Category Archives: animal

My New Favorite Shark Story

Near Myrtle Beach, SC (more specifically, Rice Circle, Cherry Grove, SC) a 5-ft, 200-lb Bull Shark decided to have a little snack on a 2-ft, 7-lb Red Drum (bass) fish. Of course that’s not really news at all. However, when that Red Drum is on the line of a fisherman (er, uh, fisherwoman) when the shark makes his move and the camera is rolling, well now we have a story!

Sarah Brame was fishing off a ‘marsh-front’ house dock while her fiance William Moore of Franklinton, NC had the camera. She hooked the fish and he aimed the camera to witness the reel-in. Then out of nowhere…(caution: some language justifiably NSFW)

Local news station WPDE caught up with the couple….

“Let’s go swimming” was a phrase not uttered for weeks.

There are typically only three kinds of sharks that will attack humans: Great White, Tiger, and Bull. Bull Sharks are the only ones that don’t care if the water is salty, brackish, or fresh. However, pretty much all sharks attack fish!

And the freaky thing? The more I look at the map, the more I’m realizing that last summer we stayed at a beach house less than a mile from this incident!

Sigh. A mile short and a year early. The story of my life. 🙁

American Alligator

Dragon vs Dragon (taken by Rob Williams)

When the early Spanish explorers visited the southeastern now-USA coast, especially in Florida, they saw some of the biggest lizards they’d ever seen. El Largato (Spanish for ‘lizard’) became Anglicized into Alligator to describe these beasts that, according to the fossil record, have been around for more than 35 million years. Though the current record for the largest gator is over 19 feet long (and weighed over a ton!), the average adults are around 9-11 feet long and can live as long as a human. They have five toes per foot in the front and 4 toes per foot in the back. Their bite-force has been measured over 9400 newtons – the strongest of any currently living animal.

Gators live here

While we lived in Orlando, we were always cautioned that if there is a body of water, there could be a gator in it. I couldn’t help but always scan the surfaces trying to spy a dinosaur. The photo above is one I took of a 4-5 foot gator in the pond at the entrance of our subdivision (with a dragonfly buzzing around its head).

Gators are freshwater beasts that will eat pretty much anything they think they can overtake. Normally, at least in Florida, a gator isn’t considered a nuisance until it’s at least 4 feet long with the exceptions that it “approaches people, does not retreat if approached, or is in a location that is not natural”. Normally in Florida, a nuisance gator is killed and sold for it’s hide and meat. (BTW, a marinated, fried gator tale is kinda tasty!)

Enter the Gator Boys. Have you seen this show on The Animal Planet? These guys catch nuisance gators, take them back to their park in the Everglades, perform shows and release them back into a safe part of the wild. This is probably my favorite clip from Animal Planet’s “Gator Boys”.

I really like this show because they are an alternative nuisance gator removal (aka rescue) no-kill extraction unit group that shows these animals great respect in the Florida Everglades.

However, sometimes, in some places, the nuisance is overbearing. Presently I can’t find confirmation, but it’s my understanding that in the state of Louisiana, especially in the nation’s largest swamp, the Louisiana Atchafalaya River Basin, many years ago the American Alligator became a protected species. It worked so well that now there is a bit of an over-population. Therefore, for most of the month of September every year, there is a state-wide, tightly regulated gator hunting season.

Enter the History Channel’s “Swamp People”:

Globally, gators have some cousins. The most popular is the Crocodile. Next is the Caiman. Last is the Gavialidae. My short differentiation is that though all are Crocodilia, each are different sizes and have different shapes for their snout. Additionally, basically, gators live in the southeast US, Caiman live in South America, Gavialidae live in India, and Crocs live in SE Asia and Australia.

Finally, following is perhaps the best infographic about gators I’ve ever found.

Awesome Alaska

I loved my trip to Alaska a few years ago. It’s an amazing place. Maybe I’ll share some of those photos with you later. But what I want to show you now is this great video that is making the rounds online.

Redheaded Woodpecker

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged or did much photography.  I don’t know why.  But there was a redheaded woodpecker in the backyard this weekend and so I shot it. You know what I mean. Here’s proof.

Redheaded Woodpecker

Readheaded Woodpecker underneath

Don’t forget, these are fairly large birds as hopefully you can see in the shots.  If it weren’t for their bright red heads they would be hard to spot.  You can hear them pecking away, but they are fast movers. They don’t sit still long.

Puerto Rican Parrots – and an Iguana

Puerto Rican Parrots

These beautiful Puerto Rican Parrots are endangered but have been making a comeback (it is possible the birds we’re seeing aren’t exactly the PR Parrots but they could be a variation) CORRECTION: These are Red-masked Parakeets. They only live in Puerto Rico. Every now and then when we visit we’ll see a flock flying around. Today a group of about 7 landed close. I hate that the photos a bit blurry, but I maxed out my zoom and still had to crop tight. A couple more…

2 Puerto Rican Parrots

And there are, believe it or not, 5 parrots in this one. You may need to see the large version to find them. Can you spot the 5?

Can You Find All 5?

Also got to see a huge iguana sunning himself.

Iguana Sunning Himself