Gators and Panthers and Snakes – oh my!

We’ve set out towards our first long-term location on the trailer travels, which is Big Cypress National Preserve! We couldn’t be more excited to leave the frigid temperatures of the mid-Atlantic for the sunny shores of south Florida. Just one minor hesitation (for me), which is the excessive amount of predators that will be our new neighbors on the Preserve…

We are going to be smack dab in the middle of Alligator Alley, the scenic thuroughfare that runs West to East across south Florida, carrying tourists from the Gulf Coast of Naples to the metropolitan beaches of Miami. Most visitors are wise enough to stay in their cars and admire the wildlife behind the safety of a metal shield. We, however, are not only foolish enough to stop and explore, we’re also setting up camp for the next 4 months and volunteering to walk through swampland filled with beast of all sorts (more on our new job later).

I’d be lying if I said hadn’t spent the last couple of days intermitently looking up statistics on alligator attacks and planning my escape route when (not if) one comes after me (serpentine run!). And apparently its not just the gators we have to be on guard from. We’re also in prime panther country – did you know Florida had panthers?! Me neither…

And then there’s the snakes. Not just the indigenous ones – which are more than enough to make my skin crawl – but also the giant pythons that people buy as pets and then illegally relase into the wild when surprisingly they grow and are then too large or too expensive to feed (hmm, what do you think happens when such people have children?). In any case, this creates a situation where non-indigenous (gigantic) snakes are now thought to be breeding in south Florida.

Needless to say, I’m just a wee bit nervous about all the potential predatory threats. But when you decide to go on adventure, why not make it as adventureous as possible? So we’re on our way to spend the winter in the swampland and I’m hoping the predators and I can form a friendly alliance (or at least just a mutual “stay away from me” fear).

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