As some of you know, I’m a bit obsessed with alligators and collect them. No, I don’t want one for a pet. (I said obsessed, not stupid!) But I got my first little stuffed gator as a child and now I write about them; gators play an important role in the storyline of my Oct. 18 suspense release, BLACK DIAMOND.
Did you know…
* American alligators were hunted for their leathery skins almost to the point of extinction. After decades on the endangered species list, the American Alligator was taken off the list in 1987 and there are currently about 1.5 million gators in Louisiana and Florida, and fewer in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. Now, in Louisiana, one month of the year is open season on alligator hunting. The rest of the year, nuisance hunters will capture alligators who settle too close to humans and relocate them to remote areas.
*There are only two types of alligators: the American Alligator and the Chinese Alligator. The Chinese gator, which is smaller, is highly endangered.
*The American Alligator grows to 11-15 feet and weighs up to 500 pounds. A big, old male gator–which is territorial and generally solitary–is called a bull gator. Smaller gators may live in groups.
*Alligators are part of the family of “Crocodilians.” American Alligator fossils have been dated back to the time of the dinosaur.
*Despite the old Tarzan movies, alligators are generally afraid of adult humans and will avoid contact unless directly threatened. “Nuisance” alligators are those humans have fed or who have lived around humans enough to lose their fear of us. Young nuisance gators (four feet and less) are relocated; large nuisance gators are relocated if possible or are put down. If a gator has to be killed, its meat and proceeds from the hide are donated to charity.
So, here are four of my favorite gators. Which is your favorite? Leave its name, and you’ll be entered to win one of five unabridged audiobooks of BLACK DIAMOND. I have both mp3 and CD versions, and the narrator is terrific with the South Louisiana accents!
Here is Disco:
And Ti-Paul (Cajun shorthand for ‘tit’ Paul or “petit Paul” or “little Paul”)
And Boudreaux. Boudreaux is a real taxidermied alligator skull and was a gift. I had nothing to do with his demise, poor thing. He would have been about a three- or four-footer.
Who’s your gator?