Hunting Crocs

Hunting Crocs (and gators)

For the last two months, we have been hunting crocs and gators as we proceed south along the coastline here in Florida. Frankly, our gator count is very small compared to what I had expected. The way I think of Florida is that every lake, river, swamp, and tree hides a gator. Not true. One thing you can say is that all water might have a gator.

As for crocs I didn’t really expect to see any. You will see later that we got a good picture of one. The others were too small, fast (and too scared of us) to pose for pictures. As for crocs, they are located mostly in South Florida along the coast in salty water. Mangrove swamps are ideal locations for crocs.

Savannas Recreation Area

South of the Space Coast, we found a very nice place to hunt for gators. This location surprised us by having the best wildlife viewing. I had expected that the rest of southern Florida would be just like this. At Savannas, we had the wildlife right out our front window.

Our campsite at Savannas Recreation Area is right on the water.
Our campsite at Savannas Recreation Area is right on the water.

For the week at Savannas Recreation Area, we were parked right on the water and our kayaks were in the grass front of our RV. As for this picture (above) we are in the kayaks right after we launched on a gray afternoon.

Combat Kayaking

The objective of this paddle was to make our way to a lake a little east of the campground. Going to that lake was probably the roughest kayaking we have ever done. We took a small path through the reeds that led to the lake. When I say small path, it was so narrow that we could not paddle.

Tami is just back from a combat kayaking trip through a long stretch of very tight reeds. After the battle we broke out into a huge lake that was impossible to approach by land.
Tami is just back from a combat kayaking trip through a long stretch of very tight reeds.

After the battle, we broke out into a large lake that was impossible to approach by land. Paddling through these Lilly pads wasn’t fun but it was way better than plowing through the weeds.

Overall the lake was a disappointment. It was open water surrounded by the same reeds that nearly blocked our path to the lake. The reeds were so tight that the only birds we saw were a few scattered ducks. The water was too deep for wading birds. As for gators, we didn’t see any. They too probably didn’t like the lack of access to resting places.

Wildlife at Savannas

Great Egret
Great Egret
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
This picture is large alligator. We saw it north of the everglades before we started hunting crocs.
This picture is of a large alligator. We saw it at Savannas, well north of the everglades before we started hunting crocs.
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
One of the things we missed the most being in the east this year was sunsets.
One of the things we missed the most being in the east this year was sunsets. This changed in southern Florida.

In our travels through the east, we couldn’t see sunsets because we were almost always under tree cover. The sunsets in southern Florida are wonderful because our locations have a view of the afternoon sky instead of dense forest.

Saint Lucie Locks

The campsites at Saint Lucie are right on the water. This river starts in Lake Okeechobee and flows eastward. The Caloosahatchee River starts at Lake Okeechobee and flows westward. By linking this lake and the two rivers with locks boats can cut right across Florida instead of going around the southern tip.

We really liked the sunsets at Saint Lucie locks campground. From our RV we could watch the boats go through the locks as they cross Florida.
We really liked the sunsets at Saint Lucie Locks campground. From our RV, we could watch the boats go through the locks as they cross Florida. The sunsets were wonderful every evening.

Saint Lucie Wildlife

At Saint Lucie, we took a trip eastbound on the Saint Lucie River with our kayaks toward the Atlantic Ocean. Starting at Saint Lucie Locks the water turns salty. To the west, the water is fresh flowing from Lake Okeechobee. On this trip, trees lined both sides of the waterway and we saw more birds.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
The Little Blue Heron is not just a small Great Blue Heron but rather is its own subspecies.
Painted turtle
This picture of Painted Turtles was taken at Jonathan Dickinson State Park where we took a day trip from Saint Lucie South. I love the reflection of the turtles in the water at the bottom of the picture.

Everglades National Park

The everglades start at Lake Okeechobee and flow southbound from the lake all the way to the tip of southern Florida. Most of the everglades are not in Everglades National Park. We had to drive from our current location (right next to the everglades) more than sixty miles just to get to the entrance of the park.

Everglades National Park
This “grassland” is in the north part of Everglades National Park and this is typical of the park. The water depth is a couple of feet deep and covered by grass. Even though it appears to have some hills these are an illusion based on how high the trees and brush stand above the water.

