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Old 04-30-2010, 10:04 AM
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Default Alligator Photographed By 60 ft. Reef Off Palm Beach, FL




... an Alligator in 60 ft. of water off the Breakers in Palm Beach!!!?

WHAT is a gator doing in saltwater and that far offshore. Got me, would have sworn it had to have been a crocodile but they so no, a 5 to 6 ft. gator snoozing on the sand. They are supposed to have gator in New York sewers, maybe this one got flushed too and washed out an ocean outfall?



From: http://www.TheLivingSea.com/gallery.php#2

"PALM BEACH, FL -- A rare site on the Breakers reef. Lazaro Ruda had a unique encounter with an alligator at 60 feet below the surface.

He thought it was a prank with other divers until the gator moved its leg. He ended up getting video of it as it moved to the surface.

In his own words:

While diving today at one of the more popular reefs in Palm Beach I had an encounter I never expected. I had a handful of divers who I was guiding across the sand to the end of Breaker's Reef -- a patch reef called Turtle Mound. This patch reef has been very good to me giving me such amazing encounters like great hammerheads, numerous sea turtles, and tons of unique small creatures, but today it really went out of its way to impress.

As I cruised along the sand, from the hazy distance I could see a dark shadow. Not being able to discern its shape too well I thought to myself, "Holy cow! That's a huge stingray." This sandy area usually has some very large southern stingrays, so I swam towards it with my camera in hand. I couldn't believe my eyes. This creature was so out of place that I thought it was nothing more than a well planned out hoax by my good friends. I took a photo from a distance in case it wasn't a hoax so I would have some kind of proof.

As I approached closer I looked carefully at its mouth for the tell-tale sign of what I thought it was -- a salt water crocodile (in 60 feet of water!). But I could tell it wasn't a crocodile. It was, in fact, a 5 - 6 foot American alligator. Its eyes were closed and it did not move so I was almost certain this was one heck of a joke my friends were playing on me. I mean, no one can expect to see an alligator miles out in the ocean. So I approached within inches of it to get some pictures you know to play along with the joke. But suddenly its eyes opened and it moved its legs. Oh my goodness!! I could not believe this gator was the REAL thing." More images and story at: http://www.wpbf.com/travelgetaways/23314638/detail.html


A video of the encounter:
https://vimeo.com/13665376


There was a case of an 8 ft. alligator off Picnic Island on the West Coast of Florida in 2002. More at: http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...g=3846,4522007


Alligator to Crocodile comparison:


"Another difference between alligators and crocodiles is the presence or absence of viewable teeth. Crocodile's top and bottom teeth are viewable from the side, whereas alligator's bottom teeth are not."
From: http://techforedblog.blogspot.com/20...lligators.html

The open ocean is reportedly not the normal habitat of alligators. This indvidual was reported four miles south of the nearest inlet.

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Old 04-30-2010, 10:06 AM
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Alligators in the ocean, not so unheard of after all? Starting to wonder if the alligator off Palm Beach, didn't go there over land instead of through South Lake Worth Inlet. Alternatively, they have been sighted to the west of the area and there are a lot of mangroves remaining along the Intracoastal in some areas in northern Palm Beach County. More below.



There have been other sightings of alligators in saltwater like the one shown above off the shoreline in Cocoa Beach, FL in June last year and as detailed further below.
"Most of us have accepted the fact that sharks sometimes loom beneath our boards...but alligators in the ocean - not so much. Believe it or not, on Thursday, June 25 an eight-foot-long gator slithered its way through the wav"
Continued at: http://www.surfermag.com/features/on...tellite_beach/


... another on Tybee Island at the beach in Georgia last year:
http://www.ajc.com/news/9-foot-allig...und-99889.html


... another at a Destin, FL beach last year:
http://www.thedestinlog.com/articles...-deputies.html


... and another off New Jersey also in June last year:

"Officials with Camp Lejeune's Land and Wildlife Resources section were called in to help a 7-foot American alligator navigate the surf and get back to its home in the nearby sound."
"It took about 40 minutes for lifeguards and beach maintenance crews to get about 2,000 beach goers off the shore and back behind the dunes for safety."
From: http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/bea...alligator.html


