Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Florida Alligator Rules Apply in South Carolina, Too

Over a year ago, I responded to an email from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission about "living with alligators".  One of those laws (from the FWC) was "if you see an alligator keep your distance."  A recent death in South Carolina shows those rules apply there as well.

Cynthia Covert, 58, came to Kiawah Island, a gated community southeast of Charleston, to give the homeowner a manicure Friday.  The homeowner reported that while Ms. Covert was "professional in her salon," but was relaxed and excited at the home, talking about her boyfriend’s visit from Tennessee, and brought a glass of wine with her.  Uh oh.  Alcohol is not usually a good sign in stories like this.
Covert saw the alligator while working on the woman’s porch and when Covert finished she started taking pictures of the alligator, the woman told deputies.

The woman and her husband started screaming for Covert to get away from the alligator because they saw it grab a deer a few days earlier, deputies said.

Covert said “I don’t look like a deer” and reached to touch the alligator when the animal attacked, according to the report.

The husband and a neighbor grabbed a rope and threw it to Covert when she surfaced and stood in the pond. Covert grabbed the rope and said “I guess I wont do this again,” but was suddenly pulled under by the alligator, the police report said.
Her official cause of death was not Covid-19 the alligator's bite injuries (one of her legs was badly mauled) but drowning.  This is how alligators attack; they'll grab a leg and spin.  Worst case (to the gator) is they rip off the leg and get that to eat.  Most of the time they drown the animal and eat the whole thing.

I don't think alligators fall into the "cute and cuddly" category from Disney/Bambi, I just think it's total ignorance of the reality of nature.  She thought it was neat and unusual enough to take pictures of.  Ms. Covert won't be around to learn from her mistake, though.  I don't want to make fun of her, but sometimes a person only gets one chance to not make the mistake.

Another great Robert A. Heinlein quote comes to mind, or a portion of it.  It's from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long.  Heinlein wrote this in the context of space flight and exploration (if I remember the book correctly!) but it applies whenever we interact with nature. 
... stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.

Remember, folks, the alligator has the right of way.  You let go where it wants and leave it the f*** alone.  You get out of its way.  You don't try to feed it, unless you want to be known as "stumpy" for the rest of your life, or "the late..."  There's more at the March '19 post.


  1. À of Darwin's enforcers for millenia,....

  2. I've heard the same thing about "city folk" coming across cute, cuddly, fuzzy little baby bears out here.

    They don't realize that where there's cubs, there's Momma Bear.

    And Momma Bear don't tolerate NOBODY gettin' near her cubs!

  3. It is alligator mating season. They are unusually aggressive this time of year.

    1. They are just hungry the rest of the time.

  4. A friend of mine, now an MD, spent a summer off before med school working at Yellowstone Park as part of their EMS team.

    His souvenir t-shirt for that gig, based on 95% of their best worst-case clientele said
    "Feed the bears. Ride the buffaloes. Drive fast on the curves. We'll be there to help. Yellowstone EMS."

    I'm thinking if there isn't a companion shirt for FL and SC mentioning the playing with the repti-phibian wildlife thereabouts, there oughta be.

    BTW, there is no such things as a "nuisance" gator, unless I'm actually inside a federal national park or wildlife refuge.
    There are simply alligators...and there are boots and luggage. Period.
    The only thing preventing cougar-skin caps in this state, AFAIC, are the hefty fine and criminal penalties from DF&G. Otherwise they'd be for sale in airport tchotchke stalls, and I'd have three of them. And seal steak would be on the menu in Fisherman's Wharf.

    1. We have a companion tee-shirt that reads, “Send more tourists; the last ones were delicious!”

      Play stupid games in Florida and become a legend

    2. Beat me to it Aesop, Yeah, I live in the greater Yellowstone area and every year some bozo gets too close to a bison and finds out that a 1500 lb animal, with prey instincts, beats the hell (literally) out of a 150 lb idiot.

  5. Gov DeSantis is considering an emergency relief program for these large reptiles since they are suffering due to "social distancing."

    Working title is "GatorAid."

  6. A large amount of wetlands are part of Barksdale AFB in LA. They were used as a practice bombing range in WWII and old unexploded ordinance still shows up. The USAF allows hunting and fishing and they use it for survival training occasionally. They also put some base housing and a couple of parks out there.

    Part of the newcomers orientation is too warn you about the alligators. Numerous times people would be playing fetch with their dogs near the water and the dog would end up as an alligator snack. They seem to prefer fluffy white poodles. Maybe they looked like marshmallows.

    1. They seem to prefer fluffy white poodles. Maybe they looked like marshmallows.

      One of my rules in the March '19 post.

    2. Back in ;62-'63 dad was working on converting the Michaud Plant outside New Orleans into a facility to build the Saturn C-5 booster. The corner stake for the tank farm was supposed to be located in a small pond one or two foot deep. Two days earlier a 9-ft gator had been pulled out of a similar pond. Result, the tank farm was relocated by several feet so the corner stake could be placed on "dry" ground.

  7. For your Heinleinian enjoyment

    73, Jim

    1. Thanks, Jim.

      I was just thinking it has been so long since I read the Notebooks that I should grab a Kindle copy. Considering how often Heinlein I think of those quotes.

    2. Considering how often Heinlein I think of those quotes.
      Let's try that again.

      Considering how often I think of those Heinlein quotes.

  8. “I guess I wont do this again”

    She was right about that.