Thursday, November 15, 2012

Climbing alligators will get your attention

Climbing alligator at Lena Road. (Photo by Chris Hughes)

Chris Hughes' photo of a large alligator climbing a tall chain link fence at the Manatee County wastewater treatment plant off Lena Road is getting lots of attention today.

But it's not necessarily so unusual to see a gator trying to climb a fence there, says Amy Merrill of Manatee County government.

I stopped by the wastewater treatment plant Wednesday, hoping to see one of those myself.

Unfortunately, all was quiet on the fence, but Chris and his co-workers say gators are just part of campus life, often seen walking pond to pond or even trying to climb a fence.

What was the gator doing on the fence? The easy answer is it was trying to get to the other side. Workers out there suspect the gator was tracking prey, perhaps a raccoon walking along the top of the fence.

What I did see Wednesday was the customary huge flock of birds circling over the county landfill. One of them flew into a transformer while I was there. There was a loud boom as the transformer blew up and equipment went quiet. That happens a lot, too.

Chris' photo of that gator reminded me of Rosedale residents William and Mary Naylor, back in 2001.

One of their neighbors put a sign,  "Linger Lodge II," on their garage door.

The sign was in reference to snakes that came calling, and even a  4 1/2-foot alligator.

The Naylors had a photo of the gator standing on its hind legs and tail against the glass patio door.

I looked back in our archives and here is what Mary told me back then:

"He was just sitting out there, looking in the window. At first, you would think someone was playing a trick or it was a fake," Mary said.

The Naylors called on Rosedale's head golf pro Dave Dickens to remove the reptile.

 Dickens took  a length of plastic pipe, the kind used in yard sprinkler systems, and a loop to lasso the gator and move him to a golf course lake.

"He got so excited when he saw the water," Mary said of the gator. "He just zoomed in there."

-- Jim Jones


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