“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the BIG things.”
Here on our SC barrier island, there is some amazing wildlife. One of the most intriguing species is the alligator. It seems to thrive on our warm temperatures and plentiful food sources, especially around ponds and lagoons. A typical gator will have up to 80 teeth, which are replaced by new ones as they wear out – upwards of 2,000 in a lifetime. Interestingly, alligators do not use their teeth to eat, their food is swallowed whole. The teeth are used to capture and hold prey.
“Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in BIG ones either.”
Alligators are often seen basking in the sun because they are ectothermic – meaning they rely on external sources to raise their body temperature. Although they seem slow and lethargic, they are actually very fast over short distances (just watch one as it captures an unwitting pond-side bird).
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.”
It is said that to outrun an alligator, one should travel in a zig-zag pattern because they only move in a straight line. This may, however, be an urban myth and is certainly something you don’t want to test. Rather than chase a human, an alligator will usually retreat into its habitat unless it is threatened or more importantly it feels its nest or babies are threatened.
“Think BIG thoughts but relish small pleasures.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Oddly, although very protective of their eggs and infants, the most dangerous predators of juvenile alligators are mature alligators (including their parents), especially in areas where there is overpopulation. Here on Kiawah, we typically see them from the time they are very young until they grow to about 4 or 5 feet, and then they disappear. One of my most interesting gator sightings was in a lagoon on one of our golf courses. The gator was pushing a whole deer across the water, obviously his next meal. It was a good lesson on the importance of always having a camera with you. I didn’t. 😦
“The BIG picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.”
There is only one BIG risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”
- Big Teeth – Nikon D/50, Nikkor 70-200 @240mm*, f/4.8, 1/200, ISO 200
- Sweetgrass Gator – Nikon D/50, Nikkor 70-200mm @125mm, f/4.8, 1/60, ISO 200
- Lurking Gator – Nikon D/300S, Nikkor 18-200mm @200mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO 400
- Baby Gator – Nikon D/300S, Nikkor 18-200mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO 500
- Really BIG Gator – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 70-200mm @145mm, f/4.8, 1/80, ISO 200
- Gator with a Stick – Nikon D/80, Nikkor 70-200mm @200mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 200
* using 1.7x Nikon TC-17E Teleconverter