I swear! You folks who paddle where there are crocs, poisonous snakes and spiders are a very brave and hardy lot. I’m not sure that I could work up the gumption to camp or paddle where you do. Hats off to you.
I have seen an 8 footer at a
boat ramp on the ICW. It’s a popular fishing and cleaning spot.
A great spot for an easy meal.
As I tell my wife when she tells me to be careful when I’m paddling, I have to drive I-85 to get there.
I am in far more danger on that racetrack than I will ever be on the water. The critters are just incidental to the place and very interesting.
Castoff talks about paddling at night and seeing spiders eyes reflecting by the dozens. Eww!
OMG! Stop it!
Ditto kayakhank–in Mississippi, it’s gators not crocs.
While we’re on the topic, be grateful we don’t need to deal here with the African variety Nile crocodiles–they are genuine man-eaters. See:
Gators or Crocs. Heck, don’t make no nevermind to this cold water kid. They are both the same to me being big-axx lizards with sharp teeth. Scary. Hard pass. I never want to see either one. You folks are hard.
I had a 9’ living beside me in my marsh pond. One night he had an accident, whoops
It’s whatever you are used to. I grew up at the beach swimming in the ocean, living around brown recluse and black widow spiders, and copperheads. Ask me to go swimming in a farm pond, NOPE not going to happen…
I went swimming in my uncle’s farm pond in Canada with my cousins. Then I noticed cows standing in the pond doing what cows do.
No more farm ponds from then on.
My understanding is it was a mother gator on a nest with young and the kayaker intentionally approached her for a better look. Saw that when it first came out. Before I heard the story, I thought given the time of year and the size of the gator that it was a female gator, and a nest but probably hatchlings were present. I’ll bet if the babies were there they were vocalizing. If you hear that it is best to just back off. If she was out to get him, she would have in my opinion.
I have seen gators at the barrier islands of SC. Gators will go into full salt water when the shallow ponds get too hot for them to survive, and the ocean water is cooler.
Don’t trust gators over 10 feet and be wary of any over 8’.
Agree…at least be more respectful. Keep away from them. They are the big boys and instead of running right away they size up the situation and make a decision if they think they can take you. Had gators think my 17ft kayak wasn’t so bad till they noticed I had another long kayak traveling with me. Even the big ones will often decide there is no “profit” is taking those things on.
Now Spring arrived today, officially. Gator mating season is a little later here in north Florida. We hear grunting in April through June. The big guys fight for territory. Best to give them wide water.
PS…don’t trust any size gators. Save that for your dog at home.
As someone who grew up in coastal Carolina then moved to the Seattle area later in life, I would say the hazards are just different.
- West has bears and mountain lions which seem more likely to approach humans than alligators.
- Southeast has more biting/stinging insects.
- West seems to have more indoor spiders in basements, garages, etc.
- Both have snakes.
- West has earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. Southeast has hurricanes.
- Shark danger seems greater in the West. Only saw little ones growing up.
- Seagulls will poop on your car on both coasts.
It seems the solution is to go to the Northeast, where the hazards are mostly snow, ice, cold water, and tourists. Still have the seagull poop issue though.
Just kidding, mostly. There are some amazing places all over the country. While certain hazards are unique to specific areas, no place is without hazards, and each has their own beauty.
Agree about insects. Mosquitos, compared to other parts of the country aren’t bad. I have to own my phobias here and admit to feeling unreasonable discomfort in the presence of reptiles and spiders.
We do have house spiders but not the really bad ones…usually, however, I suffered from two West-of-the-Cascades spider bites that required medical attention. Both happened in my basement. I don’t know what kind of spiders they were. Intellectually I understand the benefit that spiders provide but my fear of encounters with arachnids is such that I find it difficult to not view any spider that I see with extreme prejudice. We don’t have Black Widows or anything that resembles a hairy walking hand so there is that but, unfortunately, when a spider crosses my path, if a clear path of escape is not obvious to me I will waste the mother and view it as a legitimate act of self defense.
