Ol' Two Toe - an alligator tale

By Harriet Outlaw
Posted 6/3/16

When I first heard about Ol’ Two Toe I thought it was just a tall tale, but now I am not so sure. Let me tell you a story about an alligator so feared that his escapades are told about all over Baldwin County.

Ol’ Two Toe first made himself …

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Ol' Two Toe - an alligator tale

Posted

When I first heard about Ol’ Two Toe I thought it was just a tall tale, but now I am not so sure. Let me tell you a story about an alligator so feared that his escapades are told about all over Baldwin County.

Ol’ Two Toe first made himself known in the swamps near the Bon Secour River. Here the Bertram brothers were trappers known for the fine pelts they took in to Patterson’s Store every winter. One day, as they checked their traps, they found a trap that had been sprung, and there in the trap were the two middle toes of an alligator that had pulled himself free by sacrificing those two toes. The brothers told everyone about those toes because they were enormous. It was not long before others began noticing alligator slides bearing the prints of a huge alligator with his right rear foot missing the two middle toes. Fishermen said that sometimes they could see two red eyes that were further apart than any other ‘gator’s ever seen.  Reports grew more and more alarming. One farmer heard his pigs hollering and when he went out to check, there was a ‘gator with a pig in his huge jaws. The ‘gator took off, disappearing into the dark. The farmer heard that pig squealing until he heard the splash into the murky waters. Another local man ran out to confront the alligator raiding his henhouse; that ‘gator raised up on his hind legs and ran off just like a human. People began fearing that monster; missing children or livestock were credited to him. The hunt was on to rid the county of ‘Ol Two Toe.

Those Weeks boys were the best alligator hunters in all of the south. They claimed they had killed the nuisance and brought in a gallon pickle jar filled with alcohol and two toes of a huge alligator. That jar stayed on display at Patterson’s Store for a long time until one day it was broken by accident. Mr. Patterson picked up those alligator toes and saw that they had been stitched up with fishing line, discovering the hoax those boys had pulled. So the hunt for ‘Ol Two Toe resumed with a fury.

By this time, ‘Ol Two Toe had taken off to the north. He was spotted all along the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and eventually on up into the Delta. Hunters and fishermen told of those huge eyes. Well, at least those who escaped death told about them. Nearly every time those eyes were spotted, disaster struck the fishing or hunting party, witnesses reported their boat had been overturned by a monster. ‘Ol Two Toe was still claiming his revenge for those lost toes. Some locals even claimed to be driving along a dirt road and suddenly outside the window they saw a ‘gator running alongside the car – right up on his hind legs. A hunter reported that he found the remains of a large deer in an alligator nest on the banks of the Tensas. There were so many sightings of him that every swamp man knew ‘Ol Two Toe was breeding, and each of his offspring had only two toes on his right rear foot.

Maybe all of this came to an end when alligator hunting was once again made legal. That first season, David Lenore and his buddies killed an alligator that beat all records up to that point. That alligator was preserved and put on display at the Five Rivers Nature Center on the causeway. Right there he is today. You can go see for yourself. Be sure you notice his right rear foot, the one with only the two outside toes intact. Maybe it’s ‘Ol Two, or maybe one of his offspring. You can decide whether you think this menace is still out there. Regardless, smart fishermen still fear the night they see those two large red eyes in the swamp. If they know what is good for them, they head on in for the night before disaster strikes.