gatorGators?  This far north?

That big fellow over there on the left resides in a wetlands area not too far away from where we live – or at least he did six years ago. Our daughter got a couple of pictures of him back then when she was about halfway around the longest trail with Karen.

Knowing that there’s at least one gator out there – the sign at the front implies more than one –  some people won’t consider venturing out on the Bona Dea trails at Russellville. Too risky, I guess.  However, “alligators are generally timid towards humans and tend to walk or swim away1” if approached.

We watch for gators when we go on the trails, but haven’t seen any since Karen and Mel spotted that one in 08.

According to Wikipedia1, the range of the American Alligator extends into southern Arkansas.  That’s humorous, since we live in the northwest quarter of the state.  There are also gators at Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge along the Arkansas River in the southern part of our county.

As with any large animal, the best measure to limit risk is maintaining a safe distance.

Alligators prefer smaller prey, with children at greater risk than adults. They are more likely to attack humans that are in or near the water.2

1 Alligator – Wikipedia
2 List of fatal alligator attacks in the United States by decade – Wikipedia

Note: This post evolved differently than I expected.  Inspired by Risk assessment on the blog nickhereandnow, I had intended to write on how what is risky to one might not be so risky to others.

america, arkansas, critters, hiking, parks, photography, places, wild life

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alan G Mar 23, 2014

    I have fortunately never seen an alligator in the wild and although I feel relatively comfortable with how to handle myself in most human/critter encounters, that is one critter I am totally uncomfortable around. No wait, there is one more…. bears.
    Alan G recently posted…The Infamous Georgia Hedge Fly….My Profile

    • Mike Mar 23, 2014

      I’ve never seen any alligators in the wild in Arkansas. In 2012, we were walking the trails on an antebellum plantation near Charleston, South Carolina and saw something in the water of a pond. Looking closer, we realized it was a gator. As we continued on, we saw maybe ten more, including a couple sunning on a mowed lawn. When we went to the next plantation, we saw more! None were huge, but we still maintained a healthy distance.

      I saw first saw bears in the wild in 1964 in Yellowstone National Park. That was back when it was common for people to feed bears and we saw a lot of them. Not too much after that, the park service cleaned up the garbage dumps, installed bear proof trash receptacles, and started enforcing the rules about feeding the bears. We visited in 1973 on our first camping trip after we were married and might have seen one. The last time we saw any bears was on a trip east, three in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and one in Shenandoah National Park.

      • Alan G Mar 23, 2014

        Not to change the subject but have you all ever visited the area near Leadville, Colorado (Mt. Massive Wilderness Area) where the headwaters of the Arkansas River are located? It’s about 100 miles west of Denver.

        I have always wanted to visit there – it’s on my bucket list! 🙂
        Alan G recently posted…The Infamous Georgia Hedge Fly….My Profile

        • Mike Mar 23, 2014

          Actually, no. We’ve been in a lot of different parts of Colorado, but have not made it through Leadville.

  • Rummuser Mar 23, 2014

    There are some places in India where you can see big crocodiles in their natural habitat and also a number of farms, where they are bred to repopulate depleted stock due to human poaching. There are different varieties too and you can probe Wikipedia for them. I hesitate to give links as the comments get wiped out!
    Rummuser recently posted…Loose Bloggers Consortium. LBC.My Profile

    • Mike Mar 23, 2014

      I had done a bit of research on crocs and gators before posting this. There certainly is a lot of information out there.

      I wasn’t aware that links were a problem here. I’m still tweaking on this blog on occasion, though I’m concentrating on Haw Creek.

      • Mike Mar 23, 2014

        I went back in and made some adjustments so that a few links are allowed in comments.
        Mike recently posted…Rattlers!My Profile

  • Hilary Mar 23, 2014

    Hi Mike – I used to steer clear of crocs in Southern Africa – better to treat wildlife as wildlife and be wary. They are amazing critters though – I love learning more about them …

    Cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Aspects of British Coasts: 2014 A – Z …My Profile

    • Mike Mar 23, 2014

      They are interesting. It’s amazing how big some of them can get.

  • Cheerful Monk Mar 24, 2014

    I would be more afraid of crocodiles than of alligators. Years ago the Wall Street Journal had an article about the difference between the two. The bottom line? Some people wrestle with alligators. Nobody wrestles with a crocodile.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…Fearless GrouseMy Profile

  • Cheerful Monk Mar 24, 2014

    You realize, of course, you have just ruined one of our favorite lines. 🙂
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…Fearless GrouseMy Profile

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