Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Alligator River holds true to it's name and, despite the rare chance of seeing an American Alligator there, there truly is alligators in the road side canals.
If you are one of the visitors waiting to spot one for yourself I suggest speaking with employees at the visitor center. The gentleman we spoke with not only gave us a map of the area, but circled areas where the wildlife we wanted to capture were most recently seen. But alligators are not the only thing lurking in those waters! With the amount of locals we spoke to, no one had mentioned the otters. So image my surprise when I am traveling along the wildlife drive and spot a whiskered face racing my car to the bend.
And there we were, about 10 feet away from 5 wild, hissing river otters who's territory we were imposing upon. Those teeth, those whiskers, those crazy odd noses, it was all so captivating. I stood there, enchanted in all of their glory photographing as best I could with the adrenaline rushing through my hands. Caught off guard by their presence and in awe of all that we had been blessed to encounter that day.
The days leading up to our trip to the refuge were hard. Our family had just gotten some difficult news, I quit my day job, and we decided it was best to focus on the betterment of our children's lives. My oldest daughter's favorite animal is the red wolf. Her days are spent researching how to preserve them and where to find them in the wild. When my own research lead me to the refuge I knew we had to go.
We made the wildlife drive our second day in Manteo. And after the first drive we realized we had questions about the local red wolves. We headed off to the visitors center where we were informed the red wolves were breeding with the coyotes! How exciting?! We spotted only two red wolves, and several coyotes. And though my photographs do not show much, we also saw bears, turtles, snakes, and much much more! If you love the great outdoors this is the place to be!
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