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.
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.
ONE TWO THREE FOUR
VIDEO CLIP ONE 2.5MB VIDEO CLIP TWO 2.5MB VIDEO CLIP FOR THREE AND FOUR 2.5MB
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).
SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE
VIDEO CLIP FOR FIVE THROUGH ELEVEN 12.0 MB
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.)
ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN FOURTEEN
VIDEO CLIP FOR TWELVE 1.5 MB
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).
SIXTEEN SEVENTEEN EIGHTEEN NINETEEN
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.
TWENTYONE TWENTYTWO TWENTYTHREE TWENTYFOUR
VIDEO CLIP FOR THIRTEEN THROUGH TWENTYFIVE 17.5 MB
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!
TWENTYSIX TWENTYSEVEN TWENTYEIGHT TWENTYNINE
VIDEO CLIP FOR TWENTYSIX THROUGH THIRTY 6.5 MB
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.
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.
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 INTERACTION||CONFLICT AND CANNIBALISM||FEEDING||BABY ALLIGATORS||ALLIGATOR DENS||ALLIGATORS ON LAND||FOSSIL CROCS|
|SIGNALS 1||CONFLICT 1||FEEDING 1||BABIES 1||DENS 1||ON LAND 1||FOSSILS 1|
|SIGNALS 2||CONFLICT 2||FEEDING 2||BABIES 2||ON LAND 2|
|SIGNALS 3||CONFLICT 3||FEEDING 3||BABIES 3||ON LAND 3|
|SIGNALS 4||FEEDING 4||BABIES 4||ON LAND 4|
|SIGNALS 5||FEEDING 5||BABIES 5||ON LAND 5|
|SIGNALS 6||FEEDING 6||BABIES 6||ON LAND 6|
|SIGNALS 7||ON LAND 7|
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
Go back to the RICKUBISCAM page.
Go back to the See the World page.