Americans have a fascination with transportation — there’s no doubt about it. These days, the focus is usually on trying to find the economical transportation method without sacrificing high costs or safety measures.
For suburban transportation, electric cars are gaining popularity. In major cities, bicycling may only represent 1% of all passenger trips, but this number is starting to grow with each rental bike station that opens up.
But Florida has taken “green transportation” to a new level, and one that probably can’t be topped — by humans, at least. For one raccoon in particular, riding an alligator through Florida’s Ocklawaha River is the way to travel.
A recently uploaded photo of the raccoon and it’s unlikely taxi began making the social media rounds on June 14 and quickly gained “viral” status as Twitterers and local news stations began commenting on the comical photograph.
Twitter user @JoshuaChavers shared the photo with the caption “Alt. headline: Florida gator starts Uber-like service,” while @KariWrites took a more direct approach with her Tweet: “Here’s a raccoon. Taking a ride on an alligator. Because Florida.”
Media sources, including ABC News, gave their readers with a description of the scene while dramatically zooming in on the raccoon and his companion. (It should be noted that although nearly every source currently lists the water animal as an alligator, Huffington Post’s page has an extensive thread of comments debating whether it’s actually a crocodile. No conclusive decision has been reached yet.)
All — okay, some — humor aside, the picture is fairly remarkable, and not just because the raccoon in question appears to have excellent balancing skills.
According to local ABC affiliate WFTV 9, the photograph was taken by Palatka resident Richard Jones as he and his family were walking along the Oaklawaha River in the Ocala National Forest.
The river is typically filled with plenty of aquatic life, including alligators, and Jones told WFTV he believes that the family may have scared the raccoon as they moved some palm fronds to get a better view of the alligator. Much to their surprise, the startled raccoon “stumbled toward the water and hopped on top of the gator that was nearby.”
The river voyage didn’t last long — which was probably best for the raccoon, who likely did not want to be the gator’s breakfast — but Jones was able to snap a photo before the raccoon hopped back off.
“Without the context you’d think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river,” Jones said. “Definitely the photo of a lifetime.”
Talk about eco-friendly transportation.