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Shell Shocked

By Staff | Jun 23, 2010

Two alligators were crawling along a swamp in the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge the other day and had the following conversation:

First alligator: Have you heard about the new visitor to “Ding”


Second alligator: Anyone we can get our teeth into?

First: No, I don’t think so. It’s a female crocodile from

Grove City, Florida. She’s replacing Wilma who, as you know, went to

crocodile heaven this past winter.

Second: Why do we need another crocodile here? Aren’t us

alligators good enough for the tourists? They don’t know the difference

between alligators and crocodiles anyway.

First: I heard that the new crocodile is eight feet long and

weights 150 pounds.

Second: Just what we need in our swamp – a big, fat crocodile

with an attitude.

First: Hey, we liked Wilma okay. She did her thing and we did

ours. We never had any philosophical differences with Wilma.

Second: Oh, really? Wilma was loved by the tourists but she

certainly gave us a hard time. She was a diva and didn’t want to mix with

us. Every time we invited her to surprise a Sanibel resident by taking a

swim in their pool Wilma would make an excuse to stay home. She just didn’t

want to mingle with us alligators.

First: Are you saying that crocodiles feel they’re superior to


Second: Definitely. First of all, crocodiles think their noses

are more glamorous than ours. They regard alligators as second class


First: I don’t know about you, but I always got along pretty

well with Wilma. Yes, she did put on some airs but after all that’s what females do. I dated her a few times but she turned out to be a cold fish,

that is, crocodile. Whenever I picked her up for a date she would keep me

waiting for hours. She would be putting on makeup and stuff. I finally

said enough and walked out on her. She never spoke to me again and began

dating herons.

Second: Well, poor Wilma is gone now. Maybe we should try to

make the new crocodile feel at home here. It’s not easy moving to a new

swamp when you don’t know anyone.

First: Does she have a name yet? Why don’t we call her Croc?

Second: That’s not a very glamorous name for the new gal in

town. We should let the Sanibel residents give her a name. They like that

sort of thing.

First: We still have a right to suggest some names. If she’s

going to get top billing in our swamp she needs to have a glamorous name,

something like Claudine, or Celine.

Second: Why should she get top billing? We’ve been here much longer. People come to see us, you know. You know how humans are. They

are in awe of us alligators and take pride when they spot one of us.

First: Yeah, I know. But if we start crawling towards them and

open our mouths even a little bit boy do they take off.

Second: But you know what happens to us if we do that. We get

muzzled, thrown in a truck and dumped somewhere in the Everglades. Who

needs that inconvenience? I’d rather stay right here.

First: You’ve got a point there. So here’s my plan. When Claudine or whatever her name is going to be arrives here we should welcome

her with open arms.

Second: But we don’t have any arms.

First: It’s just an expression. We should have a cocktail party for her and introduce her to all the “Ding” Darling wildlife. We need to get on her good side before she decides to take the joint over.

Second: So you want to be a brown nose? Why don’t you just hand over to her all the fish you’ve saved in your freezer?

First: Look, we need to play politics here. We know how territorial female crocodiles are. I sure don’t want her messing with my territory. “Ding” Darling is big enough for all of us.

Second: Okay, I hear you. But why are we always kowtowing to


First: Because if you want to be more like humans that’s what

you have to do.