ARE JUST BEING ALLIGATORS
Alligators seem to stay in the news, and they generate many questions, such as the following:
Q. Why have there been so many attacks by alligators in Florida during the past few weeks?
women were eaten by alligators a month or so ago in Florida, and many
other gator attacks have been confirmed. The answer to why is a simple
one. The population density in Florida continues to rise, placing more
and more people in association with the largest native reptile in North
America. Although each individual case is a personal tragedy, many of
the people attacked, bitten, and sometimes killed by alligators placed
themselves in harm's way. Alligators are not doing much different from
what alligators have always done. People are.
A. Lakeland, Fla., calls itself the City of Swans because a flock of 200 of the introduced white birds swims around in a downtown lake. Lakeland may have to change its name to the City of Gators if a recent trend continues--alligators have eaten almost a dozen of the swans in the past month. Some of the residents have called for removal of the gators. What do I think? I think that mute swans are native to Europe and that alligators, which eat waterfowl, are native to Florida. Alligators, as I said before, are not doing much different from what they ever have. Mute swans are.
A. Alligators leave freshwater habitats to travel overland during droughts, in search of mates, and to avoid confrontations with larger male alligators. They will enter saltwater habitats on occasion and have even been found a mile or more out to sea. They do not live in the ocean but can tolerate saltwater for hours or maybe days without a problem.
A. As far as I know, this is not an effective way to make alligators leave the water, but they are able to detect water vibrations through sense organs in the jaws and perhaps would respond by leaving the water. However, if sonic vibrations in the water bothered them, they might just lift their jaws out of the water.
A. I saw
crocodiles on the Adelaide River in Australia jump to grab meat from the
end of a stick 10 feet above the water. I have never seen alligators do
this, but since they have a body shape similar to a crocodile and have
a flat tail, I assume that they might be able to, at least for a few feet.