Nose-to-snout with the locals in Gainesville

March 13, 2015 12:01 AM

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Nose-to-snout with the locals in Gainesville

Rule No. 1 when it comes to fleeing an alligator: Don’t run in a straight line. I learned this while standing feet from a prehistoric-looking, kayak-size animal that had crawled up onto the bank of a canal to bask in the crisp January morning sun.

“If you have to run, run zigzag,” warned Brack Barker, whom I had hired to show me around Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Gainesville. “They can run fast, but only straight ahead.” We’d been walking along a grassy path, Barker slightly in front, and he’d turned around to warn me about a gator ...

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