... and a 6 footer not too far north from Palm Beach along the shore of South Hutchenson Island, FL:
"SOUTH HUTCHINSON ISLAND — St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputies and a game officer worked for almost two hours Sunday to remove a 6-foot alligator from the Atlantic Ocean before a licensed trapper arrived to haul it from the surf with a fishing rod and grappling hook." From: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/sep/...ntic-ocean-so/


... another off Ft. Walton Beach last year:

More at: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/all...h-johnson.html


... and 20 miles offshore from Georgia swimming with whales; more at: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/pets-an...ng-with-whales


... and on Topsail Beach, North Carolina in July last year;

more at: http://www.starnewsonline.com/articl...CLES/907229964


... and two off Jacksonville in 2004; the article added:
"Woody Woodward, an alligator biologist with the conservation commission in Gainesville, said the agency gets several complaints a year about gators along Florida's coast. "It happens occasionally," Woodward said. However, the freshwater creatures can't stay there long because the saltwater will dehydrate them, he said. "Saltwater is not the ideal habitat for them," Woodward said. "They start getting uncomfortable after about a week."
Alligators can handle the brackish water in small creeks that lead to the ocean. But unlike saltwater crocodiles, which have special glands that pull salt out of their circulatory system, alligators don't have any way to cope with the saltwater."
http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/st...15892906.shtml


... one over 40 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico by an oil rig:
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3878196


Historic alligator attacks on people and ideas on how to manage such encounters are discussed in this Fish and Wildlife report: http://web.archive.org/web/200605080...tack+Sheet.pdf


Maybe not so rare after all? Also, alligators can grow large at times, here is a big one in more normal freshwater haunts reportedly in Florida AND Texas? Which state was it?


An alligator carrying a deer home. This same large alligator may have been later killed in someone's backyard by a wildlife official. Not sure of the accuracy of this report however.


Photos from: http://www.rivertalknews.com/040407-05.pdf


A 12 ft. alligator showed up in a stormwater sewer about two miles west of the Intracoastal in Lake Worth last year. There are still some mangroves left along the ICW particularly to the north of South Lake Worth Inlet. Maybe some gators to go with too. http://www.wpbf.com/news/21082077/detail.html

Perhaps with the alligator population becoming reestablished they are spreading out a little bit.

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Old 04-30-2010, 10:19 AM
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I spoke to some of the biologists with the Florida Fish And Game Commission including "Woody" Woodward and Blair Hamman. It was indicated that there is research to support small alligators surviving in saltwater for at least six days. It would thought larger individuals might be able to persist longer. http://tinyurl.com/28xnqt8

I asked what they would advise if someone came across a submerged alligator in the ocean. As common sense would support, to not approach too closely, startle or threaten the alligator. They can sprint at around 8 to 10 mph on the surface, likely doing something less than that underwater. In any event, faster than we can swim. Mr. Woodward indicated that an alligator might cover 10 to 15 miles fairly easily in a day. He indicated that in clear water, alligators may sometimes hunt by remaining motionless on the bottom. They stay that way in the fashion of stonefish until prey comes close enough to strike. Looks like the alligator in the photo might have been contemplating something like that? Who knows.

Someone should pass that possibility on to Laz. Not sure there will be a next time but if there is, even more distance might be a good idea. May ruin a good photo op but beats ruining a perfectly good diver. Alligators aren't all that able to chew prey into smaller bits. They use rotational forces in a "death roll" to drown and then dismember prey. Some prey is stashed underwater following this to soften up, like hanging meat only submerged. So, they seem to do ok dealing with prey underwater. More at:

Crocodilians in the US: The American Alligator and The American Crocodile- Final Draft

Clip of a small gator rolling to manage a frog for dinner:
YouTube - alligator death roll
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:03 PM
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Below is fake for sure, the one with the dear was in lake istokpoga which is where I grew up, not too far fetched, but the image below is a def. fake.


Photos from: http://www.rivertalknews.com/040407-05.pdf

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Old 05-03-2010, 05:02 AM
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These folks say the photo is real but of a much smaller gator, "only" 13 ft. long. http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/wcgator.asp

Lots of misinformation on the Internet, especially about those two photos (hanging gator and the gator swimming with the deer). So far, the underwater images of this gator seem to be real.
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