Smile Please! Featured Question with Forrest

croc imageMr. Fenn, were you ever concerned  for Beowulf eating or biting your guests, customers, or family?  ~ miser

 

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Thanks for the question miser. Humans feel an inherent apprehension when they’re around alligators, so the natural tendency is to stay out of biting range. Twice a week I fed Elvis and Beowulf beef liver. Beowulf would swim up and take it his food from my hand. He was a gentleman. It was Elvis I had to watch, and although he was just two feet long, when he smelled the liver he would lunge at my hand. He reminded me of a math teacher I had in high school.

One early winter day I was looking for Beowulf because it was time to put him in his winter quarters where the water was slightly heated. Elvis was already there enjoying the warmth. I finally found Beowulf under some lily pads and grabbed him by his tail. He was about 4 feet long and I expected him to thrash and resist his capture. Instead, he was lethargic, didn’t move at all. His eyes and mouth were closed. I think he was just cold.

When I sold our gallery, the new owner was showing her insurance agent around the property. They opened the gate leading to the pond just in time to see Beowulf chasing a fat duck across the yard. That did it for the two reptiles and they were shipped to a bayou in Louisiana. My alligators were not good pets but they were good for business, because everyone likes to look at them. I am reminded of a poem from Alice in Wonderland:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

 

 

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13 Responses

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    Fun Question and Answer! Thanks ‘miser’ and Forrest. So you can smile at a crocodile (alligator) if you keep your distance and don’t have liver in your hand……lol…

  2. Jenny Kile says:

    And I have to laugh because I just posted about something on Alice in Wonderland on my Facebook page under Tuesday’s Treasure….. it seems it’s Thursday’s too….:)

  3. E* says:

    Forrest – Because inquiring minds ALWAYS want to know:

    http://www.loyno.edu/lucec/natural-history-writings/where-do-alligators-go-winter

    Where do they go during our winter cold months? The average person probably thinks they “hibernate.” The actually brummate. That is, they react to a cold environment by slowing their metabolic activity, but certainly not to the deep torpor of true hibernation.

  4. Ed says:

    Thats great! Certainly no hibernation here. 6th trip of the season. A final sweep before the bitter cold. Have all the equipment necessary for the job.

  5. Forrest Fenn says:

    I suspected someone would ask where those two guys got their names. Elvis was named by the young son of a client. He thought the alligator looked like a famous singer of the day. I think the kid was over- dosed on Lollypop at the time. I named Beowulf after the hero in a poem I was reading. It’s not very romantic but there you have it.

  6. william says:

    Here if Florida they are in every pond, lake and river. I do a lot of bass fishing and the problem is if you don’t get your fish to shore fast enough then a big Beowulf would get him a free meal.

  7. deb says:

    How could Beowulf not be romantic, Forrest? 🙂
    I am glad they got back to a more normal environment for them.

  8. jdiggins says:

    Hmmm. I doth recall this sweet little poem from not too long ago…
    🙂

  9. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the cool answer f. All animals have their own personalities and all are different. I like the well behaved ones as well as the wild type. Normally, the gators don’t eat during the winter. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

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