At the north end of the park, we still didn’t see gators in every puddle. We might have found more had we not run out of daylight.

This gator was smaller than the other one. It was big enough that it wasn't worried about us taking pictures.
This gator at the north end of Everglades National Park was smaller than the other one we saw at Savannas. It was big enough that it wasn’t worried about us taking pictures or giving ground. This was his spot and he wasn’t moving.

To hunt crocs we had to go all the way to the south end of the park where mangrove swamps and saltwater mixed with the water from the everglades and Lake Okeechobee.

In Florida, crocodiles are not known for attacking humans. We are not part of the food list. Big gators are a different story as are crocodiles in other countries.

Hunting Crocs

When hunting crocs, the best transportation is our kayaks. They are small enough and slow enough to really see things that we would have missed had we been in a motorboat.

Tami in her kayak looking forward to hunting crocs.
Tami is in her kayak looking forward to hunting crocs.

Tami was game for the hunt and willing to go as long as the crocs aren’t too big. As for me, I was worried about not seeing one. As for Tami, she was worried about seeing the wrong one.

Like many of our other paddle trips we mostly saw birds, including this one I almost missed. Every other bird in this post by the way, was a Heron of one type or another. This includes the Great Egret. This bird is a Bittern. I had never seen one before and almost didn’t see this one.

American Bittern
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Crocs and Gators

We finally got a picture of a croc. I took several pictures of him. We saw a much smaller one but he wasn’t into the photo session. This one was too big to care about us taking pictures.

Here is the best picture took when we were hunting crocs.
Here is the best picture of a crocodile we took when we were hunting crocs.
Notice the round nose of the alligator we found in the Everglades National Park during our hunt for crocodiles.
Notice the round nose and black color of the alligator we found in the Everglades National Park during our hunt for crocodiles. Crocodiles have narrow noses and are a grey color.
Another nice sunset. This picture was taken during our hunting crocs trip in Everglades National Park.
Another nice sunset. This picture was taken during our hunting crocs trip in Everglades National Park.

This is not the first time we have gone hunting dangerous animals from our kayaks. For more adventures check out this post from last year. Stunning Big Sky

So far we are really enjoying southern Florida. But even in the middle of December, you have to hide from the heat during the day. It is not nearly as hot here as it is in the summer. I do have to appreciate our temperature in the eighties when other parts of the country are well below freezing. It is kind of funny that we are excited that tonight’s temperature may drop below 70.

Links to places mentioned in this article.

Savannas Recreation Area

Saint Lucie

Everglades National Park

6 thoughts on “Hunting Crocs (and gators)”

  1. This was incredible writing and beautiful sunsets, birds & crocs. You both are amazing thank you for the great trip through the everglades.

  2. When you come up the West coast of Florida, you find there are lots of places to kayak and lots of ‘gators in the creeks and rivers.

    Our kayak club, the Riverside Paddlers, goes out 2+ times a week. The campground is Riverside RV Resort, 9770 SW County Road 769, Arcadia. We are 5 miles from I-75. We are full-timers as well, spending 6 months here, and 6 months traveling as Ambassadors with Fantasy RV Tours.

    There are some sites here that are kept for short stays, so you may get lucky and get one if you try. We can have a paddle!

    1. As I recall we met you in Montana last year before we went to Glacier. Good to hear from you. When we get closer we will send you an email and see what you are doing.

  3. I wondered where you were. I thought I had missed a weekly newsletter.

    I am terrified of reptiles and you are seeking them! You guys are very brave. It is comforting to know I am not part of their food choice in America.

    Beautiful pictures and identifying them. I also love sunsets and sunrises. How could you tell the water changed from fresh to salt? I find that fascinating.

    I wonder why the size of the gator affects whether you “Bother Him” or not? I did see a TV special where they raised gators. They were feeding one which the last time they feed him was 3 months. If I studied them, it would probably remove my fear.

    I appreciate the link, especially the last one with webcams
    Thank you for the information and for including me.

    Best regards, Brenda

  4. Tremendous, this reminds me of all my time in Orlando and my fishing trips. When down that low keeping the navigation picture home is a keen interest also.

    Thanks for sharing….see any pythons or other huge non-native snakes, a huge problem there.

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