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July 22, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

What ifs, you animals.

two women. "Hailing the Ferry" painting by Knight(1839-1924)/US Public domain image, expired copyright, artist+70 yrs/

“You-hoo. We know you’re stuck in the mud. Being neighborly, we’ve brought chicken! Yes, it’s fried. No, it is so not junk food. We eat it!” (USPD/

What if we started treating each other like we treat alligators?

Transferring gator etiquette across species might actually work.

  • If you hear them hiss, you’re too close. So backup. Give them room. They’ll calm down.
  • See a big smile? Return one with neutral posture until all is known. It’s not all about the biting.
  • If they aren’t bothering anything, just leave them alone. You mind your business, and they’ll mind theirs.
  • Recognizing limits makes it easier in the long run. Some may sprint as fast as 35 mph, but only for short distances and they soon tire out losing interest in the attack.
  • When visiting, show consideration for their way of doing things. Sensible.
  • Once you stop expecting them to be just like you, real understanding and appreciation can start.

So, what are the chances?

On the big scale of things, what if people did treat others the way we treat alligators?

Slight concern if gators started adopting human etiquette, though. Snapping at each other would be certain to increase.

gator cruising the surf. Bryan Beach near Freeport, TX ( screenshot)

They warned me to use the surf board’s ankle leash. Where did it go? Maybe I can say a shark ate it.”(Bryan Beach near Freeport, TX/ screenshot)

Why look. Cuba isn’t the only one attempting to improve friendly relations.

An ambassador from the gator lands is sticking his neck out – attempting to crossover towards a more peaceable kingdom – with a show of enjoying recreational opportunities normally reserved for humans.

Now how can people be less willingness to try change after such a courageous demonstration?

Zen thoughts often surface during medicinal beach spa visits.

Family spots alligator at Bryan Beach in Freeport, TX” (Sedate gator enjoys the surf’s edge on video.)

Cruising along as the salt washes off parasites on his hide. Gators don’t get this big (over 8 feet) being dumb, so he won’t stay long due to heat and too much salt in the Gulf waters.

Locals, familiar with the occasional gator visitor, keep an eye out, and coexist until they wander back to their jobs in the swamp. Vacation time used up by all.

Sharp thinking.

Oh, I know. Yet another gator, but this one’s at the beach. Weird. Just when you though it was safe to go back into the water…

Could have included that recent shark trying bite into a debate with a surfer or thousands of giant jellyfish bringing their social entanglements to Britain.

Or approached with the man shot while defending sea turtle eggs on a Florida beach.(So lazy. They won’t even watch over their own. Sigh.)

Animals, such clowns.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

alligator swimming in Gulf. BRyan Beach near Freeport, TX ( screenshot)

“Oh, the paparazzi. Even with a tough hide, it’s difficult to cruise along with all of that. It’s vacation. Give me a break, guys! Respect diplomatic immunity.” ( screenshot)



  1. Paul / Jul 22 2015 12:17 pm

    Now that is amazing – I had no clue that gators visited salt water occasionally to wash off parasites. Sheesh – if I see a beach umbrella only a few inches off the sand, I’ll know it’s a gator snoozing underneath. They can’t have a food source at the beach – they must bring along a cooler with freshwater snacks , so that would be a clue too if you found a cooler with fresh fish and other marine snacks. Definitely worth watching for.

    Thanks for the gator heads up Phil. 😀


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 2:23 pm

      Maybe they come for the skin treatment, but stay for the cooler snacks? Now there’s a real possibility. If the log moves, step away, pups! Thanks for the lovely splashy comment


  2. easyweimaraner / Jul 22 2015 12:23 pm

    I would love to watch them from a distance ( a loooong one) but I never would ask them for selfie :o) I will not even drink Gatorade :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 2:28 pm

      One of the best parks around here is Brazos Bend in the river which is a big wetlands/wildlife area. While there are bike/hike trails, the most fun is the elevated walkways and elevated observation decks where you can usually spot gators on the ground. But this year with all the floods washing so many gators downstream and all the relocated gators delivered there, the park has been closed for quite a while. Suspect with temps right at 100, most of the gators are ready to snooze, so it may be safe to visit. But you’re right…wouldn’t be wise to be waving Gatorade around there! Thanks for cautiously checking out this spot


  3. shoreacres / Jul 22 2015 12:32 pm

    I would love to see one at the beach. I came way to close to one in Louisiana once, but there weren’t any problems, other than my heart rate. It was snoozing along a bank in the grass, and I didn’t see it when I stopped to take a photo. So… there’s something to think about, too. They aren’t always in the water!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 2:36 pm

