We may not have Jurassic Park in real life yet, but we sure have Florida. Watch as three whooping cranes gang up on a juvenile American alligator, just as John James Audubon depicted.
When the famous naturalist stumbled upon Florida, he must have had an absolute heyday. In the state, giant dinosaur-like cranes regularly dine on baby alligators, and Audubon famously depicted this in his gorgeous whooping crane illustration (see above).
Both species are icons of panhandle ecosystems and are true living dinosaurs. As archosaurs like the thunder beasts of old, birds and crocodilians are the only remaining families of this once-dominating dynasty. And in Florida, we humans get to watch them duke it out on the regular.
Such is the case in this fantastic viral video, which already has well over 1 million views. This is in no small part due to the wildlife on display. The narration of one Mallery Neptune, however, is just as glorious as you’ll hear below.
“He’s so cute! He’s running so fast!” Neptune squeals of the juvenile alligator. Indeed, he’s an adorable little fellow, but has had some months to grow. As such, the cranes may have picked a gator that’s a bit higher on the food chain than they’d like. Once the three whoopers try to whoop up on him, he whips around with a display of teeth the birds are non-too-happy with.
“Just a Monday drive to Hobby Lobby. Wait for the end,” Mallery captions her original Facebook post.
Watch the priceless encounter for yourself below, which took place recently on a Central Florida road:
Other Florida Alligator Encounters Aren’t So Jovial
While this whimsical, Jurassic Park-esque encounter is a joy to behold, other Florida gator encounters are far more in line with said film.
Take the latest dive of Jeffrey Heim, for example, who’s currently in recovery after sustaining a bite to his skull by the Florida alligator.
The 25-year-old Tampa resident nearly had his last at the hands of one of the large archosaurs. As we previously covered, Heim was out May 30 partaking in one of his favorite pastimes: shark tooth hunting. He came to the Myakka River in search of fossilized Megalodon teeth. But an alligator found his skull instead.
While diving the southern Florida waterway, Heim says he came “up for a breath and I felt like I got hit by a boat going 50 miles an hour.”
The alligator impact was so great, Heim says, that it “felt like a propeller to the head and it pulled me down.”
The diver then “quickly realized” his pain wasn’t from hitting his head. Instead, his eyes met an enormous reptile, “and the gator’s just looking at me about 4 feet in front of me…”
“Then he started coming at me,” he continues. “I just learned from dealing with sharks, you don’t wanna act like prey so you don’t wanna move too fast… So, I started slowly moving away.”
Heim survived his encounter, thankfully, but it serves as a warning to all Floridians: we are in their habitat. Not the other way around.