Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Galloping Gators!

on October 12, 2013


The other evening, as my canine and I were heading for the lake (a small pond, actually, but everyone calls it “THE LAKE”) when a kindly old gent stopped us.

“Better be careful,” he bellowed from across the street (most of the old timers here bellow at me…I think they believe that the ear pods I wear are hearing aids) and he cast a furtive glance in the direction we were heading.  “John told me that there’s a gator roaming around up the street.  I wouldn’t go down that way, if I were you.”

“Thanks!” I waved and headed off towards the lake.  Since I had no idea who this man was and being totally clueless of who the heck “John” was, I decided to follow our normal route. Gators or not, my pup needed exercise and a place to squat.

There are actually two gators who call our little “lake” home and they differ vastly in size.  I call the smaller one (approximately four feet) “Goober” and I have labeled the bigger eight foot mammer jammer “Godzilla.” They seem to tolerate these names well as they haven’t hissed at me or lunged in an effort to grab me in a death roll.

My pup and I have greeted these mini dinosaurs many times in the past months and in return, they totally ignore us.  They don’t seem to find my chicken legs that I walk on tempting and my sixty-five pound puppy is a little too large for their tastes.

Of course, I’m not stupid.  I’ve lived in Florida long enough that I know to keep a watchful eye out when near the water so that lurking rascally reptiles don’t catch me unaware and decide that they want to have me for dinner.  Actually, it’s not the alligators to blame when they attack a human, 99.9% of the time the humans have brought it on themselves.

They think it’s cute to feed them, allowing the gators to get comfortable with Homo sapiens bearing gifts.  So you really can’t blame them when they see you and believe you’re bringing them goodies…and for deciding on Plan B (a big chunk of you) for a new culinary experience.

Bravely, I popped my ear buds back in and my pup and I proceeded to begin our walk around the water while I kept a keen eye on the banks of the lake.  It wasn’t long before I spotted “Goober” lazing on the center island of the lake.

alligator_6  Now, Goober and Godzilla don’t hang out together, so extra vigilance (all due to the town crier’s warning regarding galloping gators) was maintained as we proceeded around the bend.

I felt something brush against the back of my legs and I didn’t hesitate for a second.  I just knew that Godzilla had snuck up behind me and barely missed taking a chunk out of my butt. I did what any smart, self-respecting Floridian would do when they become an object of desire to a gator…I screamed and ran like hell, pulling my poor, confused pup along with me.  I didn’t look back until I felt that I had left Godzilla behind in the dust of my tracks.


As I turned to see how far I had outrun the voracious monster, I found a silent and empty street behind me.  The banks of the lake were empty, no bikers or walking dead were cruising the street and no grinning gator was in sight.  Confused, I spent a few moments peeking over the edge of the lake and only found a couple of ducks…I swear they were laughing at me.  Raising my eyes, I caught sight of Godzilla on the other side of the lake, drifting along without a care in the world.

I spent another few minutes resting while my heart rate slowed, my breath returned and my puppy fearlessly took a pee.  A few residents, hearing my previous blood curdling scream poked their heads out of their doors.  Mortified, I just waved and hustled down the street to avoid questions about my less than courageous behavior.

Once again, the soft brush against my legs returned…but this time I turned before repeating my embarrassing waddle and found the source of this terrifying threat was my dog’s fluffy tail wagging against my legs.

Mystery solved.  Feeling like a complete idiot, who could no longer claim that “gators don’t scare this tough old broad”, my puppy and I finally finished our walk and arrived home all in one piece.

I think that the next time “John” sends a message down the neighborhood pipeline…I’ll heed his advice and take a different route…a road where I know no-one witnessed my cowardly escape from the imaginary jaws of death.



P.S.  Here are a few mythbusters for you, just in case you get a visit from Goober or Godzilla in your neighborhood.

1.  Alligators can’t run as fast as a quarterhorse…top speed for an adult gator has been clocked at ten miles per hour.  They can only maintain the speed for short bursts.

2.  Most people believe that you need to maintain a ZIG-ZAG pattern when running away from an agressive gator.  WRONG!  They can’t see straight ahead so just high tail it out of there in a straight line and you’ll be okay.

And, just a reminder from an old lady who has lived in Florida for 25 years.  Don’t feed or swim with the gators.  It’s not healthy for them or for you!

