Alligator Tales

As I was walking the Brown Trail at Newnans Lake State Forest (Gainesville, FL),
I heard a growl.

This is why I have a deep respect for alligators… Tales of my experiences at Taylor Park (Largo, FL).


I see some foam on a little twig, and we are near water so I’m assuming those were frog eggs.


And I heard an alligator growling. I don’t think it’s safe to go around that point there, so I’m going to backtrack a bit. I think I was right at the point, which is close to Newnan’s Lake. And that was definitely an alligator growling.

Another woman passed by me going in the opposite direction and then, as I continued forward, I heard it. It was doing a rumble, saying, “You’re too close to my territory.” And I am heeding the warning. Thank you for giving me a warning alligator.

I actually heard it a little further back. I probably heard it when the other woman was coming down the path. But I thought it was distant traffic noise even though, now that I’m listening, I barely hear traffic noise. I thought it was something like a motor starting up. But then, as I got closer, I’ve heard enough alligator bellows and growls to know, uh, no, that was an alligator.

So let’s go back and find where I might pick up an alternate route. And that was right at the point, where you’re closest to Newnan’s Lake.

Anyway, one day I was at Taylor Park. It is a park near where my mother used to live, and when I’d visit her, I’d sometimes just go out for a walk and walk around this park. And the park goes around a fair-sized lake. And in the lake were at least two huge alligators. One day, I was at the park and a medium-sized dog went down to take a drink of water and snap! It was grabbed in an instant and immediately cut in half. And then the alligator took the rest of the body and kept plunging into the water with it. He would send up a spray of water that went up at least 20 feet in the air, and he did this over and over again. And finally swallowed the dog.

There was an island in the lake with a little bridge that went over to it. I never went on the island because there was one way in and one way out, and if an alligator laid across the path you would be blocked on the island. But I saw a young couple and they were walking a path which went around the edge of the island. They had with them their boxer, and the dog was following one step behind them.

I watched them walk, and I was above the level of the island. I could see into the water. There was a humongous alligator following them, waiting to get close enough to that dog to grab it. They never knew it was there, but it followed them the whole time.

Another time, I was at that same park, and I met someone who said they saw an alligator run up the bank and grab a dog off of somebody’s leash.

I was there one day, and I was well up on the bank. It was a sloping bank, and I felt pretty safe. And I knelt down and I was photographing the birds. Well, all of a sudden, all of the birds started leaving. I thought, “That’s odd.” And I stood up, and I turned around, and there was another huge alligator right behind me. It was at the edge of the water, waving its tail, preparing to spring at me. I never jumped so high!

I’ve told people that story. I don’t think they believe me. But it is a true story.

And so I have deep respect for alligators. And all of that happened at one tiny location in Largo.

Now I never reported my incidents, but other people must have had problems too. Because shortly after I nearly got nailed, they came in and they removed those two big alligators. So I am sure other people were having problems as well.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She has a passion for day-hiking and nature, and also enjoys writing. Be sure to visit the TenPaths YouTube channel, which is still in its infancy.

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