Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Wow. We stayed above freezing last night. The first night in forever, it seems. Time to celebrate! This has been such an abnormally long cold spell. The sun came out after lunch but with the wind, the 43 degrees still didn’t feel very warm. We thought tonight was going to be okay too, but they revised forecast and are now predicting 26 again tonight. Doesn’t make us happy.
This morning we went to the Nature Center for a presentation on alligators. It was very well done. They have two little alligators, about 12 inches long, that they used for presentations. They came from Alligator Alley, a nature preserve in Gulf Shores and are on loan for educational purposes. We learned that the gators have 80 teeth when they are born – 40 uppers and 40 lowers. These gators, still being only 4 months old, have tiny needle like teeth. While they may not be able to do the damage of the larger gators, we were told that a bite even at this young age is very painful and once they bite they will not let go. You have to get something like a pencil the pry the jaws open. The presenter held the little one but let us touch them, feel the tail and the back. When these little guys are about one year old they have to go back to the preserve because they become too dangerous to keep at the Center. Mama gators lay lots of eggs each year but probably only one baby will live to reach sexual maturity at 6 years old. They stay with mama until age three. So Mama will have babies, one, and two year olds all at the same time and then kick the three year olds that have survived, out, to go find their own territory. Of course, right now due to the cold weather, there are no gators out in the open in the bogs and canals. They don’t hibernate, but sort of burrow up in the mud to stay warm. We have fairly often seen gators in bogs/marshy areas when we have been here in warm weather. We also got to see the barred owl, hawk and great horned owl again while at the nature center.
Later in the day we went back to the outlets for a little more shopping. We did find a few items we decided to bring home. Then we stopped at the Original Oyster House for dinner. We always enjoy eating there, looking out over the water, and have never been served a bad meal.
Late this afternoon, Kelly, the park naturalist who led our First Day Hike, stopped by for a visit. We invited her to come see some of our photos of eagles from Alaska. We really enjoyed her visit. Nice lady. She and her husband, who we also met Monday, do a lot of wild life photography. They hope to go to Alaska some day, after the kids are grown. Of course we would love to go back some day. Come back tomorrow to see what we did. We don’t know what it will be. We are flexible.