I was camping in the Florida Keys one winter. I managed to survive the large snakes and even larger alligators as well as the scorpions which would get in my shoes at night but one experience I will never forget. My camp site was next to an old rock quarry which had filled with water and made a good place for swimming and getting water from. There was also an old dump sight close to this quarry with piles of stoves and fridges and other junk. It had been there for a while but nothing new had been added to it for a long time.
One day a fellow shows up and tells me that they were going to clean
up the dump and burn some of the junk so I better move my tent. So I
gathered up all of my belongings and moved a few hundred yards back into
the woods. That day they started burning the garbage and I thought
nothing about it until I climbed into my tent at night.
As soon as it
got dark and I was falling asleep my tent became covered with hundreds
of rats. I guess they had moved out of the dump because of the fire and
we're just wondering around looking for food. They were everywhere
climbing up my ropes and over the top of the tent. I shook as many as I
could off and started a fire and stayed up all night hoping they
They seemed to be gone so the next night I stayed in the same place
thinking they had moved on to another dump or something but no, again as
it got dark they all returned bringing some of their friends as it
seemed there was more than ever now. I again shook them off the tent and
got a fire going. When the morning came I packed up my tent and headed
for a new place far from those rats.
As I was walking down the highway
wondering if I should return to another camping spot where I had been
previously, there on the highway near to that place was a dead 11 foot
alligator which had crawled out from the mangroves only a few feet from
where I had been camping a few weeks previously. I decided my Florida
camping adventure had gone on long enough and headed back home.