Jean LaFitte National Park, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.
Paul and the kids have been several times before (visits were a favorite outing of Paul’s while I worked on my dissertation), but yesterday’s walk was a compliment Kate’s unparalleled music class, which had been studying the bayou and marsh.
This little guy is along the likes of what you might normally see on a walk through the bayou. He was one of several of his size we saw.
But THIS guy, this 13-footer, HE was the main attraction. Not just because of his size…
But because he was eating another alligator. And doing is RIGHT off the path.
He had killed the little gator the day before. It’s normal for them to hide the carcasses between meals. He was pretty irritated with us (hissing, growling, rising out of the water like so) because he wanted to hide his meal… and he couldn’t do it with us watching!
Further down the trail is a floating dock. Alligators like to sun themselves here… but there weren’t any when we found it.
Canoe and kayaking is not possible in the bayou right now, because of the invasive species of lilly that is in the water (see the green?) They cut it completely out last summer — and it’s already filled it to choke out boats.
Our friend moved to a more secluded spot. He was still pretty pissed when we walked by on our way out.
I tried to explain to Will that this was a Mommy alligator eating her 8-year son for not listening, but he wasn’t paying any attention.
Also, the ranger explained that this was a male alligator. They are pretty territorial. Females, however, are highly maternal — they protect baby gators for the first three years of life, keeping the bigger males away from the area where they have young.
Jean LaFitte offers several hiking paths through different south Louisiana ecosystems, as well as dedicated and friendly park staff. A beautiful visitors center, entertaining and informative movie, and detailed educational programs are extra lagniappes for the visitor. A great place for families!