A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion ask the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog
ask, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, " because if I do I will die to." The frog is satisfied and they set out but in mid stream the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink. Knowing they will both drown, but has enough time to gasp "WHY?"
Replies the scorpion; It's my nature..
(We normally try to present beautiful images on our blog. Either people or nature. But not today at least not many. Some would say these images are gruesome and they would be correct. So why are we publishing them? Because the are a real part of nature and I felt is was right to show both parts of nature. Besides I am a photographer and it is my nature to photograph and then share my images.)
When I was young I read all of Aesop's fables and never forgot this one. It came to mind recently while we were photographing at the St. Augustine's Alligator farm. In the past I have described the symbiotic relationship these birds share with the alligators. Writing that the alligators prevent predators from reaching and climbing the trees in the swamp. Thus preventing them from eating the chicks or eggs in the nest. I also slightly touched on the other side of this relationship. If one of the eggs, chicks or birds were to get to close to an alligator, well then they would become a meal.
It is difficult to think of one of these beautiful birds
being eaten by one of these alligators
Many of us would be horrified by the sight and have a hate/fear of the alligators. Not exactly a beautiful creature!!! Interesting and fascinating but not really a classic beauty! Plus they have that nasty habit of eating birds, dogs, cats and other small animals. Interestingly humans are not identified by them as prey but they will attack if they feel threaten. How would we threaten them?? Realistically pretty hard to imagine but they are hunted and if they just perceive danger then they will attack. Here in Florida it is illegal to feed them, if fed they could lose their fear of humans and associate them with food. Thereby becoming a greater danger to people. We have to be careful when near any fresh water pond, swamp or canal. If you believe urban lore you folks in New York City might want to stay out of the sewers. You might also want to check for more then just if the seat is down!! lol.
If they cannot kill something because it is to large they will drag it under water and perform a death roll. Rolling and thrashing around to break off parts of their unlucky prey.
On this particular day I was photographing some really cute little tri- color heron chicks in their nest. I then heard a commotion around the bend from where I was photographing . I hurried over and saw all the photographers looking down into the water. As I looked down I saw an alligator swimming with, what was obviously an egret trapped in it's jaws. It had ventured to low on the branches hanging over the water and the alligator lunged out and caught it. The bird was already dead and most of it was inside the gators mouth.
As it swam away with its catch other alligators starting swimming in it's direction.
They were looking to take his meal away, just as he approached land it was attacked. A short lived fury of water erupted as they fought for control. The first alligator never letting go although a chunk of the egret was torn off by the other alligators
He started climbing up on to the embankment and when he reached cover ( out of our view) another fight broke out and he came running back into the swamp, still with the carcass.
It was finally left alone and swam aways to eat his catch alone.
We had noticed that under most nest were alligators laying or floating. Waiting for a chance at a meal.
This one had an egg for breakfast. Notice the blue shell next to it's jaw.
They are pretty frightening looking animals. Almost prehistoric in their appearance.
They can be up to 14 feet long and weigh 800 pounds. I saw a few there that were close to 14 feet long and looked like they were approaching 800 pounds.
This one seemed to be more like 9 - 10 feet long.
Should we hate the alligator for killing these beautiful birds? I really do not think so. Much like the scorpion it is their nature. It is how they survive by catching their food. They do get fed at the farm but they are been trained by thousands of years of living in the wild. These habits are inbred and should not be judged. You may not like the facts but it is the truth. I think we have found out throughout the years that nature has a plan and it is usually a really good plan. One that in most cases should not be meddled with.
So as the song is written you might see green alligators and long neck geese but not together! At least not for to long!!