      Whoa. Back away, slowly and try not to look like dinner. (Dad was right. Always send the dog out first…Molly certainly can spot them a mile away. Perhaps Miss Dixie would train a rat terrier for you? She might accept a respectful minion.)
      That gator had been there all week according to TXPW. So funny to watch him wading along. He really looks like a prehistoric movie set. (Wonder if he samples the fish and crabs?)
      Summer’s hit with all feet – although we are about normal with temps. Ground is cracking despite all the rain. Hope you’re under the boat shed roof these days. Thanks for wading in these waters


  4. Jay E. / Jul 22 2015 12:45 pm

    I think most of these could apply to sharks; I’m quite close to all those NC shark attacks this summer.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 2:41 pm

      You’re right. This morning there was a video of a hammerhead shark right at the waterline. Some people realized he had been hooked by fishing gear and it was causing him problems…so they dragging him on the shore and unhooked and untangled him. Braver than me. NC has really been in the shark spotlight this year. Are jelly fish next? Keep an eye on those waters!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carrie Rubin / Jul 22 2015 1:46 pm

    “Once you stop expecting them to be just like you, real understanding and appreciation can start.”—Love this sentence. Think of how much better off this world would be if we could all adopt this line of thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 2:44 pm

      Sometimes you have to wonder how hard can it be if animals got the message….maybe they have despaired of humans figuring it out and are attempting to fin the information over? Thanks for netting that line

      Liked by 1 person

  6. D. Wallace Peach / Jul 22 2015 3:17 pm

    I always figured the world would be a better place if we all were more like dogs :-). Maybe with a little alligator respect mixed in.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 3:45 pm

      You might be right. Dogs, who do have a social structure in a pack and teach/expect pack manners, keep it pretty simple. With all the filters of human behavior seemingly MIA these days, you sometimes wonder if people really know what they look and sound like to others. Of course with zooming self esteem, maybe some just don’t care. Difficult for civil society to work that way. Gator tutorials might be in order. Thanks for leaving a comment with bite.


  7. colonialist / Jul 22 2015 4:05 pm

    Makes one very cautious about whether the rock one steps on to cross a gully isn’t perhaps something else ..l

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 5:24 pm

      We always grew up with a “Send the dogs ahead of you first” rule. Not to be cruel, but dogs a faster to notice things – and hopefully give any potential danger notice so it can scramble away. Never lost a dog…there was a broken arm when a log bridge over a gully broke…after the dog had already crossed it…obviously needed a heftier dog…but they take up so much room in the back seat. Thanks for floating a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

      • colonialist / Jul 22 2015 5:57 pm

        Good idea, that! I also had a pathfinder German Shepherd, but he was particularly good at leading me along hidden fishermen’s paths along the cliff edges – although he did offer some discouragement to the odd troop of baboons …

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 7:15 pm

          No one hears better than a German Shepherd with those big radar scoop ears. They take their work very seriously. (Baboons must really raise a ruckus when disturbed..wouldn’t want to get too near an angry one)


  8. Kate Crimmins / Jul 22 2015 6:22 pm

    None of those guys here. We have nothing really lethal unless you are allergic to stings. Although my husband did have a mockingbird swoop when he mowed too close to the nest. A peck may hurt but you’ll live to tell the tale!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2015 7:17 pm

      For such innocent creature, those little beaks sure can make a point. Mockingbirds – probably where the idea of the movie “The Birds” came from…Thanks for diving in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dogear6 / Jul 23 2015 1:37 am

    I never know whether I’m coming for entertainment or education – usually I get both on your blog. I’m tired so I don’t have much to write, but I did enjoy the earlier comments, especially about the dogs. I bet Molly would be pretty good at scoping them out. And yeah, Germans do have bat ears. . . just like a miniature pinscher does. We can’t get anything by the min pin!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 3:39 pm

      It’s the summer’s heat making us wilt and tired. This morning at the end of our forced “dogs, you must get off the couch and go outside” time, the German was pressed against the glass door. If we’d had any breeze, she’d have been blown off like The Flying Nun with those ears at full attention. The entire block is safe – or annoyed. Thanks for adding a kind word for this swamp

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Marylin Warner / Jul 23 2015 4:10 am

    Excellent post! I once read a very good short article that asked, “What if you treated yourself like you treat your best friend?” But this post uncovers an entirely new level with “What if we started treating each other like we treat alligators?” Well done!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 3:41 pm

      We do need to learn to be gentle with ourselves in order to be healthier in both mind and body – that isn’t the same as spoiled and self-centered.But as they say on the planes, put the oxygen mask on yourself, then you’ll be able to assist another. Appreciate the kind words. (Will wander you way shortly) Thanks for wading in these waters.


