Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Anteater: A Hallucination Agreed Upon

If a lie agreed upon becomes the truth, than a shared hallucination must be reality. I know what I saw. It was 1 am. It was the middle of the Everglades on the famous Loop Road and Ash and I both saw a 5-foot, arch-bodied anteater scamper across the dirt road, illuminated only by the bouncing headlights of the truck as we raced down the road towards it.

Let me back up here. Ash is a Terrestrial Ecologist, on vacation from frog research in Maryland. I don't have a current photo, which is not true, so I had to go back to this picture from December 31st. Ash is the Giant Mr. T Smurf pictured with wife and Smurfette Kate, also on vacation. He's certainly qualified to verify our late-night and completely sober sighting.

The previous day we had an Everglades appetizer adventure; a quick trip into the National Park, stopping at the famous fruit stand "Robert is Here" for Key Lime and Guanaba Shakes and an up close Emu experience. Hardly worth it!

The plan had been to explore a bit more, but a nasty lightning storm rolled across the sawgrass prairie,

truncating our trip, but not before seeing a few sights including this gator, resting peacefully within biting range on the Anhinga Trail.

I was as close as it would appear, but took a cell call seconds later and did not hear someone yell "it's moving". Ash ran and jumped into his pregnant wife's arms just out of the picture. The gator moved all of 2 inches and I was not eaten.

The next evening, the plan was to venture out to the Loop Road with Ash, Kate and family. But they went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Commerce first...and then we would go after that. But Kate's father Larry made a fantastic antipasto,

so we would eat and go after that. But someone brought an all-berry pie and by the time food was consumed, it was very late. But if we had not gone, we would have always wondered what we had missed.

Attrition plagued our crew and eventually just Ash and I headed out at 12 am. Pregnancy gets Kate off the hook....

As far as wildlife goes, sightings were slim, but the chorus of frogs, including Bull Frogs, Pig Frogs, Barking Tree Frogs, Green Tree Frogs, Narrow-mouthed Toads, Cricket Frogs and Chorus Frogs was like window shopping for the blind with every patch of grass or cypress revealing a new song from a new species. We saw maybe 5 frogs but heard thousands.

As we bounced down the remote dirt road, our eyes growing weary and desperately needing sleep, we both noticed something in the headlights hundreds of feet ahead. Dark, long, slender and arch-backed, it scrambled from the cypress, onto the road and slowed as it slunk into the grass on the other side. As we approached, both of us had the initial, nonsensical, farout thought....Anteater!

But it was an alligator. Standing up high on 4 legs, back arched, and in a hurry to avoid our intrusion. Funny what lack of sleep does. Odd we both considered an animal found thousands of miles away.

It may not have been an anteater, but to see a fast moving alligator out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night was well worth being worn out the next morning. Thanks Ash and Kate for another fun adventure.


  1. What a grand weekend adventure, indeed! And as if sharing the wilds of the everglades AND my family's dinner conversation weren't enough, I now get to bask in the glory of being featured in Jungle Pete's Blog! Thanks for the memories... -k8

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed the blog. could be the baileys. Loved the pictures and stories.

  3. I always knew in my heart of hearts all of you were "stars" and now this is plain and true proof!!

    Being a mom..I must say going alligator hunting, anteater or any other hunting of wild animals in the middle of the night is NOT on the list of things mothers recommend children should do! However, be that as it may, you arrived home safely and I am grateful and supremely grateful my unborn grandchild was at home safely tucked away with momma. Love and bunches of hugs and kisses to all....Katey, Ash and Pete!! Momma terri xxxxx

  4. momma terri,

    Good thing I didn't write about the true danger we got ourselves into....