Alligators on the Farm?

I have a specific and technical skill set that we rely on to pay the bills around here.  Put simply, I make it easier to find data stored on a big computer.  To do this well, I have to remain on top of new technology.  To that end, I just attended an intensive 9 day training course in Sarasota, FL.

I was busy in school then studying at the hotel in the evening.  This was no vacation.  Well, it was no vacation for me.  My wife flew down to visit me about half way through and she made it a point to see the sights and took a few pictures.

Sarasota is a beautiful town.  Rabid consumerism, broad, flat, straight roads, a surprising number of cows, swamp…what more could you ask for?

There are any number of wetland preserve areas (as if a wetland can express itself when confined to a 30×30 area and surrounded by pavement).  There were whole groves of live oaks, pine and pineapple trees.  The larger trees were dripping in spanish moss.   Our forests are a dense clump of about 100 kinds of trees (most bear edible nuts), multi-flora rose, poison ivy, dewberries, may apples, grape vines, gooseberries, ginseng and abundant fauna that aren’t inclined to eat your leg.  I couldn’t identify anything edible in the woods there other than acorns and was always aware of the possibility that the thing that looks like a log in the water to the left may be hungry.

So that takes us to alligators.  Alligators.

This fella lives in the swampy water hole area across the street from the hotel.  Others live in the various other water holes surrounding the hotel…and on out into the community.  Gators.  I found myself wondering if my electric poultry netting would even bother an alligator…or what I could legally do about it if I found a gator eating my flock.  The birds on the shore often just disappear.  One second there’s a juvenile sandhill crane.  The next second…not even a feather floating in the air.

If there’s anything I fear worse than having my leg eaten by an alligator in Florida it’s finding out my wife’s leg was eaten by an alligator in Florida.  I would rather she had not taken the picture of the alligator.  Before I saw the evidence, gators were just some myth the guys behind the desk in the hotel propagated to scare the tourists.  Julie made it real.  What if they are like velicoraptors?  What if the one is just laying there in the open to get your attention while the rest of the pack hunts you silently from the shadows?  Think I’m kidding?  One of the locals told us they have to be careful because the alligators will warm themselves under your car.  Look before you get in.

Does anybody raise chickens in Florida?  Does anyone else share my entirely rational fear of alligators?

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