RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas — Despite the recent rains, some areas of Deep South Texas have received little precipitation, and as Richard Moore shows us, when the ponds recede the resident alligators take a hike.
It is early morning, and the alligators are stirring. One by one they exit the tepid water at this Cameron County pond. Soon, a dozen or so of the young three-foot gators are sprawled out on the bank soaking up sun.
Occasionally, they crawl over one another as they position themselves, and despite mouthfuls of razor sharp teeth, they seem to tolerate one another quite well.
It has been a long, hot summer, and many waterholes in deep South Texas are drying up. Joining the resident gators at this pond is a constant parade of wildlife coming to slack their thirst at the shrinking oasis.
However, when you share the water with a dozen hungry gators, it is best to be on guard. This family of Chachalacas is on high alert and gets a little jumpy when the gators cruise too close.
The deer are nervous as well, and that is wise, as not only is the pond home to these young year old gators, but also a large female that keeps a watchful eye on her new brood of youngsters that recently hatched out.
And while those lounging alligators may look relaxed, they can lunge for the water with surprising speed when alerted.
As shadows lengthen, a trio of gators sets off for a trek to a nearby pond that is also about to go dry. Perhaps, they are hoping to find an unwary fish, frog, or bird in the rapidly receding water.
Without rainfall, these diminutive ponds will soon go dry, and the gators and other wildlife will be hard pressed to find new places to reside and savor the life giving waters.