Alapaha Alligator Tale Hard To Swallow

This 1896 tale of an alligator in the Alapaha river is a bit farfetched, but there is no doubt about alligators in Berrien county or about early residents’ interest in the beasts.  In 1899, Jay Sirmans  tried to capture a live one at Ray’s Mill.  Today, gator watching is still a part of any visit to  the Ray’s Millpond Café.

Roping  a gator - vintage studio photo postcard.  Image source:

Roping a gator – vintage studio photo postcard. Image source:

Tifton Gazette
March 13, 1896


In a Bad Fix.

“The other day,” said my informant, changing his tobacco to the other side of his mouth, “I was lying on the green sward on the bank of the beautiful Alapaha river, just thinking of nothing at all, when my attention was attracted by a noise not far from me.  Turning my eyes in that direction, I saw a large aligator run a short distance, probably thirty yards, then run back the same distance, tail in front.  This was kept up for about fifteen or twenty minutes, when the ‘gator lay down apparently exhausted, and rolled over on its back.  Then I noticed for the first time that four hog’s feet protruded through the covering of the saurian’s bread basket.  Saurians don’t eat bread, but that’s a good name for it anyway.  It dawned upon me in an instant that the ‘gator had swallowed the hog without taking the precaution to kill it, and that the porker in its frantic efforts to regain its liberty, had worked its feet through the tender underpart of its captor.  Having swallowed the hog head-formost, of course the ‘gator’s way was not the hog’s way, and when the ‘gator traveled a short distance and paused to rest, the hog, with that instinct which warns us to flee from danger, would take up the line of march in the opposite direction, and go until the ‘gator got a foot-hold and called a halt.  Did I cut the ‘gator open and give the hog its liberty? No.  The ‘gator turned its head around, sized a leg at a time and bit them off even with its surface.  When a leg came off, I could hear a far-away squeal, and I know that the hog appreciated the situation.  When the last leg disappeared down the ‘gator’s throat, that beast turned over on its stomach, winked one eye at me, as much as to say, “I know how to save my bacon,” then toddled off to the river, plunged in and disappeared.”

Bon Wick.

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