Rapala Jointed Shad Rap 7

They don't spawn until they are around 10 years old and can live several decades. On the average the males live up to about 36 years, the females up to 50 years. They can live up to 58 years, mature to 10 feet long, and weigh up to 300 or more pounds. The young eat insects and larval fish while the adults eat crustaceans, birds, fish, mammals, rats, and turtles. Their roe, or fish eggs, are poisonous, not only to animals, but also to humans.

It seems the only redeeming quality, from a conservationist biologist's standpoint, is that the gar eat silver carp. This is an invasive species that is multiplying. Eating silver carp to reduce those populations seems to be the gar's claim to fame. They are also being considered in the in the fight against another invasive species called the snakehead fish.

They drift along, as alligators do, on the surface of the water waiting for schools of fish to swim near them. If there are no fish, they can eat rats, turtles, ducks and geese. While they say there is no record of a gar attacking a person, I guess the question is, how would someone ever live to tell the story? Take one look at a photo of a gar ... do you trust it not to bite?

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Individuals at the store fitted our car with racks on the roof that would hold our new kayaks; we purchased paddles, seat cushions and life vests. A neighbor helped us out by installing holders for the kayaks on one wall of the garage. They would be stored on their sides, one over the other. We were all set!

We found another opening in the mangroves and pushed through, branches scratching at our faces. It was gorgeous and quiet, very quiet. A few blue herons waded through the shallows; two white egrets watched us from a low branch. I caught site of a bit of pink and after that saw its owner, a roseate spoonbill. We stopped for lunch on a small bit of sand and watched sand crabs scampering in every direction.

But we weren't discouraged. We 'd made it out safely and we had a good story to tell. Additionally, we thought we had learned our lesson; this wouldn't happen again. But, actually, we had a few more "almost lost" experiences. One mangrove tree definitely looks much like another and the tunnels are frequently shielded by low hanging branches.