|(As always, you can click on any image to view them larger, in a gallery)|
I recently spent half a day paddling through Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge with Kermit. This time we went much further out, and explored some new areas. It was a beautiful day, with many alligators out basking. I was told by a naturalist at the Visitor Center, that there are roughly 7,000 alligators at that site.
|When I look at alligators, I can’t help but feel like I am staring at a living dinosaur. They just look so ancient. Accordingly, alligators are the “…last living reptiles that were closely related to dinosaurs, and their closest modern kin are birds (SREL).” Also, there is only one other species of alligator besides the american alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), which is found in China.|
I have only seen alligators a couple of times in my life. When I was a young child I visited Gator Land in Florida with my grandparents. More recently, when I was in Charleston South Carolina (almost two years ago) for a wedding, I saw many alligators while visiting a wetland on a former plantation (I took many photos during that trip, but they ended up getting deleted by accident).
But I found it to be a much different experience, for me, to be paddling in the same water that alligators are swimming in. A couple swam ~20 or 30″ from my canoe, it was breathtaking and startling. It’s humbling to be in an environment with such a large predator. It is especially important to respect such wildlife, and maintain a safe distance and awareness.
When I worked in Sequoia National Forest, I remember sometimes feeling disconcerted by the mountain lions (of which I was fortunate to see 3), another large predator that can be dangerous to people, especially if you are not being careful.
|Paddling through a forest! Incredible!|
|An Anhinga anhinga! Beautiful bird!|
|I suspect this is a species of Bidens. From what I have seen. this is prolific throughout the state.|
|Any idea what species of snake this is? There are 54 species of snakes in Louisiana (7 of which are poisonous) .|
|I only had a quick few of this beautiful little turtle before it slid into the water, so if anyone can identify this for me, please leave a comment below!|