Tuesday, May 16, 2006

mrs. camino and i hunt gators

There is much flora and fauna to be found in the chewy center of the man-made island that holds Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and most of it lies undisturbed within a nature reserve or semi-disturbed within the Gulf State Park. I camped out at this park frequently with my mother’s family while growing up and remember hearing the alligators in the water just down the steep embankment from our tent. We were perfectly safe, as the bastards aren’t known for their wall climbing skills, but there was little to protect us from the wits of banditing raccoons and their thumbed ingenuity that caused us to lose so much granola and lunchmeat. The fiends can actually open Igloo coolers, and this led to my cousin and I having to share a tent with all of the raccoon enticing food supplies.
I put on a lot of weight that summer.
Anyway, there is now a paved walkway being laid through the middle of the island, and Mrs. Camino and I brought our fattened Brittany spaniel along to traverse it, though there really wasn’t much traversing to be done. Hurricanes have slowed the construction, and there are only a couple of miles to be walked. Still, the sunlight, eighty-degree temperatures, and exercise were enough to exhaust Carl Weathers, seen here cooling his soft underbelly on the elevator floor upon our return.
carl in elevator
Click on any of these to embiggen, by the way.
The more feral animals one might find within the island are presented on a chart along the trail, though none were actually encountered during our short stay.
trail fauna
There are the aforementioned raccoons along with an assortment of lizards, turtles, diamond back rattlesnakes, alligators, bobcats, birds of prey, and a couple of different types of foxes, my favorite being the red fox.
They appear just as they do on television and are known for their peculiar defense mechanism of feigning a heart attack when surprised or upset.
However, we were more interested in the elusive alligator.
A marshland near the main beach has been laced with elevated walkways for the sole purpose of allowing tourists to possibly view the gators in what closely resembles their natural habitat.
Although these are wild alligators and not subject to the same contractual obligations as the zoo variety, this “do not feed the gators” sign gave us hope of spotting a few.
Mrs. Camino actually thought she saw one as we entered the walkway. It was at the front of the creek along the sidewalk and road, and it appeared to me to be nothing but a discarded tire partially sunken in the mud.
Anyway we circled through the walkway a few times and found nothing. Here we are actually looking at nothing.
A couple staying at an adjacent RV campground said they spotted an iguana that had escaped from a kid in the campground, but even that was gone by the time we got around to see it.
The discarded tire was still there as we left, and Mrs. Camino was not ready to accept my explanation. We stared at it for a while, and she snapped this picture.
a small gator, not a tire
Upon further inspection over coffee this morning, I’ve come to agree with Mrs. Camino. The bastards have perhaps evolved to mimic the appearance of discarded tires, as there is no sign specifically prohibiting the feeding of discarded tires.
Nature always finds a way, I suppose.
Sorry, dear.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article as usual.I was particularly impressed by your descriptions of racoons. I live on the northside of Indianapolis which is heavily forested for a major city.Anyway there are racoons everywhere on the property where I live.Racoons are seen by many{or is it most}people to be a nuisance.Yes,racoons can be a nuisance but it is that very quality which makes them so fascinating to me.What an incredibly resourceful,adaptable and just overall intelligent creature.Anyway thanks for putting a smile on my face everyday and please keep up the good work. Brian

12:54 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...


There. Much better.

I have nothing but love for the racoon and have always wanted one for a pet. They are indeed resourceful and are known to populate every area of the U.S.

3:11 PM  

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