Every fall, the University of Florida hosts a homecoming event at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, “Gator Growl,” considered one of the largest pep rallies. Thousands of students, alumni, faculty and fans fill the bleachers to enjoy music, comic talent and fireworks. It’s an opportunity for the students to get pumped up just before the big homecoming game the next day.
I thought the term “gator growl” was all part of the hype of the event. I’d never actually heard a gator growl until I went to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm for a freelance assignment for The Gainesville Sun. They wanted to run a package about the various zip lines that had opened across Florida, and the one at the alligator farm’s “Crocodile Crossing” was one of the newest. The gators at the alligator farm were massive, and around 2 p.m. after I’d walked around the whole park, all of them spontaneously started growling at once, each responding to one another and emerging from the waters where they’d been soaking earlier in the afternoon.
Guess it must have been around feeding time or something, but I’d never seen anything like it.
UPDATE: The Gainesville Sun published the story in The Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner in November.