I remember "Yikes" being the first word that came to my mind as I entered the alligator section of the zoo in GuangZhou China. It was just a narrow bridge maybe about four feet above the water.
There was a waist-high railing on the bridge to keep short people from falling into the alligator water, but it only served as something for me to trip over and land in the water more splashy and noticeably.
Everywhere I looked in the small lake was swarming with alligators exactly as dense as you see them in this picture.
Some just stood there and stared as us with their mouths open.
Even though some appeared to be asleep, they weren't. They would snap into a violent frenzy at the slightest motion around them. Any ripple in the water could be possible food and they had to fight the others off to get to it.
This one is just waiting for some kid to fall over the railing. The others are waiting too, but are trying not to be so obvious about it.
See that hunk of pink floating in the air? That's what's left of a chicken on a string. You could buy a dead chicken on a string, on the end of a bamboo fishing pole, and torment the alligators with it. You could bounce chickens on the alligator's tails, or even their heads, and then quickly yank the chickens back up before they were snapped up at shotgun speed by alligator jaws. It was like being on a battlefield. Alligators below and chickens flying past your head from above. And I did get hit with slimy dead chickens while standing on that bridge. Nobody got mad. Everyone understood it was just the standard uncontrollable reaction of mortal terror when alligators rocket-lunge out of the water at your chickens.
When the alligator's jaws slammed shut I think I could feel the concussion of it. Maybe I'm just imagining that part but it sure did seem that way. Look at the bloody mouth on this one. He finally got his chicken.
It was cheap to buy a chicken so I got one and dangled it over the railing. Those alligators are extremely quick. I tried to keep my chicken for as long as I could but they zapped it up in seconds. They pulled pretty violently too. It was a struggle to hang onto the pole. Some kids lost their poles. It's better to lose the pole than to hang onto it and get pulled into the water.
I spend most of my time devising evil plots in my secret villian's lair, underground. I pride myself on my wonderous ability to commit advanced acts of devious and sinister trickery without guilt.
By the way, I didn't think I'd have to say it but it keeps happening.
No one is allowed to use my illustrations without my permission. I like the idea of ME being paid for my work instead of other people.