And reptiles…I am only aware of Garter Snakes west of the Cascades but even at that just the sight of one is always so startling and totally creeps me out. I never harm them because I heard once that they ate spiders.
There is something about the way lizards move that I find terrifying. Maybe it’s the way the go from frozen to 60 mph in under .5 seconds or roll their eyes like Marty Feldman. When a Geico commercial comes on I find a reason to go to the kitchen or bathroom or anywhere rather than stay in the same room with that little green mascot. Something inside that I struggle to control tells me that in spite of his wise words and friendly accent he is evil to his vile little core.
So when I see pictures of some of you folks calmly paddling through swamps and posting photos of poisonous snakes and giant flesh-eating Death Lizards or talking about living among them as I would about living with Seagulls and Salmon know that I am both horrified and in complete awe of your courage and adaptability.
I don’t think that I could ever paddle some of the places where you do.
Hmm, should I mention we also had carnivorous plants, i.e. venus fly traps.
Fairly lucky on the Chesapeake. Some areas of the Eastern Shore have pesky mosquitoes. Usually don’t encountered insects. Deer ticks can be plentiful in the launch area. North or west winds are best zsr because it’s in your face while returning. Except during August, it lets the flies with teeth come out into the channel. They persist and bite through everything.
We don’t have the seals, manatees and whales, gators or hippos, but dolphin sightings have become more common.
@3meterswell don’t ever come to Florida… seriously though, if you don’t like lizards. We have little harmless anoles EVERYWHERE (think similar to the Geico dude). They skitter around under your feet on the sidewalks, in the greenery, all over. I’ve had them on my sailboat. I think they are cute but I can see how they could be creepy. Plus the mangrove tree crabs, also totally harmless but they do look like big black spiders. I have seen people totally lose it in the mangroves when they realize there are thousands of them in sight.
I have a healthy respect for gators, although I don’t see them too often in the places I paddle (mostly on the coast, occasional spring fed rivers). Silver river probably has the highest concentration of them of the places I regularly go.
I see sharks occasionally, but honestly the animals that scare me the most when paddling are the manatees. Nothing like paddling over a sleeping 1500 lb invisible potato that explodes like a depth charge when you bump into it! I love them, but stay far away from them if I can see them. Problem is they are incredibly hard to see.
I think you do get used to the animals that are around where you are. I don’t really worry about any of the critters here, minor annoyances at best, but frankly paddle camping or hiking where there are bears would be a no-go for me. Definitely some over hyped news stories in play for sure, but… nope!
Alligators, and Mangrove Marsh snakes for another example, lack salt excreting glands. An alligator’s skin is too thick for salt to pass through also. But they can be in and hunt within salt water. When alligators come into brackish saline areas - where they do not normally live - it is food or loss of habitat which may be lacking where they were.
During drouths little Salt Marsh snakes get their liquid nourishment when they eat tree frogs and/or morning dew found on mangrove forest’s leaves.
While paddling the St. Sebastian River yesterday there were quite a few active gators. They’re not quite in their mating season yet - but it’s getting close (a bull gator’s honk will confirm the arrival) They were either on mangrove island shores or cooling off near the river bottom. I monitored water quality in the river and estuary for several years. Salinity usually showed up about half a meter below the surface. Near the mouth of the river as it flows into the estuary (brackish) the fresh water rides up over the salt water (20ppt) that comes in with the tide (through Sebastian inlet usually at 35ppt).
Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) reported finding juvenile Pythons (also not a salt water snake) living in isolation on Florida Keys islands. What was disturbing about that is they were born there. The adults would have had to adapt in order to survive for long term in salt water, just to migrate out there, mate, give birth to young and continue surviving in an ocean salt water environment.
A new to us invasive species has migrated from the Everglades to our area - the Argentine TEGU. They have been found about thirty miles south Sebastian. I look for them on the estuary’s spoil islands. None seen yet. Scary? Game over? I dunno…we’ll see.
Food, water, shelter, and sex - these creatures have no curiosity for any other thing. Just don’t be one one of those.
How does that even happen? There is a Deer Fly season on the BC coast and some beaches where they hang out. How they bite through clothing is beyond me but they do.