My husband has a way of rolling his eyes whenever I begin to tell a story. “She’s a writer,” he’ll say to whomever’s listening. “She has a tendency to exaggerate.”

Well . . . I prefer to think that I have a way with words, a way to make a story come alive. And while I may substitute hunky verbs for the wimpy variety, I do not exaggerate the facts.

Last week at Glen Eyrie I was sitting at a table with lots of lovely folks when the conversation veered toward alligators.  I’m not sure why; I think we were talking about weird things in certain localities. And I remarked that everyone in Florida knew not to venture too close to lakes, canals, etc. Why? Because of the alligators.

A little backstory:  when I was a child, we didn’t worry about alligators so much because they were nearly extinct.  Floridians passed a law to make it illegal to kill an alligator, even, I suppose, if it had invaded your house and pinned you in a corner.

But later, once alligators resumed their hold on the ecosystem, the authorities relaxed a bit, and you could hunt gators 1) with a permit 2) and a license 3) and as along as the gator was a certain size.

Now, of course, gators are running amuck, being eaten by imported exploding pythons, and running into traffic.  They are also finding their way into people’s garages, swimming pools, and becoming stuck beneath cars.  You doubt me?  Check these headlines from just the past three months:

12 hours ago  The 12-foot reptile bolts “like a battering ram” into the new car before a third, fatal collision. ST. PETERSBURG — The Toyota Scion was so new…/1235899

Apr 5, 2012  The 10-footer darts into a Largo road; the driver rides over it. They both get stuck. LARGO — Why did the alligator cross the road? Authorities…/1223455
3 days ago  The American alligator snaps its jaws shut with a force of 2125  Gator!Gator!’ Reptile and cars collide on I-275 · Synthetic marijuana, like 

And this one about the exploding imported python.  The last line of the article–about the war between gators and pythons being a draw–only makes me think of Alien vs. Predator.  Ick. 

These headlines do not include the fact that ducks and little dogs (big dogs, too), are routinely grabbed by gators as the dogs walk along the side of a lake.  And people, too, especially elderly folks who may be confused by dementia and wander away from their homes. We have retention ponds all over the place here, and every pond either has a gator or one is planning to move in. 

So when I tell my lunching companions that gators are something that every Floridian watches out for, they really shouldn’t look at me with distrust in their eyes.  No matter what my husband says.



  1. Mocha with Linda

    I totally believe you. I still remember our trip to South Florida over 20 years ago and being amazed at the road signs. In Texas, they have a picture of a deer, for Deer Crossing. In Florida it’s a gator. Shudder.

  2. darien

    Oh, we knew you weren’t exaggerating. But my goodness what fun we had in the sharing of information. That was one of the best meals ever.



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