So startled was I when the mother gator hissed and lunged that I tripped over my own feet and nearly plunged into the water with the mother gator while - yes - trying to run away.
I knew mama gator was around. She's in the same spot nearly everyday, protecting the nest of eggs under the dock. But alligators can make some incredibly loud noises and this 9 foot mama is no exception. Nesting started at the end of June and it takes 63 days or so to incubate so mama will stay put, driving away raccoons, possum, snakes and birds that will try to eat the eggs. She has to be wary of any males that may wander through and eat the babies after they hatch.
The dock that she nests under is taped off to keep tourists out. I was on the dock taking a picture of a grasshopper near the nest when mama let me know I was too close.
For the best results - turn the volume up before playing the video. This was her second attempt to drive me away after my heart rate had settled.