St. John’s River winds slowly through the Eastern part of north and central Florida. It’s a wonderfully picturesque river well known to be teeming with alligators.
So, one day a friend of mine told me she wanted to see some alligators. Considering it was early afternoon on a sunny, sweltering hot day in mid-August I asked:
“Do you think it will be too hot for the alligators to come out of the water?”
Neither of us knew for sure so we shrugged and went to check it out anyway. We headed to a small viewing area near Christmas, FL, well past the city limits of Orlando.
Well, the short of it is, we didn’t see a single alligator. On all of my previous trips to the St. John’s River I’ve always seen alligators so it was slightly disappointing. With it being so hot, no doubt they were hanging out in the deep cool water somewhere. Can’t blame ’em.
Which brings me to an interesting fact about alligators: while they cannot breathe underwater, they can hold their breath underwater for up to 24 hours! Wow!
We did see something else, though, cows! I know, not that remarkable. I didn’t even take any good pictures of them. It was only on the ride home that we really got to thinking about the cows.
What we got to contemplating is how the cows remained safe amidst all the alligators. Maybe alligators don’t like eating cows? We wondered, hmm.
So of course we had to google it and thus we found out that alligators do eat cows… so how were these ones remaining unharmed?
The answer seems to lie somewhere between the size of the cows and the laziness of the alligators. Seriously, eating smaller things like turtles, snakes or fish is just much less effort for them. Remember how low to the ground they are… and staring up at this huge cow. It doesn’t scare them, it just seems like a lot of extra effort to go to. Kinda like when you may think of making lasagna from scratch for dinner and then opt to open a can of ravioli instead.
It does seem to be true though that the bigger the alligator the more likely it is to attack a cow. Makes sense. Bigger, bolder. I found all this interesting info on this blog post by Wild Florida: “5 facts about alligators in florida that surprise people the most.”
Another thing that amazed me is how the water in certain areas looks almost completely black, like in the photo above! Of course this is due to certain kinds of plants and trees that color the water. Still it’s a strange phenomenon.
Thanks for enjoying wild Florida!
Check out more interesting Florida content here: All Things Florida