Here is a fun fact bout me; I am not a huge fan of reptiles.  I don’t mind smaller lizards or turtles so much just once they reach a certain size I may, or may not run away like a big baby.  So, imagine my reaction when I found out that an alligator was found in Kentucky Lake over the weekend.

The short and sweet of it is that the alligator was already dead when it was found.  Most likely due to being hit in the head by a passing boat propeller.  However, seeing this story reminded me of the time I went on a swamp tour in Louisiana.  Spoiler alert: I did not like it…

So, before moving to the Tri-State I was living in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I can assure you I was always on my toes when I was near water down there.  Anyway, last Fourth of July my mom and brother came to visit for the weekend and wanted to see more of the state.  So, what do three Yankees do to really see Louisiana?  They jump on an airboat and go deep into the bayou.

First off, if you ever get the chance to take an airboat tour of the swamps do it.  It is some of the most beautiful sightseeing you can do.  Just don’t let the driver take you into some honey hole and turn the boat’s engine off.  It’s kind of exciting…. until things start swimming up to your boat.  Of course, by things I mean alligators.  Not just a little three-footer either.  I’m talking eight-foot monsters.

As you can probably guess I wanted no part in this section of the tour.  Especially after the guide said,

“Well I was hoping the bull wouldn’t be back here this morning.”  Proceeding to have the family with two smaller kids in front of us sit higher in their seats.

Instead of starting the engine back up and moving out of the honey hole (which is what I was hoping would happen) we stay right where we are and the guide starts feeding the alligators.  Not only does he feed them he is also able to pet one like it was some puppy he had raised.  I’ll admit I was impressed and terrified when I saw that.

Now, here is where I really started freaking out.  Remember that “bull” he was hoping wouldn’t be back where we were?  Well he starts swimming right next to the boat.  Keep in mind the airboat is only about five inches out of the water.  Safe to say we could get really friendly with this bull if we or he wanted to.  As he’s swimming on one side, I’m praying he stays right there and leaves my side alone…. yeah, I wish things worked out like that.  Next thing I know I am no more than two feet away from this giant killing machine with my heart about explode out of my chest.  It doesn’t help that he starts nibbling on the side of the boat.  Yup, I wish he wasn’t back there that morning either.

After what seemed like an eternity the guide finally decides we had been back there long enough. (trust me we had) He turns on the engine and we start moving.  FINALLY!  But to make sure we got our money’s worth; we go right next to the shore of the honey hole where there is a whole nest of baby alligators.  Not to mention we were still being followed by the three full-grown ones.  I almost cried.

My mom and brother still tease me about being so scared.  To which I always respond,

“I know where I sit on the food chain when I’m in the animal’s element.”

If there was a point to this story it would be let’s keep alligators out of our lakes, please.  Seeing them that close up was more than enough fun to last a lifetime.

The Bull
Ross Cooper
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Falling Rock Park- La Grange, Kentucky

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