18-Gator Day!

Oh, and did I mention snakes?  Today we saw the most snakes out sunning on branches that we’ve ever seen in one trip.

Joan, head of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance camp in Houma, LA and her hubby, Jeff, joined Termite and me today for their very own little wetland tour.  The trip was a birthday gift from Joan to Jeff.  What a delightful gift!

The morning was beautiful, with only a slight breeze–until we headed out, of course.  They were clad in shorts and t-shirts–I was in jeans, undershirt, overshirt, and hoodie!  Their being from Michigan might have had a little something to do with the difference in our attire.

The gators are just waking up from their long winter’s nap . . .

except this little guy didn’t even wake up while we were taking his picture!

Not ten yards from him . . .

Photo taken by Termite the Tenacious

this one said “cheese” for us as we drifted by!  Alligators are just so much fun to photograph!

At some point around this time, Termite took over my camera so I could drive the boat.  I get a little distracted with a camera in my hand!  It was really good have him out of school and on the boat again.

Taken by Termite

This little one had climbed way out to grab some sunlight.

Did you know that gators lie in the sun to digest their food?  Something about having to raise their body temperature in order for that process to begin.

There we were, just putting along, taking pics of gators on logs when all of a sudden someone yelled, “Look!  Another snake!”

Photo by Termite

Man, oh man, what a snake it was, and it looked like it had just eaten a big rat!  This one actually slithered down into the water, but I was so intent on keeping our distance, even though the current had other ideas, that I didn’t even get a good look at its head.

Realize, friends, that these snakes are all in a very small area of swamp!

Photo by Termite

If one big rat snake weren’t enough, there was this one looking at us while we were watching its neighbor down in the water.  This one never moved.  It just stared and stared at us, and upon closer inspection, now I see why.  It had just swallowed something HUGE, and it could NOT  move.  See the big misshapen lump down behind the lower curve of its neck?    Ewwwww!!

As if those weren’t enough to give you nightmares for many moons, off to the right . . .

Photo by Termite

was this coil of creepy crawly blackness wrapped up in its own world, totally oblivious to our presence.

Now if any of you readers know an exact identity of these snakes, please share your wealth of herpetology nomenclature with us.  If you are guessing, then I have already guessed with the best of you.  That last one has me puzzled, and I never saw its head to help me identify it.

Like the title says, we saw lots of gators on this trip.  They were all sizes and shades of gator shades.

This one . . .

Photo by Termite

looked like a frog that had morphed into a gator, or would that be a gator morphing into a frog?

Photo by Termite

This one looks like he was posing for the May issue of GQ–Gator’s Quarterly– styling his black-and-tan-striped tail.

I was a little disappointed that the winter abundance of wading birds had already given way to spring.  I love the birds so much, that it makes me sad when they don’t line the banks and fly across in front of us, leading the way.

But Nature had a nice surprise for us as we left the swamp . . .

Photo by Termite

a pair of black-necked stilts.  They are a petite, skinny sprite of a wading bird, which I’ve never gotten this close to before.  They didn’t stand still, and the boat was moving, so it was difficult for Termite to make his shot.  But you get the idea, right?  The photo in this official bird identification site isn’t much better, so pat yourself on the back, Big T!

Photo by Termite

and because he gave it such a good try for a teen boy, I’m including this flight shot.  I wonder if this boy realizes yet that he just might have a future in wildlife photography?  He has neither been on a tour nor touched my camera since he started school back in August.  Hmmmmmm.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual wetland tour.  Each one is different and unique.  When will you come down and enjoy one of your own?  The Louisiana wetlands are waiting for you!

Enjoy the holiday weekend, friends!

BW

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Comments

18-Gator Day! — 34 Comments

  1. I feel for you with the sore throat. Do you use vinegar and salt water to gargle with as a cure? It does help a lot. So does hot tea with honey.

    Nice photos! That first snake looked HUGE! The gators looked happy. What were they laying on? Looked like a wharf, pier, etc.??

    • I usually avoid the saltwater gargle because I could never stand it, but I took your advice this morning since I’m all grown up now. But, I still gagged big time and wretched. I’m sorry. I must be using too much salt, because I just can’t stand the taste. It only touched my throat for a few seconds. Will that help? LOL! I always do the lemon tea with honey when I’m sick!

      They were lying on branches, logs, old broken wharves, and old boards sticking out of weird places (storm debris). Except for one March day when LilSis and I took a three-hour tour, I’ve never seen this many gators in one short trip. At one point, there were six in the water, and I thought they might converge on the boat, the looked so hungry.

      • A better remedy (and preventative too) is Oil Of Oregano – a small dropper bottle can run $30 but lasts a year easily. Mix a dropper full with about 20oz of water (we use a glass SoBe bottle). A mouthful a day keeps the germs away – and will fix a sore throat fast! (double up for fixing problems).

