Raccoon hitches a ride on an alligator in Florida

Ruth Doherty
Raccoon hitches a ride on an alligator in Florida
Raccoon hitches a ride on an alligator in Florida




A man out walking in a national forest in Florida has captured the moment a raccoon took a ride on the back of an alligator.

Richard Jones was with his family in the Ocala National Forest when they saw the alligator.

According to the BBC, he said his son startled the raccoon while trying to take a picture of the alligator, and it jumped on it.

Speaking to WFTV, he said: "I snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away.

"Without the context you'd think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river. Pretty amazing.

"Definitely the photo of a lifetime."

While we'd love to think that raccoons and alligators are so friendly, the latter is happy to give the former the odd piggy back, in general, this is not the case.

Jason Waller, a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Alligator Management Programme, said it is very unusual.

He told the National Geographic: "In general, when a raccoon is startled near water they'll usually run through the woods or maybe even go up a tree. They usually try to avoid jumping into water."

Waller also added that alligators are skittish and often aggressively thrash when touched. He said: "The idea of an animal jumping on its back and it just casually swimming along like that, that's very unusual."

But not impossible, says Joseph Travis, a biology professor at Florida State University, who said: "One can imagine the animal scampering atop what perhaps seemed a muddy spit of land."

Photo editors at the National Geographic also agree that it doesn't look Photoshopped.

Waller added: "If it was real, it was definitely a once in a lifetime shot."


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