Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 14th, 2006
Okay, I started hearing about this a couple days ago, and it now seems to be taking on cryptic or even cryptid status. Folks in Tennessee are having “Alligator Sightings Outside Memphis,” according to the Chicago Tribune:
Alligators aren’t suppose to be this far north. Nevertheless, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has gotten reports of alligator sightings on McKellar Lake, a backwater of the Mississippi just south of Memphis, and at T.O. Fuller State Park, north of the city. Up to five alligators may have been seen, including one said to be close to 7 feet long that was reportedly spotted on a bank beside McKellar Lake. Alligators’ natural range is believed to end south of Tennessee.
Meanwhile, in Austria, a “mystery caiman” was sighted and caused an official search on May 11, 2006. The Silbersee – a lake near Austria’s westernmost city of Villach – was the site of recent sightings of large, five-feet long “crocodile-like creature,” which local official believe is a caiman.
Tensions are going to run high in the media when the subject of alligators comes up this spring again. Florida has suffered its first gator fatality already, the 18th confirmed fatal alligator attack in Florida since 1948. An alligator apparently attacked 28-year-old jogger Yovy Suarez Jimenez on land. Her dismembered body was found floating in the Sunrise canal on Wednesday afternoon, May 11th, west of Miami. CNN reported on May 14th that the ‘gator has been killed and had two arms in its stomach,
Crocodilian sightings (such as those from Tennessee and Austria) and findings (e.g., one of the “Maine Gators” found on April 22nd) are of interest to cryptozoologists.
Why, you ask? Well, there are several reasons, including (please add your own, in comments):
1) some Lake Monsters are initially reported to look like alligators;
2) some water cryptids may turn out to be alligators or other pet croc escapees;
3) keeping track of the expanding or pet escapee enhanced alligator range is a good idea;
4) field-aware cryptozoologists like to know if there are any dangerous animals in the path of their pursuits;
5) out-of-place ‘gators are cool and very Fortean.
Of course, getting killed and eaten by a gator is not cool, but it would might be Fortean.
UPDATE: Two more have been killed by alligators in Florida, please click here.