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In florida some of the trails are along rivers, lakes ,in wooded dark marsh areas(perfect gator land). There are many times where you can't really see the other side of a turn. Has anyone ever come up on or almost hit a gator? I am always thinking its going to happen sometime when I'm on a trail. Halpatiokee is one of them.
 

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yes....there is a vid on you tube of a couple of riders at Alafia ..they came up on one.
Its titled something like:" Immovable object, Alafia" or something like that
 

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came up on on one at Alafia on North Creek around a blind turn (was about 6 feet away from it). It quickly dove into the water.....scared the hell out of me. If you ever ride at snow hill in Orlando there are some very large ones.
 

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I get paranoid about that every time I ride in Lakeland. I keep thinking how easy it would be for a gator to make a snack out of me on the side of the trail. The worst part, I grew up in Florida and I still get jumpy. I try to assume the logic that I'm going faster and they can't hit a moving target. :-D
 

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I've ridden by several the past two months with nary a stir. It's the snakes that creep me out. I'm always worried that it's going to get flung up by my tire onto my back. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

-Lule
 

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I'm more worried about flesh-eating zombies. I have never run across any here locally, but from what I can tell, they really come at you.

And (at least according to the old movies) even though you can pedal your bike at 15 mph, and they can barely limp along on one and a half rotten legs, they can still somehow run you down and swarm all over you.
 

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Back in 2000 or 2001 a friend and I were riding out in Lakeland. It was late in the day but still plenty of time for a second lap. My friend was out in front and I let him have some room because at the time he wasn't very good technically. Then I heard a scream like I have never heard before. When I got to him there was the biggest gator i've ever seen in the wild, just laying in the trail. My friend was backing up with his bike between himself and the gator. The gator waited for about 20-30 seconds then slowly backed up into the water. Just as he disappeared his eyes popped back up, he stayed there until we kept going. It was creepy. From what I understand alligators aren't exactly real aggressive like crocodiles, but they still have that pucker factor when they sneak up on you, or vice versa.
 

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not MTB related but gator related

back in 2001 I was with my GF at the time at her grandmas lakehouse in Ocala. I forget the name of the lake. Anyway we were out walking along the beach at night and we heard a THUMP THUMP THUMP SPLASH. Turned out we had walked within about 20 feet of a gator, his prints in the sand were un mistakable.
 

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I almost hit one on Rollercoaster at Alafia one day. Was a small one, about 3ft. He was laying in a low spot in the trail right after a corner. Was leading a group of 6, came around the corner and saw him at the last second. Grabbed some rear brake, not stopping fast enough, grabbed some front brake. Ended up doing a nose wheelie with the back tire 2 1/2 ft off the ground. If I would have went over I would have landed on the little guy. Back wheel sat down and I quickly dismounted with the bike between us. Scared him pretty good, he was open mouthed hissing at me. Was a heck of an adrenaline rush for sure.

Had another close call at Carter durning a night ride, that one was a tad bigger though.
 

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I got chased by one a few years ago, riding the levy up in Boca raton(next to the airboat rides). I swear he was only four feet or so, but all teeth.
 

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I have run into a couple bobcats at Caloosahatchee regional park near Fort Myers. Even saw one at Lakes Park in Fort Myers. Other than that, I am the scariest thing on the trail. ;)
 

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A buddy and I ran into the gator on the alafia poop loop one sunday morning, he was 9-10 ft and opened his mouth and hissed when we ran him off. That didn't scare me anywhere near as much as the water moccasins and rattlesnakes that I see all the time at flatwoods riding the paved loop. One of my dogs knocked another one in at the toe one time, buttsmacked her right off of a bridge into thick duckweed. I was more scared at that moment than any other time in my life, we just saw a huge gator and my wife would skin me alive if I came him with a dog missing.
 

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Here's one from a few years ago that I passed while kayaking. Yup, I was in my kayak when I took the pic and I didn't really have to zoom. :)



And here's one from a fishing trip in the glades a couple of years ago. This guy went for the fish that was attached to my buddy's flyline.



Interesting critters.
 

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The wife and I have come across gators many times in or along the trails.

Once while riding at JD, she was leading and came upon a 4 footer in the middle of the trail. Not sure who was scared more. The gator took off running down the trail for maybe 50 feet and then went into the brush towards the water.

A few months back, while riding the tandem we saw a monster size gator. Fortunately he was on the opposite side of the canal. That thing was a solid 14 feet long, with rear legs the size of a humans waist. He did not care one bit about us.

If you ride the levy that parallels 441, there's a good chance to see gators, and as one guy mentioned up close. They get really PO'd when you sneak up on them, then after they let you know who's boss, just move along.

Snakes are my biggest concern, especially moccasins.

PK
 
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