Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Mysterious Highway Alligators

A week ago I promised you a story with pictures.  Today I deliver on that promise.

A highway alligator can be found throughout the world, where ever trucks are found to travel.  They live quietly on the side of roadways, in ditches, really any place where they have some cool grass or weeds to lay in.  Their diet is still unknown, although I suspect that they are a scavenger animal and may feed on the trash and debris that seems to find its way into ditches and along roadsides blown out from passing vehicles or just tossed out by motorists unaware they are feeding anything. 

The best place to spot these elusive creatures is on interstate highways or other heavily traveled 4-lane or bigger roadways.  They are not dangerous if left alone.  However, if they venture onto the road they can really make a mess of a vehicle undercarriage and will bite at the tires of your car if you do happen upon them and run over them when they are sunning themselves on the hot asphalt or concrete roads. 

Last Sunday as I traveled across the state of Kansas on Interstate 70, I was able to safely pick up two highway alligators and bring them back to the farm.  I saw so many more but these two were the easiest to relocate.  They reside quietly in the brom grass underneath one of the pine trees in the yard.  I don't know what the hunting season or even the tagging process for gator hunting in Kansas is so if I poached them, it was for their own protection and they have been released. 

Their markings varying, I am not sure why but some have a smoother hide like the smaller one I picked up just west of Salina, Kansas.

The bigger one has the more traditional markings and I found this one west of Hays.  There was a long trail of gator scat leading up to it so I knew I was getting close.

My daughter was the luckiest this week, finding a very rare city road gator laying in the median as she was traveling to an appointment in the Greater Kansas City Metro area.  She was lucky to be in a position to snap a picture of it before she entered the flow of traffic.  I was so happy to see it was not in the street!

It is best just to leave these creatures where they lay.  If they are in the road, it is more hazardous to you to try to stop your car and move them to the edge of the road than to just be on the look out and try to drive around them.  It is not suggested to try to straddle them unless you have no other recourse because the are unpredictable and could bite at your tire when you startle them.  Best to leave sleeping alligators be!

*From the imagination of Nancy