  11. EllaDee / Jul 23 2015 7:38 am

    It’s interesting that people with due and sensible respect, one on one, tend to treat gators and each other, with more deference than they do in groups. It’s when people get together sometimes the cumulative effect of misguided pack mentality somehow adds up to less than the sum of their individual combined intellects…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 3:45 pm

      You hit it with pack mentality overtaking individual sensible thinking. Is it people don’t see another species as competition so they can allow themselves to be thoughtful and kind? (Or fear of being eaten alive since you can talk all you want, but not change a gator’ mind….second thought, some human interactions are just the same)
      Thank for treading carefully in this swamp.


  12. Robin / Jul 23 2015 12:11 pm

    It’s a good “what if,” and sounds sensible to me. I didn’t know alligators enjoyed the beach and surfing. It probably feels good to get out of the swamp once in a while and enjoy new scenery. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 3:48 pm

      Who knew gators liked to splash in the surf and wouldn’t be deterred by people being there, too. Salt water is good for everyone ( hmmm..wonder if gators have to worry about flesh eating bacteria entering cuts like humans do…will have to check that. Do gators like the taste of crabs and salt water fish on vacation? Opens up a whole new line of thought)
      Thanks for going with the gators!


  13. Roxie / Jul 23 2015 2:55 pm

    Sharp, for sure. And “…some sprint at 35mph”, HA! Faster than most beach combers! Just visualizing that writing prompt. many thanks for a chuckle, especially the opening pic with fried chicken, *snicker*.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 3:34 pm

      Gators. The original Paleo Diet advocates. (It’s a bit funny: The parks and wildlife people immediately and always insist people stop throwing chicken. Apparently for some, when a gator is sighted, they immediately run for the clucks. No need to teach gators a craving for fried…they might start running towards wild fires rather than away?)
      Thanks for tossing a comment into these waters


      • Paul / Jul 23 2015 6:37 pm

        Bwahaha! Have you ever read any of Janet Evanovich’s novels with Stephanie Plum? They are set in New Jersey and she is a bail bondsman and they are hilarious. Anyway, there was one scene in one of her books where Stephanie and her sidekick, a prostitute named Lulu, break into this thief’s house and it turns out the guy has a pet alligator protecting his property. They get chased away by the alligator, so they go and buy a big bucket of fried chicken and go back. While Lulu keeps the alligator busy with the fried chicken, Stephanie searches the place. The alligator soon realizes that the chicken is coming from the bucket and goes after the sidekick, who promptly drops the bucket and runs. Stephanie escapes too and they forget to close the door and the alligator makes it way into the New Jersey street. Ha!

        Anyway, sorry – just a memory trigger there. 😀


  14. Ally Bean / Jul 23 2015 8:26 pm

    I remember the pet gator on Miami Vice. Didn’t like him and no amount of Don Johnson decked out in pastel 80s suits could change my mind. While I will treat all gators with respect, I don’t have to like ’em. So there.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 9:07 pm

      Those pastel suits. Now if there ever was a reason to charge out of the swamp and bite into things…
      Gators are with you: we’ll stay in our corner if you’ll stay in yours. Tough hides win! Thanks for waving the gators back


  15. Kourtney Heintz / Jul 23 2015 9:50 pm

    Would love to hiss at people and get them to back off. That would be such a fun addition to my normal indicators of disinterest. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2015 11:34 pm

      See – it would be delightful. Species crossover behavior might be an improvement. (Excited about your new book release. So much fun to follow your characters.) Thanks for causing a splash with your comment


  16. aFrankAngle / Jul 24 2015 11:42 am

    The only post I’ve ever read triangulating alligators, human behaviors, and Cuban-US relations. 🙂


  17. jmmcdowell / Jul 28 2015 7:17 pm

    Hissing might be doable for extroverts. Maybe having hackles to raise would be better for us introverts. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 28 2015 9:55 pm

      Narrowed eyes and a practiced glare done right can stop them in their tracks, too….so much more elegant. Thanks for snapping up a comment to leave


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