(IN PHOTO) Masha, a female raccoon, yawns in her wooden refuge inside an open-air cage where she hibernates at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, November 20, 2013. Many animals in the zoo are having difficulties hibernating due to unusually warm temperatures, employees of the zoo said. Reuters

Alligators and reptiles have gained a bad reputation in the animal kingdom for grabbing at any chance to eat other animals or humans for its next meal. However, along the Oaklawaha River in Florida, an alligator was photographed by Richard Jones of Palataka “allowing” a raccoon to ride on its back.

Jones posted the image, taken by his son, on social media site Reddit where the picture became viral. The son was actually walking through some brush to take photos when he startled the raccoon, which as a reaction, jumped on the gator’s back, reports Mashable.

Actually, the free ride on the reptile’s ride was just momentary because it jumped off and scurried away, Jones told WFTV. However, his son was able to snap the few seconds at the right time. “Without the context, you’d think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river,” Jones explains.

While Mashable said it could not confirm if the photo was real or the product of Photoshop, the Web site points out it is not the first time that a gator was photographed allowing another animal to hitch on its back. It published an Associated Press photo by Arnulfo Franco taken on Aug 10, 2012 in Panama City of a turtle riding an alligator’s back at the city’s Summit Garden Zoo.

Netizens commented on the image taken by Jones’s son. BBC noted that a lot of the comments showed humour and a degree of admiration for the furry wild animal. For instance, it cited the comment of Annette Cardwell that the raccoon rode the gator “LIKE A BOSS.”

Washingtonian writer Benjamin Freed tweeted, “The raccoon riding an alligator is the most Florida thing since mortgage fraud.” But Alyssa Cole sees beyond the accidental hop on a gator back, pointing out that “this is the vanguard of the raccoon/alligator antihuman alliance.” To contact the writer, email: vittoriohernandez@yahoo.com