After hearing on the news yesterday morning that a woman found an eight-foot alligator inside her kitchen, I had a PTSD flashback of my alligator experience, and a reminder of our ever-present problem at the ranch. It turns out that the Florida woman had a hard time convincing Emergency Dispatch that she was indeed looking at an alligator and not an iguana, and, by the sound of her voice, she was not thrilled with her reptilian visitor. Neither am I. Note to nature lovers everywhere: feel free to unite and boycott this post, but I am stinking scared stupid of them, and if anyone were to help us accidentally make the Jurassic monsters disappear, there would not be a day of mourning at our house.
I’m not from Louisiana and never saw one except at the zoo–until I met one face-to-face…on the first day we decided to put our kids in a little paddle boat in our pond at our ranch. No kidding. This seven foot mama started circling the boat just as the burgers were plopped on the grill. I heard the kids yell that there was a ‘gator, and so I thought I’d stroll over and say oh, it’s probably a log. Nope, this log swam in circles. I calmly (not) said, “Okay, guys. Let’s give ’em a little room, and do the boat thing later.” OKAY! Not in Texas. Not in almost central Texas. We later found out that alligators take care of the nutria that were building dams and keeping the water from flowing the way it was designed. They were introduced to the waters on purpose (brilliance at its best with another government “solution”) because it is nature’s way of keeping nutria under control. I could think of another way to take care of the problem, but that was far too Texan and not environmentally friendly enough to implement by the power company who operates the holding pond. Even if you don’t advocate guns (I am no fan myself), do you advocate alligators, who are, by the way, exploding in population all over east Texas? Today, we entertain a 13-foot alligator at times who “owns” the water. It’s primitive enough out there with spiders the size of the palm of your hand and all four kinds of poisonous snakes, but ‘gator families just send me over the edge. Let’s see: a 4-pound nutria or a 13-foot alligator. Which would you choose? (July 2007)