One of the amazing things about living in Florida is the possibility of being eaten at any time. You've got to keep your eyes open. People forget that, and they get in trouble. Every few days, there's something in the paper or on the news about someone who's little dog is eaten by an alligator that they didn't know was there. Well, people, let me tell you, they are everywhere in Florida. This one was on the side of the road this afternoon, not fifty feet from two different subdivisions. The temperature dropped last night after a cold front passed through, and he was no doubt trying to warm up after a hard night. In case you can't get a sense of scale in the picture, he's probably about 8 feet long, from the tip of his snout to the tip of his tail. I watched him for maybe 15 minutes, and he only moved once. Well, he moved his head a little bit to keep his eye on me, but after I'd been there for a bit, he didn't even do that.
Other than his teeth, his tail is the most dangerous part. Once that thing starts whipping around, it packs a lot of momentum. One good whack to you and you're going down.
If you look close, you might see a little pink on his lower jaw. At first I thought that was blood from a recent meal, but it turns out to be some little flowers in the grass in front of him.
Just in case you thought I was being a little reckless by getting this close to a major predator, I wanted to show you that there was a pretty stout chain link fence between him and me. I wasn't about to get on the other side of that fence, even though he probably would have just waddled off into the water. I didn't want to take that chance. If this guy gets much bigger, they'll probably come along and trap him, then turn him into boots and tasty gator bites.