One of Florida’s notoriously pushy sandhill cranes has achieved “gangster” status on social media, after it was recorded sending an 8-foot alligator running for the nearest body of water.
The scene played out Friday, March 10, between two neighborhood ponds in Sarasota and was caught on video by Laura Akin.
It shows the alligator was of a mind to leave the water when it encountered an intimidating sandhill crane, with its wings spread in defiance.
The alligator wasn’t intimidated — at least at first — and is seen crawling to within a few feet of the crane and plopping down in the grass.
That’s when things got awkward. The two spend the next minute glaring at each other, neither backing down nor moving forward.
Then, as if reacting to some whispered threat, the alligator suddenly turns and dives back into the water.
“I was spellbound. My heart was racing a bit and I had no idea what to expect. Since I was as close as 40 feet from the action, I was glad the gator took off in the other direction,” Akin told McClatchy News.
“I know what bullies sandhill cranes are. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one (sandhill crane) cross the road, but they saunter.”
Her video has gotten nearly 1,000 reactions and comments since being shared March 14 with multiple Facebook groups, including the 152,000 members of Unseen Florida.
“Those cranes are gangster,” Paul Blohm wrote on her post.
“Gator’s bout to get jumped,” Kristy Ausbourne wrote.
“Sandhill cranes will run your vehicle off the road,” Chris Woods said.
“I am honestly more afraid of sandhill cranes than I am of gators. They are crazy,” Stephanie Jinar Kelly said.
Sandhill cranes grow to nearly 4 feet and have a wing span of 6 and a half feet, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “In rare instances, cranes have been reported pecking people,” the state says.
Sarasota is about 60 miles south of Tampa.