A thick, knobby log, nearly 14 feet long, floats motionless in algae-covered swamp water. The mottled greenish-black form is still, creating not a single ripple.
Just a few feet above, a small group of people peers down over the railing of an elevated boardwalk. Someone tosses a biscuit into the water.
Suddenly, the “log” springs into violent motion, snapping up the fig-sized biscuit with such force that a gray heron flushes out of a nearby tree, startled by the splash. It’s not a log at all — rather, a 900-pound American alligator.
“Whoa!” exclaims a young boy watching from above. “Did you see that? Cool!”
A smiling man wearing an oversized straw hat approaches the boy’s family, now chattering with excitement.
“That’s Captain Crunch,” Alligator Alley owner Wes Moore says to the boy. “He’s got the most powerful bite force of any alligator here. Crunch is even saddle-broke. Why don’t you hop down there and give him a ride?”
The young visitor stares until Moore gives away the joke with a wink and a grin. It’s all part of the fun at Alligator Alley.