Anniversary

Ten years ago, I had my first encounter with the largest alligator on Bull Island, and surely the largest in South Carolina. This huge reptile was awarded a name befitting of its gargantuan mass – Alligatorzilla, or Gatorzilla (even Zilla for short). AlligatorzillajpgMy first encounter was memorable (see Prologue from Tracing the Cape Romain Archipelago). I  have observed him occasionally over the years, but have not for the past several. A combination of events brought him back into my awareness. A conversation with Phil Wilkinson about his alligator research on South Island expanded my understanding of the longevity of these crocodilians. Phil has studied specific individuals for a number of years, and followed their aging into the nineties. In fact he found females continuing to reproduce into their nineties! Additionally, I saw a photograph from my friend Will Christenson – Captain Will on the Bulls Island ferry Caretta. The picture shows his boot next to an alligator print much larger than his shoe.Gator Track and Boot-1

Photo courtesy Will Christenson.

Taking these signs, it seems time again to venture out on Kingfisher to take a look on the island for this Lowcountry legend, and the coming weekend seems right.

10 thoughts on “Anniversary

  1. Bob, Gatorzilla is truly an impressive specimen. It’s always fun to watch the reaction of people seeing ‘Zilla for the first time.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

    • Now that is one photo you should get – a closeup of the moment an island visitor is Zillafied!
      See you out there Saturday. I will also be looking for your bobcat buddies and feathered friends.

  2. Perfect timing! I’ve planned a hike on the island with both my walking & hiking groups (over 20 signed up, but who knows how many have actually reserved!); discovered yesterday that it was one year ago this weekend that we did a Turtle Walk. I’ve mapped out a 6 mile hike (I’ll do my mini Bob Raynor tour!), and have included alligator alley on the route. Look forward to running into Bob & hope to see Capt. Will as well! The weather looks awesome this weekend!

  3. The legendary Gatorzilla is still active! He tends to disappear for a time and then resurface unexpectedly. I am glad Will was able to get some photographs!

  4. Hi, Bob! Thanks for capturing my interest. I was lucky enough to have Sara introduce me to your blog today. I’ll look forward to reading more posts and admiring the photographs. Hopefully, this foothills resident will have the opportunity to be Zillafied one day. Enjoy this weekend’s special excursion.

    • Come on down, Kelly. Starting March 1 the ferry will run 2 round trips, four days a week. And Zilla’s extended family may be a thousand strong on the island.

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