ALLIGATOR BEHAVIOR page 6f: ON LAND; WALKING AND BASKING 6
This page was born 10/20/2006.  Rickubis designed it.  (such as it is.) Last update: 09/01/2016
Images and contents on this page copyright 2002-2015 Richard M. Dashnau 

Alligators although amphibious (not AMPHIBIANS) are in the water most of the time when they are active. Therefore it is worthy of note when they are on land, especially when they are doing more than just absorbing solar energy. Here is yet another page of terrestrial alligator antics.

06/11/2006--Some readers may recall the lower water levels experienced by BBSP in June. All of the the images below are frame captures from video clips I shot during this time. Clicking the links as I label them below the images will show the clip that those images came from.
I was watching a large alligator foraging in what remained in Pilant Slough just West of the Spillway Bridge. (see ONE, TWO below). As I was filming, I heard a "SLAP!" sound behind me. This would be across the trail, in Pilant Lake. I turned, looked, and immediately swiveled the camera around. A Great Blue Heron had caught a good-sized bowfin (latin name amia calva) ! (see THREE, FOUR, below). I quietly moved the camcorder and tripod about 3 steps and began filming.

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                                    ONE                                                                           TWO                                                                            THREE                                                                   FOUR                                     
                  VIDEO CLIP ONE 2.5MB                                              VIDEO CLIP TWO 2.5MB                              VIDEO CLIP  FOR THREE AND FOUR 2.5MB

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                             FIVE
The Great Blue Heron dropped the bowfin, and to my amazement, the bowfin was still very much alive!  I was trying to take still photos while

the camcorder was filming, so the fish flopped almost out of view. The Heron stabbed it again, and then neatly swallowed the fish.
(see FIVE above, and SIX through ELEVEN, below).

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           SIX                                              SEVEN                                        EIGHT                                      NINE                                  
                                                       VIDEO CLIP  FOR FIVE THROUGH ELEVEN 12.0 MB

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                           TEN
When the Great Blue Heron finished, I quietly returned the 3 steps to my original position to watch the large alligator.

The alligator almost immediately left the slough and headed up towards the Spillway Trail. (see TWELVE below). It stopped
among the plants at the edge of the trail to rest. I set my camera to be ready for his trail crossing.  Suddenly, just beyond
the alligator, and on the opposite side of the water, a large feral hog came out of the trees with a group of six or eight
piglets (see THIRTEEN, below). Hardly daring to move, I started filming the hog. I'd never been able to see one this close
while I had camera!  The adult hog grunted once--which sent the piglets scurrying back to the trees--and went down to the
water's edge. There, it began nosing about in the water, and eating some of the plants (see FOURTEEN, below).  Meanwhile,
the alligator (which I hadn't forgotten, since it was at least 30 feet closer to me than the hog was) did something which I
thought was very odd. Right after the hog disturbed the water, the alligator turned around, faced the hog (which was
at LEAST 30 feet away from it) and gaped (see FIFTEEN below). (This is also the RICKUBISCAM image.)

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                                   ELEVEN                                                                         TWELVE                                                                   THIRTEEN                                                             FOURTEEN                            
                                               VIDEO CLIP FOR TWELVE 1.5 MB 

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                                 FIFTEEN
The oblivious hog continued about its business, and finally laid down to wallow in the shallow water.(see SIXTEEN below)
The alligator got up and walked back to the slough. This is a large alligator, and it took a number of steps to return to the
slough. (see SEVENTEEN, EIGHTEEN below). When the alligator entered the water, it went straight towards the hog.
(see NINETEEN, TWENTY, below).

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                                 SIXTEEN                                                                SEVENTEEN                                                              EIGHTEEN                                                                      NINETEEN 

     -
                                TWENTY
The low amount of water prevented the alligator from being totally submerged, and the hog became aware of its approach.

The hog stood up and went to land. As the alligator still got closer, the hog turned and looked at it. There was a brief
moment where it seemed they might be nose-to-nose, and also obscured by the overhanging trees. There was NO way I dared
move anything for fear of defusing whatever this situation was. But, the hog turned away and returned to the safety of the trees.
(see TWENTYONE through TWENTYFIVE below).
I found the behavior of the alligator mystifying, surprising, and a little alarming. This alligator had moved well away from the
water, and was going to cross the trail. It was hidden from view--even from a protective wild sow. Even at that distance AWAY from
the water, disturbance at the water's edge caught the alligator's attention. Not only that, but the alligator moved straight back
to the water and apparently stalked this LARGE animal. If the water had been deep enough to hide the alligator, would it have
attacked the hog if it could have gotten close without detection? I don't know.

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      TWENTYONE                            TWENTYTWO                         TWENTYTHREE                          TWENTYFOUR                         
                                                     VIDEO CLIP  FOR THIRTEEN THROUGH TWENTYFIVE 17.5 MB


                            TWENTYFIVE

Not long after the hog left, the alligator left the water again, and came up to the trail. This time, after a very brief rest,
it gaped. I've seen alligators gape in an apparent intimidation display before crossing. It seems that the "temperature
regulation" gaping is repeated over intervals with the period of time with the jaws open getting longer while the time between
gapes gets shorter--until the mouth is held open in this "midway-open" position.
After the gape, the alligator got up and highwalked across the trail. I ALWAYS love seeing the highwalk! (see TWENTYSIX
through THIRTY, below).
I saw ALL of this in about 40 minutes--without moving more than three steps. Who needs television? I was THERE!

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                              TWENTYSIX                                                         TWENTYSEVEN                                                            TWENTYEIGHT                                                        TWENTYNINE                               
                                                         VIDEO CLIP  FOR TWENTYSIX  THROUGH THIRTY 6.5 MB

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                            THIRTY
WHY did it take about 3 months before I posted this?? Although these events only took about 40 minutes to happen, it took me HOURS to edit the material, reformat it, decide how to present it, upload it, and lay it out. These events were astounding, and I wanted others to be able to see them. I hope I was able to transmit some of the wonder I experienced.

If you'd like to know more about the park follow these links:

Brazos Bend State Park   The main page.

Brazos Bend State Park Volunteer's Page  The volunteer's main page.
 

Here are a few links to more information on alligators. There's a LOT of it out there.

   Crocodilian.com

    Adam Britton's Pages 1

    Adam Britton's Pages 2

    Fish and Wildlife Page (Text)

    Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species

Here are my "alligator behavior" pages:

SOCIAL INTERACTIONCONFLICT AND CANNIBALISMFEEDINGBABY ALLIGATORSALLIGATOR DENSALLIGATORS ON LANDFOSSIL CROCS
SIGNALS 1CONFLICT 1FEEDING 1BABIES 1DENS 1ON LAND 1FOSSILS 1
SIGNALS 2CONFLICT 2FEEDING 2BABIES 2ON LAND 2
SIGNALS 3CONFLICT 3FEEDING 3BABIES 3ON LAND 3
SIGNALS 4FEEDING 4BABIES 4ON LAND 4
SIGNALS 5FEEDING 5BABIES 5ON LAND 5
SIGNALS 6FEEDING 6BABIES 6ON LAND 6
SIGNALS 7
ON LAND 7
SIGNALS 8

And, this page shows alligators at the park, on land, near various landmarks at the park.

           Go back to my main alligator page, Alligators

           Go back to my home page, Welcome to rickubis.com
           Go back to the RICKUBISCAM page.
           Go back to the See the World page.