National Geographic : 1940 Jan
SOUTH FLORIDA'S AMAZING EVERGLADES Photograph by Luis Marden "THE GLADES BUGGY IS A SORT OF MOTORIZED BULLFROG" Wilson Dykes, State Game Warden, demonstrates the toughness of his remodeled automobile. The carburetor is on top of the motor, permitting the engine to run even when the vehicle is almost submerged. Four rear wheels equipped with heavy chains give traction on slippery ground (page 140). island deep in the swamp. After dinner, as we sat around a campfire, a pair of barred owls perched in the trees over our heads. For almost an hour they hooted, clucked, snapped their beaks, and otherwise demon strated their disapproval of the invaders. They were still keeping up a lively comment when we crawled into our sleeping bags. After Barnes had demonstrated his un canny ability at waking up at the first pale glint of dawn, we had breakfast and set out into the swamp on foot. In a mile and a half of walking, we saw eleven deer. We also came upon a spot where the bleached bones of deer were strewn on the ground, marking an old camp of meat hunters. These poachers kill the deer and strip the flesh from the bones. Then they carry the meat through the swamp on their backs to the Tamiami Trail, where it is transferred to automobiles. The meat from one deer brings about $12. Warden Dykes some times spends weeks on the trail of meat hunters before apprehending them in their hideouts in the swamp. Back in camp, we again boarded the Glades buggy to follow a faint trail which Barnes called a road. We made numerous stops. One was at a "cypress head," a large clump of cypress trees and other vegetation marking a low spot away from the sloughs and runs of the main swamp. Pushing our way through the tall grass to the center of it, we came upon an alligator cave. In the dry season large alligators seek out low places where they dig caves in the soft earth to get down to the water level. These caves form small pools which become con gregating places for many animals. THE GRUNT THAT FAILED Alligator hunters have several methods of getting the gators out of their caves. One is to "grunt 'em up." The hunter sits near the mouth of the cave and grunts in a man ner calculated to be appealing to the alli gator. It is asserted that the alligator, hearing the grunts, will come to the surface of his pool to exchange grunted greetings. When he does so he is shot. If this method fails, iron rods are used to poke and drag the reptile from its aquatic lair (p. 138). About the pool formed by the cave were the tracks of wildcats, raccoons, otter, and other animals. The thick vegetation sur rounding it included custard apple, maple, willow, and cypress. Wild orchids hung on the mossy limbs of the trees.