Friday, March 25, 2011

Fear not the alligator

Where I come from we have alligators. Lots of them. If I found a 700 lb dead alligator my first thought would NOT be, "Whoa! Big alligators live here! I am afraid of the water now!" it would be, "Whoa, some asshole came on my property and shot this perfectly good alligator! Where is he now? What if he finds my shed and steals my chop saw?!"

I don't understand people who fear nature but are perfectly comfortable around people. In the United States every year there are over a million violent crimes perpetrated by people on other people. Alligator attacks only happen about 20 times. People hurt alligators a lot more than the other way around. Witness the dead alligator in the story. Why are people not more afraid of people?!

Is it just because they are accustomed to being around lots of people who are harmless? Maybe that's the difference. I'm just weird because I grew up around more alligators and poisonous snakes than people so to me they seem harmless and the people are scary.

Apparently they caught the guy that shot the alligator but haven't charged him. It's only a misdemeanor to poach an alligator and brag about it on Facebook?


  1. That's kind of weird. Both the Alligator being there and the poaching. And your point of people being afraid of the wrong things (not your words, but mine) is valid.
    I'm being too lazy to look right now, but I'd guess there've been studies done on humans and fear of reptiles. Wonder if we're wired to be on the alert for them?

  2. I think there was a study that found even 3 year olds are better at picking out pictures of snakes than other images. We are probably wired to RECOGNIZE snakes but the actual fear is probably learned. Even though I'm not AFRAID of snakes I still can't help stopping suddenly when I see a really snakey looking root in the trail.

  3. I can completely understand not wanting to buddy up to a potentially dangerous creature. I think the rub is communication. We don't understand how most animals communicate, only how others of our species do. And so, the "smiling" alligator, or dog, or jungle fever monkey is really showing us his teeth to say "Back the hell off" and we whip out the camera and tell the kids "go stand by the smiling monkey."

  4. Who said we were buddies? I respect the alligator's space, he respects mine. I understand perfectly how most animals communicate. It's humans I have trouble with. It would never in a million years occur to me to ask a person to pose with a wild animal for a photo. Of course I generally don't like pictures with people in them anyway.