timid at first, the alligator is liable, at any moment, to let out a savage
roar and angrily grasp the pole in his powerful jaws, snatching it from the
hands of his foe. It requires the hard work of two or three men to haul a
large 'gator out of his den. Frequently a pole breaks and the hunters are
forced to rely on the rope.
Night hunting is another method employed by the hunters. By
slowly rowing around, the 'gator is often sighted floating on the water's
surface. The hunters carry a light with which they "shine" the eyes of the
saurian, making a perfect target for the rifle or gun. In "still hunting,"
'gators are shot in the daylight. Quietly paddling up creeks and rivers, the
creatures are often found sunning themselves on logs or on the shore near
the water, and are easily killed.
In fighting each other, a 'gator attempts to seize the upper jaw of the
other, and if successful in breaking his opponent's jaw, the result is fatal.
Usually, however, only a leg or a tail is injured.
In one of the Smithsonian Scientific Series, Wild animals in and out
of the zoo, the following is written of an alligator fight:
"One day in summer two of the larger alligators had a severe
battle. One was gripped by the foreleg about the foot, and
they thrashed about in the water, the foot was severed and
hung by the skin. We caught and removed the wounded
alligator, lashed him to a board 9 feet long and 1 foot wide,
and cut the skin holding the dangling foot, entirely separated
it from the body. We got together needle, thread, splints,
cotton and plaster, arranged splints and made a plaster cast.
The alligator was returned to his quarters and ten weeks later
the cast was removed. The foot proved to be as good as
before the accident, except for some stiffness and a small
seam which shoved where it had been sewed together."
Alligators are kept in all Florida zoos and there are many alligator
farms in the State where they may be seen by the hundreds. The largest