Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Too close for comfort?

You might have seen it on the news; I know CNN and FOX ran stories. Last Wednesday an alligator attacked and caused the death of a 28 years old south Florida woman who had gone jogging early evening. 3 fatal attacks in a matter of 4 days here in Florida.
You will likely have a better chance of being struck by lightning (by the way Florida is the lightning capital of the world).

Before these attacks only 18 fatal attacks have been recorded in Florida throughout history. The total number in the US equals 25. Why do I refer to fatal attacks, and write that the alligator caused the death of this woman? Because contrary to popular believe, alligators do not feed on humans (they find us too salty) but their modus operandi of taking their victims under water and doing 'death rolls' can easily cause death. In the case of this 28 years old woman, the lose of blood after losing her two arms, caused the death. She was found floating, but her lungs were not completely filled with water as a drowning victim's lung would be.

These encounters might seem so far away from civilization. But they are not. This incident took place along **MY** jogging and biking path. A little bit past my three mile mark. The canal runs east to west. One of many in South Florida. Many created by the Army Corps of Engineers which brings water from the Everglades and Lake Ockechobee (that big hole that you see just south of central Florida on any map) to support the infrastructure of that 'civilization'. The everglades itself is just about 3-4 miles further than where the attack seems to have taken place.

Let me use the actual pictures to give you a better idea. The over pass that you see does the following; 12-14 miles east (this picture looks east) completely straight up along the canal, and along I-595 you find Downtown Fort Lauderdale, its airport and port and the beaches. If you head out west, you have to cross over 80 miles of road throughout the Everglades to make it to Naples, Fl. Heading south on I-95, or to the right of the picture above, some 30 miles down the road you find Miami. Do you see that yellow dot on the map? Above you'll see NW 8th St; I live on the quadrant above that. And on the picture above, if you look at the right hand, middle of the picture, right behind the two men standing waist level, you'll see the path. While it can be as deserted as it looks (there is two-lane state road next to it), many of us use it for recreational purposes.

Having lived here since 1990, I know that the gators make their ways into the canals, and into the man made lakes that adorn 98% of our communities; especially when there are droughts that force them into looking for alternative methods of feeding and/or habitats. Last year, one ate a dog that was just on the back yard of a house. Therefore, everytime I go on a run, I am always looking at the canal. I will admit, more out of curiosity than precaution. However, when I am on the bike I worry a little more because, at that speed, encountering a gator crossing the path all of the sudden, would not provide good alternatives (except that if I was 15, I would probably try to jump over the reptile with my bike).

This particular young woman seems to have sat down by the edge of the canal. Another of the victims in the state was snorkeling in an Ocala lake. Alligators do not go out of their way to attack humans. So while these encounters might seem like something out a fiction book, trust me, with a little of common sense, they become a very small preoccupation for some of us.

Those last two picture on the right were emailed to me by Lori; believe these were taken by the chopper following the Gator in the Ocala, Florida attack. Thanks Lori. Reporting from Florida with my correspondent in Georgia, "Tony-out"!


Blogger Lori said...

Yesss too close.....Be careful!!!

I thought of you when it mentioned that area....I didn't realize it was that close!!!

Have a great day!!!

2:39 AM  
Blogger erika said...

Wow! Be carefull! Get a treadmill! No more jogging!

9:52 AM  
Blogger TMelendez said...

Thanks for the pics! Actually, I thought about going to the pond 1 1/2 miles away from my house to take a picture of the "Danger Alligator"" sign. Although, he was captured last year.

No more jogging?? How am I going to stay sexy (tan and all)..? what about jet and water skiing in that same canal??

11:22 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Only trying to help!!!

Jet and water skiing in the same area??....hmmmm I say be very careful if you do!!!

2:10 PM  
Blogger erika said...

OK If you want to jet ski or jog wear one of those shark suits!

3:48 PM  
Blogger TMelendez said...

Im going to wear a shark suit but its not going to be for that...

hummingtan-tan tan-tan tan-tan tannanan tannanan

3:57 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Hey....if you need more dirty work dug up...just let me know...LOL

Did you say TARZAN??

4:06 PM  
Blogger Southern Sweetheart said...

sheez dude! be careful when you run! No way would I found running in that spot where there are alligators. Na uh! No way!

9:58 PM  

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