I was invited by Phillip Jarman of Athens to observe an 11 foot long alligator that inhabits one of his fishing holes.

We arrived at the backwater around noon and started our journey into the swampy area. Walking into an environment that favors snakes and gators requires that you stay very alert. The area we were entering was known for large cottonmouth snakes. The sun was breaking through the clouds and quickly warming up.

I knew the cold-blooded reptile would likely be soaking up the warmth of the spring sun. As Phillip and I made our way through the thick vegetation, I could see an opening and a body of water about 100 yards ahead. The last 50 yards we went into stealth mode and eased quietly to the edge of the water. I could hardly believe my eyes. About 50 feet from us was a very large alligator soaking up the sun.

I started filming and taking snap shots with my camera. The large reptile paid us no attention. I never expected in my wildest day to see a large gator in southern Limestone County. He looked to be very healthy, even on the chubby side. I was able to get close enough to get some good pictures.

We were there 15 to 20 minutes and the big boy never moved from where we first saw him.

You might ask, “How did we get alligators in Limestone County?”

Back in 1979, gators were turned loose on the wildlife refuge to help control the beaver population. The rest is history. One concern about the survival of the alligators this far north was the cold winter weather.

Alligators are cold-blooded reptiles and as the water cools it slows down their metabolism. The result is they go dormant. This creature has adapted to many environments over thousands of years. Alligators have a very diverse diet.

Fish make up a big portion of their diet, with turtles, snakes, and small mammals making up the rest. The reptiles are more aggressive when they are mating or have young nearby.

Gators are dangerous and should always be given their space. Never feed or do anything to provoke aggression.

Alligators are a protected creature and should never be harassed or killed. When humans invade the turf of wildlife, never let your guard down and disrupt the animals as little as possible.

As we see homes being constructed near wildlife habitats, we must learn to co-exist with nature.



Fishing News

Bass are returning to their post spawn locations. Wheeler Lake is yielding some good catches on buzz baits and chatter baits around shallow weed beds.

Smith Lake: Big, spotted bass and stripers are being caught early and late on top-water spooks over long points.

Guntersville Lake: Buzz bait, worms, and spinner baits are being used over the milfoil and hydrilla beds.

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