When I started working at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida, I made it my goal to see an alligator do something other than sleep. These miniature godzillas are quite impressive to behold at first, but after the novelty wears off, their extreme sloth becomes apparent. Yet with such ferociously-built bodies, I longed to see what they were capable of; I wanted to see one hunt! I figured that while living amongst them for five months I would have ample time to discover their more interesting behaviors.
Well, months went by, and aside from seeing a gator yawn once, I failed to see them do anything but sleep. However, during my last month in the swamp, Florida’s dry season hit. The water levels plummeted, and fish splashed about frantically in the deepest parts of the swamp, trapped in ever-shrinking puddles. One day, I noticed a gator searching for a puddle to enter. Right away, I could tell that this gator was behaving differently; he was moving. When he finally reached a puddle, he didn’t just sit there as usual, but swam back and forth, submerging and surfacing. Suddenly, he rose out of the water, and plunged back in with a splash! I had no idea gators hunted by diving! Nor did I realize that they pulverize their prey in such a loud and bloody manner. Suddenly, mosquitoes and deerflies didn’t seem so bad after all. I’m glad I’m not a fish in the swamp.