Alligators in the Woods ~ Welcome to Wild Florida

By Diana Kanoy

Thirty years ago my husband Allan & I moved to a north Florida forested property on a lovely heart-shaped body of water called Beauty Lake. He would catch big bass, & once in a while a medium-sized alligator that he threw back. 

I loved to sit reading in the quietness on the big dock facing water & wildlife, punctuated by swimming or paddling.  Allan, a Florida native from Lake Wales, always assured me that wild alligators would flee from humans.  His bravery bordered on bravado.

Living here was my first up-close exposure to wild alligators, although I had been hearing stories (& myths) since arriving in Florida for graduate school. After all, the University of Florida is gamely called “The Swamp” and its mascot is a cartoon gator. An exhilarating activity for intrepid students was luring alligators of Lake Alice to the shore with marshmallows on sticks. The sweets must have satisfied them because there were no reports of young men as dessert.

Then there was marshy Bivens Arm, named perhaps for a Mr. Biven who dangled his arm out of his canoe one too many tempting times to the abundant alligators that call that lake home.

At Kanapaha Gardens, as the founder himself was clearing weeds from shallow water, an alligator actually bit off his arm.

She Swims with Alligators is intended to entertain, edify, & inspire. 

Hopefully you will:

  • enjoy the poems, episodes & photographs
  • laugh at the humor
  • marvel at the bravery & stupidity of humanity
  • pick up some educational tips for living or recreating safely by the water
  • augment your appreciation of nature & all forms of life
  • care for the environment 
  • let spiritual intimations buoy your sense of connectedness with all life

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