29 responses to “Galloping Gators!

  1. tric says:

    Great advice. I will bear it in mind around the walkways of Cork! Loved this Cranky. I could perfectly picture you legging it away from that ancient dinosaur having come within an inch of losing your life! 🙂

  2. Bastet says:

    LOL fantastic! I can just imagine the scene, the classical bump in the night after being primed by some well meaning citizen! I’ll remember to run in a straight line the next time I run into a croccagator (well we do have ducks anyway 😉 and they do laugh!)

  3. btg5885 says:

    You need to beware, Grandma. Remember the chorus from “Polk Salad Annie?” Also, last line of defense – run faster than the dog. All kidding aside Mary Ellen, I am glad you are OK and can laugh about. Take care, BTG

    • M E McMahon says:

      I had to pull on the dog since he had no clue why his scaredy cat owner was running like a bat out of hell. Okay..maybe I wasn’t that fast…more like a slug out of purgatory! 🙂

  4. PookyH says:

    This really made me laugh. Sounds absolutely like something I would do (though there are no gators in London thankfully 😉

  5. Basharr says:

    I loved this story, you should be counting your blessings you made it home with clean clothes…lol I once came upon a vehicle accident in a canyon where I grew up. I could see headlights shining up through the trees off the side of a hill. I sent a friend for help in my car and slid down the side of the hill to a truck that was on its side at the bottom. It was dark, no flash light and nobody I could see as I circled the truck in the dark I stepped on something firm but with some give. Before I could stop my full weight was on this mass and it gurgled and made a noise that seemed to be a large sigh as liquid squirted across my jeans. At that point I almost had a heart attack along with a really bad accident in my jeans. Then a light shined down from the road above and highlighted a slow running creek and my foot stepping on a half submerged tire full of mud and water. Turns out was a stolen vehicle and it had been cleaned out and pushed over the edge. But that night I almost dropped dead of fright.

    • M E McMahon says:

      I’m with you on that one pal. It’s funny how your mind flips to a worst case scenario when it’s dark outside! I have no excuse, it was daylight when I made my mad dash.

      Your story had me laughing til my sides hurt. Thanks for the chuckles!

      • Basharr says:

        Yeah I guess it is a natural reaction as there have been numerous times in my life where it was nothing but it was dark and all I had was imagination to fuel the situation. Glad you had a good chuckle, I remember that night like it was yesterday. =)

  6. D.G. Kaye says:

    Omg, you are a riot, I have nominated you for an award as one of my favourite bloggers! 🙂

  7. barbtaub says:

    And Cranky is baaack! I was laughing so hard at the picture of the screaming slug out of purgatory dragging the confused 65-lb leg-brushing puppy. But part of me is saying that I can’t wait to visit Florida — never! Sorry Cranky, but you’re just going to have to come to England. We might have the odd ghost, but as far as I know, they don’t view us as hors d’oeuvres.

    • M E McMahon says:

      I would love to come to England and meet some “ghosties.” I am applying for a visa next month (never had one) in the hopes that if my novel (which might be finished in my lifetime) makes a few bucks…I’ll be able to travel to those countries on my bucket list…England tops the list after Ireland!

      Glad you liked it!

      • barbtaub says:

        Ireland, huh? Okay, I guess the “McMahon” might explain that. My mother’s people were from Cork.

        Good news! You don’t need a visa for UK or Ireland. Just grab your passport and head out. But I do hope it will include a trip to England some day. I guarantee we are a gator-free zone.

        And just in case the novel takes a while to finance European vacations, watch out for that puppy meanwhile. I think he’s trying to kill you.

      • M E McMahon says:

        Hey, that might make a great book. I’m thinking titles like: Demon Dog? The Scarlet Pup? Or The Dog Done Did It! 🙂

      • barbtaub says:

        Too bad you didn’t name him “Spot”. Then you could have had “Out, out damn Spot.”

  8. jengolightly says:

    In the UK we are doing well with terrapins in lakes growing to the size of dustbin lids, they eat ducks but wouldn’t chase anyone walking their dog lol ….!

  9. andshelaughs says:

    I loved this one, and had a good laugh too! I reminds me of the time I was lounging in a northern lake and was convinced a huge fish brushed my leg….I turned into an Olympic athlete in under three seconds!!! Glad you and the pup are ok.

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