Well that’s not supposed to be there…
Tourists and beachgoers got quite the scare when they spotted a large alligator riding the ocean waves off the coast of Alabama this past weekend. Facebook user Matt Harvill took photos and videos of the strange alligator encounter and the his post has now gone viral.
Alligators are the United States’ largest reptiles and are known to grow to be over 1,000 pounds and reach lengths as long as 15 feet. They are also not usually found in saltwater, which is why this video is all the more shocking.
Harvill can be heard in one of the videos describing the experience in a rather unique way:
“Tell me whenever you can go to the beach and the f***ing zoo at the same time. I’d be impressed.”
I guess I can’t argue with you there Matt. As much as I do love both beaches and zoos, I do tend to like them as separate experiences, so I understand where Harvill is coming from there.
In this video below, the alligator can be seen floating in the shallow water of the waves crashing up against the shore. I really hope that it had just previously body-surfed its way to this position, but I cannot confirm that took place (though I can’t deny it either).
As Harvill walks towards the alligator floating in the push and pull of the tide, one beachgoer can be heard telling Matt to be careful and questioning how fast the alligator could be.
Harvill gives off big “first person to die in a horror movie” vibes when he laughs and shouts back:
“Not faster than me.”
Luckily those aren’t Matt’s famous last words as he continues to approach the alligator as waves crash across its reptilian head.
I know it might seem like it is a mistake that this gator got to the beach, but this video above makes it look like the alligator knows exactly what its doing. Give that thing a beer and a sunhat and it would be living that salt life, you know what I’m saying?
Harvill told WBRC that the alligator seemed curious more than anything else, and explained how he came to snap the shocking pictures and videos of the gator’s beach day:
“It was just a very beautiful day, my girlfriend and I were just spending some time on the beach when someone mentioned it. So, we walked down to get a better look and snap some pictures.
It’s not everyday something like that happens. We see them in Dog River and the Bird sanctuary. Almost never in the Gulf like that. I knew if I didn’t get pictures no one would ever believe it.”
Harvill is right. There’s a good chance that no one would have believed him considering that gators tend to prefer freshwater ecosystems like marshes and rivers.
There’s a chance that the alligator had wandered out to the beach to in search of food since its not uncommon for the large reptiles to seek out marine wildlife to munch on. If it did end up eating before he got into the water, hopefully it followed the old unwritten rule and waited for 30 minutes so it didn’t get a stomach ache.
If this were a crocodile with its “toes in the water and ass in the sand,” that would make a lot more sense. Crocs have saltwater glands that act as salinity regulators underneath their tongues, whereas alligators do not.
Crocodiles have the option of living in saltwater or freshwater, whereas their alligator counterparts live in fresh water and can stand saltwater for shorter periods of time.
Regardless of whether or not the alligator was supposed to be there, Matt Harvill’s pictures and videos proved that the encounter occurred. His post on Sunday elaborated on just how crazy the sighting was:
“The things you never think you’ll see. First time seeing a gator on Dauphin Island.
Heading towards the west end be careful y’all.”
I love the beach, but I would be saying “see ya later, alligator” to this one in particular.
I’ve already got enough to worry about with sharks, stingrays, and jellyfish in the water, so mark Dauphin Island off the list of potential vacation spots…
And while we are at it, some of the comments below the post were pretty entertaining as well:
“Looks like he’s just enjoying the peaceful waves like I do when I go to the beach. I wouldn’t want to share the space with him, though.”
“He’s having a beach day.”
“Looks like he is surfing.”
“The way he enjoying the waves tho.”