My first full day in Florida and the wildlife welcoming committee was out and about to greet me. Last year when I drove from Jacksonville, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia I was on a visual hunt for an American alligator. I did not see an alligator in the wild until the fifth day of my road trip, north of Charleston, South Carolina in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
I saw about ten alligators on a trip today to the Lake Apopka Restoration Area about 40 miles northwest of Orlando. One of the gators seemed very interested in all the people eating pork and chicken in an outdoor picnic set up for about 30 of us visiting the lake. The gator came close to the shoreline as I snapped photographs from about 25 feet away.
One of the interesting pieces of information I learned is a quick measure of a gator is the distance in inches from the eyes to the tip of the snout gives a rough approximation of the length in feet for an alligator. I estimate this gator to be about ten feet in length.
I was on a tour with wildlife biologists. We were told alligators tend to shy away from humans as long as they are not accustomed to being fed. There are miles of bike trails around the lake. Gators on the trail will move when bicycles come around, as long as they don’t expect humans to feed them.
Lake Apopka is a fascinating story of environmental destruction and environmental restoration.
More about the Lake Apopka story to come. It is after midnight in Orlando and a full day of activities starts in about seven hours as I am scheduled to tour Orlando’s luxury hotels tomorrow on a travel industry field trip.
This is IPW 2015 Orlando.
Welcome to gator country Florida.