        Ye can usually find Oil Of Oregano in any Health Food Store of the supplement section of some larger grocery stores.

  2. Oh I love the swamp in the spring! I remember a trip in the spillway one spring when it was flooded. We saw hundreds (yes!) of snakes hanging in the bushes in trees trying to stay out of the water.

    • Hopefully, when you come, we will see snakes in the swamp. Oh, and while we were touring, my customers saw a tiny gator swimming and observed that it used its tail for propulsion and I thought of another kids’ picture book: Gators Don’t Dog Paddle— and now that I’ve written this down for the whole wide world to see, the title is copyrighted by WWB Publishing (just in case some of you really enterprising types want to take my book idea and run with it!)

  3. You must be trying to give me nightmares. The gators are ok (we counted 14 on Blind River the other day) BUT, the snakes I can do without! IMO, The only mistake God made was creating SNAKES!!!

    • I kind of have to agree with you on the snakes. They really do give me the heebie jeebies. I don’t think Dotter has seen this post yet, because she has a cotton mouth story from when she and Daboo were itty bitty. Anyway, they started calling me Annie Oakley of the Bayou with a shovel and a hoe. I didn’t use a gun to kill them. The Captain did that once and almost shot holes in all the PVC under the house!! Me? I chase ’em down and deal with ’em, eye to eye. That way, I KNOW they aren’t coming back. Then, I burn the body in the yard, because the Houma Indians say it keeps that species of snake away from your yard after that.

  4. Awesome pics – way to go Termite. I didn’t know it had been that long since he had been on a tour – poor thing. I’m sure he really enjoyed it!

    If you’re sick don’t forget about Mr. VanZant’s Tonic!

    • He says it hasn’t been that long, but I can’t recall the last time he was on tour with me. He earned himself a nice tip yesterday by spotting all those snakes and the not-so-obvious gators for the customers. He also spotted ducks way out on ponds in the marsh, but he was the only one interested in those!!

      Oh, and C.C. you-know-who better move on over!

      I’ll enjoy my coffee and then I’ll try some Safe-T-Net! Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Thanks Wendy. Now I will staring down at my feet all day while walking about looking for snakes! Great pics though.

  6. Those are all water snakes. Non poisonous. The first three are banded watersnakes.The red and black one is a southern water snake. I’d be more afraid of the stilt poking my eye out than I would be of those snakes.LOL

  7. We used to water ski in slips off the inter coastal, always full of snakes and gators. Fish and ski all day and take a gator or two home for Sauce Piquant for supper. Was long long ago, and we were brain dead teenagers then.

    Nyquil and sleep, or Chlorasceptic spray and a BC powder, or just use the old fashion remedy of a hot bath and a hot toddy (it sounds so much better when you say it that way).

    I never worried about snakes, except for cotton mouths, they just always have a bad temper.

  8. Fabulous pictures! It looks like Termite has inherited your gift for photography also. I could have been spared the snake pics though!!

    As for the salt water rinses–yes they really do work. The proper ratio of salt to water is 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1/2 cup of water. This makes a “hypertonic” solution to your body’s normal saline solution. I won’t bore you with the details of how it works, but maybe if you mix it this way it won’t be strong enough to gag you!! Hope you feel better.

  9. Great teamwork on this post! Way cool pics Big T! I’ve had a few encounters with snakes lately, but the photos were no good…cause I was running. What’s that motto? Red and black, it’s alright Jack. Red and yellow, kill the fella. Yeah, right! My motto is…see a snake, run. Run very, very fast! Let’s just say with Spring in the air on the bayou, I’ve not needed to hit the treadmill lately!

  10. Why ain’t that boy out finding some 17 inch sac au lait? I guess I may put trip south on hold maybe PV?? I got that yak ready. Missed the white pelicans passing thru at E. But the sacaulait been fun for a few days.

  11. We had to stop hiding Easter eggs in the pasture because last year someone hid some on the creek bank and a snake decided they were his(hers, whatever). I can do without the snakes!

  12. *SHUDDER* That’s what I’ve done every time I’ve looked at this post… shudder! Man, I hate snakes! And yes, I remember bumping into David’s fire truck with my green Power Wheel when we were little, and a snake poking it’s head out to hiss at us! Scary!

    That second alligator looks like it must be a midget breed of alligator, no? Comparing it to the others, he just looks a little off. Nothing against little people (or gators, for that matter), but is it just the camera angle that makes him look like that, or is he a different breed? I’m curious…

  13. Oh, good gosh. Sure am glad for that stilt at the end to redeem all those gators and snakes! I’ve never seen one of those stilts before – what a treat.

    When I was at Lake Martin a year ago I got to see nine baby gators on a log – and yes’m, there were nine! Tiny things – so tiny I had to have them pointed out to me. All I knew was something special had to have stopped all those trucks in the middle of the road!

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