2013 was a good year for reptiles

Now we’re at the time of year when all newspaper writers are required by law to regurgiate the significant news events of the past 12 months, such as what policians did, or didn’t, do.

I have little interest in politicians, but here’s a roundup of news about their close kin: alligators and crocodiles.

Mostly it’s been a good year for gators and crocs. Especially compared with 2012, when they suffered all sorts of indignities.

- While in the process of dragging away a fisherman for its dinner, a crocodile in Australia was bitten on its nose by the fisherman’s mate.

- In Borneo, a headline reported, “Man on toilet break bitten by croc.” You probably don’t want to read all the details, but that croc’s dinner also was ruined when, as the man explained, “Fortune favored me when the crocodile let me go after I punched it in the eye.”

- And, while no crocs or gators were punched or bitten in Madeira Beach, Fla., gators’ social plans down there suffered a setback last year when a wildlife commission ruled against a company that wanted to let them frolic in swimming pools at kids’ parties.

“I have some concerns with the notion of having children in the water with alligators,” declared an alligator biologist at the University of Florida.

By comparison, 2013 has been a romp in the swamp.

In Michigan, the Port Huron city council voted 4-2 to allow a restaurant called Cajun Gator to allow a four-foot long alligator named Wally to greet its customers. Which may or may not be good news. A lot depends on how you feel about eating while being watched by something that would like to eat YOU.

And Florida will observe its fifth consecutive year without an alligator-related fatality, assuming no one celebrates New Year’s Eve with too many cosmos and decides it would be a good idea to go swamp swimming.

Florida’s last victim, you no doubt remember, was Justo Padron. While fleeing from police after attempting to steal a car in 2007, Mr. Padron decided to outsmart the cops by hiding himself in a pond. He was immediately eaten by an alligator, bringing new meaning to the phrase “Jaws of Justice.”

But the only alligator story down there worth reporting this year involved a man who entered a Miami convenience store last week carrying a four-foot alligator, which he attempted to exchange for a 12-pack of beer. Although there was no sign stating, “We Do Not Accept American Express or Alligators,” the clerk refused to make the sale.

So, for the most part, 2013 was a prettty good year to be a reptile.

Certainly a lot better than being a politician.

Contact this columnist at dlstew_2000@yahoo.com