A Spot Of Shade
Noticing the nice shady spot in the front entrance of somebody’s home, the gator slinked over and parked himself right by the door. He was enjoying the shade when suddenly he felt rope being put around his body.
He whipped around and used everything he had to lash out at whoever was responsible for the rope. He was prepared to use tooth and tail to defend himself. Meanwhile, the family watched through their window in horror.
James lived in Florida with his family, he woke up one Saturday morning and went downstairs to have breakfast, while he ate he planned a nice outing for his family. Then they got ready and opened the front door.
James was expecting to see the Florida sunshine and maybe a neighbor to wave at, 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 up at him, just as surprised to see James there as James was to see him on his front step.
Before James had a second to think of what to do, his wife came down the stairs to investigate. And when she saw the overgrown lizard, she was stupefied too. The couple just stood there staring at the alligator.
James’ wife let out a sudden shriek that startled the gator. The reptile panicked and started toppling over pot plants and stumbling closer to the open door.
Just as the gator was about to cross the threshold into the house James suddenly got his senses back and quickly shut the door. The couple both looked at each other with reassuring glances, but they both knew this was only the beginning of their trouble with the gator.
Alligators are actually quite common in Florida. James and his wife had seen them plenty when out of the house but they normally liked to stick to the water.
Something must have happened to make the gator leave the everglades and move into their front yard, James thought to himself, before realizing something weird about the animal outside.
Even though the gator was enormous, it looked like it was missing something. When James looked a bit closer at it through the safety of the window he noticed that it was missing two of its limbs – one front and one back leg.
Even though he knew all too well that this was a deadly animal, James had pity on the beast. It must be having a hard time catching prey and getting around, he had to help it in some way.
But before he could help the animal, he’d have to look after his family. They were all waiting anxiously in the kitchen.
The back door wasn’t an option, the path outside let straight past the front door. He would have to think of a way to protect his two children and his wife.
James tried cracking the door open and prodding it with a broomstick, this did anything but discourage the beast. James was left with a knot in his stomach when its jaws came all too close to him and not the broomstick.
The uninvited guest was grumpy for sure. James knew they were going to be trapped in the house for so long. He looked reassuringly at his family and tried to think of a solution, the only one he could think of wasn’t going to be a popular one.
It had now been two hours since the family had found the gator on their doorstep. James couldn’t risk the safety of his family so he had to cancel their outing.
Suddenly James realized, there was a package to be delivered today! The courier would come and put it on the doorstep oblivious to the live lawn ornament guarding the house. What would he do now?
James came up with the only idea he could think of, he quickly scrawled on a large piece of paper with a marker. He had to make his handwriting huge so the delivery guy could see it from a distance.
James’ plan was to sneak from the back door along the path to the front door, he’d pin it and then sprint back to the kitchen door. He just hoped the gator would notice him before he started running back.
After slowly creeping to the side of the house, James peered around the corner to see if the coast was clear. And it most certainly was not.
The gator was still sat on the doorstep. And if the thing had lips, it would most certainly have been licking 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 alone.
James called Croc Encounters, an “educational facility dedicated to rescuing unwanted reptiles.”
Not only do they come to take care of “nuisance reptiles”, but they also run a large facility to house whatever can’t be released back into the wild. Would they be able to trap the particularly livid one currently smashing up James’ flower beds?
The experts packed their truck and left the sanctuary with the usual supplies, thinking that it would be like any other capture.
James’ terrified reaction over the phone didn’t faze them. It was a normal response. “Ol’ Two Foot” would also be a valuable addition to their educational tour. But they changed their tune when they arrived at the chaotic scene.
Just A Scratch
The first thing they saw were the limbs… then they saw the trail of destruction.
Two Foot had utterly trashed the front 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 lead him out gently, using the rope as a guide. The animal experts flung the first line over.
But the gator growled menacingly and thrashed his tail against the splintered wood. They tried again and it took hold. It was a long, careful battle before they finally got him into their truck. And as for the leg injuries?
Male alligators can be VERY territorial. Croc Encounters said the missing limbs were probably the result of a fight with another male and a lucky escape.
Being unable to defend itself as well, it would try to wander into a place that was safer. But then there was the risk from human beings to consider.
It doesn’t help that alligator habitats in Florida are being altered or covered for sprawling residences or massive tourist attractions, which push the animals into urban areas more and more frequently.
There’s no mass take-over yet, but it’s enough that Floridians know basic gator safety. The most important one is to run away – and there’s a very good reason for that.
If you spot a gator looking at you, and it charges or comes closer, the rule is to run in a straight line as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
The animal is usually only aggressive if someone is too close to its nest, so it’s best to get out of there as quickly as you can. And you definitely don’t want to be deliberately encroaching on their habitat, because you’ll be seriously mismatched if one spots you.
Up And Over
Stay out of fresh and semi-salt water (basically everything except the ocean) if you’re in a reptile zone – especially when there have been clear warnings of alligators in the area.
To protect your property from unwanted gators (as if there are any other kinds), fences should be over four feet high because they are expert climbers and they’ll be on your doorstep in no time.
Doing Their Thing
It’s important to know that these are not monsters though. They’re just another creature in the animal kingdom living their lives.
Once in a while, we might find them in an unexpected place (like James and his family did) but then it’s just a matter of calling the authorities. Thank you for taking care of him, Croc Encounters!