries?
Male alligators can be VERY territorial. Croc Encounters said the missing limb was likely the result of a fight with another man and a happy escape.
Since it was unable to defend itself, it would try to get to a safer place. But then there was human risk to be considered.
It doesn’t help that Florida alligator habitats are being modified or covered for sprawling residences or massive tourist attractions that are increasingly crowding the animals into urban areas.
There is no mass adoption yet, but it is enough for the Floridians to know basic alligator safety. The most important thing is to run away – and there is a very good reason for that.
When you see an alligator looking at you and charging or getting closer, the rule is to run in a straight line in the opposite direction as quickly as possible.
The animal is usually only aggressive when someone is too close to its nest. So it is best to get away from there as soon as possible. And you definitely don’t want to deliberately tamper with their living space because you are seriously unsuitable for being discovered.
Back and forth
Stay away from fresh salt water (basically anything but the ocean) when in a reptile zone – especially if there have been clear warnings about alligators in the area.
To keep your property safe from unwanted alligators (as if there were other species), fences should be over a meter high as they are skilled climbers and will be on your doorstep in no time.
Do your thing
It is important to know that these are not monsters. They are just one more creature in the animal kingdom that lives their lives.
Every now and then we might find them in an unexpected place (like James and his family), but then all we have to do is call the authorities. Thanks for looking after him, Croc Encounters!