Animal Frights!! Alligators, Turtles, Snakes & More

My parents were recently in Naples, Fla., enjoying the hot sub-tropical sun. Their condo has a lazy river swimming loop that our family adores when we have the opportunity.

The condo development is on the edge of town, and backs up to a water channel, so we've seen many types of wild animals: gators, boar, armadillos, snakes, fox and more. My parents' lanai looks onto a series of ponds, so we're always on the lookout for "Al." Once, when my Dad was grilling, Al planted himself directly behind their unit!

I've always wondered if animals get into the lazy river swimming pool. It's gated, but some could crawl over and others could slither under the chain fence. When I'd swim alone in the early morning or right before it closed, I'd imagine swimming around a corner and bumping into something scary...

Well, Mom and Dad said this time someone had to remove a 4-ft alligator from the lazy river. It'd snuck under the fence & was enjoying its lazy laps. Sure, it's a little one, but no thank you! They'd also removed a snake from the filter trap & a turtle who was swimming around. And, over by the water channel they had to trap and remove a bear. I love seeing wild animals. But as a mom of three, I don't want to go all "mama bear" in order to protect my cubs.

On Topic:
- p. 120 Fall 2009 USA Triathlon Life's The Big Question column topic is "What is the most interesting thing you've found while training?"

- Swim survivors of Lucky's Lake swim receive a special "I survived" patch after signing the wall. Athletes could see gators while swimming in Lucky's Lake.

- Seven months ago I asked triathletes what they've run into while training. What were athletes' tales from the trails? Read those responses here.

Question for You:
What animal encounter would scare you most while training?

photo by Dad: This isn't Al. My parents saw this sunny gator while on a roadtrip.


Ryan said...

Here in Orlando just last week I was more than surprised by a 3+ foot diamondback just wandering across the road. I kind of go into a daze when biking my route because it is a 10 mile loop with no traffic. Needless to say the snakes giant wedge shaped head brought me out of my stupor.
Then there is . I will leave that one to speak for itself. Wildlife is really cool... from a distance.

anna said...

I actually run into a rat one day and I got so scared I started to run twice faster than I knew I could. So far that's the worse encounter with an animal on the road for me.

chris mcpeake said...

is there such a thing as a small gater?

ShirleyPerly said...

Yes, I've swam at Lucky's Lake a number of times and seen gators. Trust me, these are of no real concern ;-)

The worst animal encounter I've had when training was seeing this one big bull while cycling along a rural bike path. I know it's not a wild animal but it had sharp horns and was being very territorial. We had very limited space to go around and it CHARGED us!

Trishie said...

Yikes! I used to lifeguard and sometimes had to fish small dead animals (squirrels etc) out of the drains. EWWWW. And I do see city rats on my run, which scare the piss out of me.

Brianna said...

Snakes for sure would kill my running buzz. Just thinking about snakes kills my lingering running buzz from this morning. Seriously. I don't like the buggers. Thanks for visiting my blog, BTW!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Ryan - 3+ diamonback!!! Yikes!

Anna - wow!

Chris - good point!

Shirley - wow, a bull! I saw a buffalo charge a tourist once so yes that'd be scary!

Trishie - yes that is icky.

Brianna - yes, for me I think water snakes are worse than a regular road snake though!

Thanks everyone!