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Shell Shocked: Playing it safe with alligators

By Staff | Jan 6, 2016

We get a lot of visitors to Sanibel every year and many of you are not familiar with alligators. So what I’d like to do today is take you through some basic rules on how to act when an alligator is suddenly in your presence.

To begin with, never make fun of an alligator by telling him his nose looks like Cyrano de Bergerac. Alligators are very sensitive about their noses and might ruin your day by trying to borrow yours.

If anything, tell the alligator that you admire his profile and will recommend him as the centerfold for National Geographic.

The next rule is never challenge an alligator to a race. It might surprise you to learn that an alligator can crawl on his belly up to 40 miles an hour. And there’s no telling how much faster he can go if he has an itch.

The next rule is never invite an alligator to join you for dinner at an area restaurant. Restaurants have strict rules about admitting alligators, especially if they do not have reservations. If you want to join an alligator for dinner, find out first who’s paying. If the alligator pays, then his dinner may be you.

And finally, never discuss alligator shoes in the presence of a live alligator. Nothing makes an alligator more furious than the knowledge that some of his cousins wound up on your cousin’s feet.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.