This morning we received an email at the Florida Times-Union with two photos attached. The first photo was of a raccoon taking what appeared to be a ride atop an alligator in the area of the Ocala National Forest. The second image received was a very serene view taken along the same route.
Mr. Richard Jones, who sent in the photos, claims his family was exploring along the Oklawaha River observing wildlife when his son caused a commotion that spooked the lone raccoon. That's when the startled raccoon decidely boarded the gator's back.
Mr. Jones apparently had his camera in tow and and was lucky enough to capture this once-in-a-lifetime image. Then he was nice enough to send it our way.
In his email, Jones writes:
'Had a wonderful morning with the family in Ocala National forest and took an equally wonderful photo! We were walking along the Oaklawaha river watching some gators warm up in the morning. My son went through some palm fronds to catch a different angle and frightened a raccoon. It must have been asleep because it stumbled toward the water and hoped on top of the gator we were watching. I snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away. Without the context you'd think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river. Pretty amazing. Definitely the photo of a lifetime. Included a second one my wife took or the area. You have my permission to share the photo and use the photo in any way. I don't want anything in return. Just thought other people might enjoy it. '
The photo of the gator with raccoon in tow seems to have gone viral on social media, and the story has been picked up by several other media outlets.
And although we haven't been able to confirm the authenticity of these images, this was too good a story to leave our viewers out of the loop.
So here you have it.
DISCLAIMER: Mr. Jones did not leave a phone number within his email so that we could confirm the authenticity of the image. We did try to contact him via his email address and we also requested he phone us. At the time this story was posted, we still have not received a call or email from Mr. Jones.