Here’s the 6th post in our Beauty Around Us series: Alligators.
Some of us might not think of Alligators as fitting into the Beauty Around Us theme of this post series, but they are an amazing part of our ecosystem and beautiful in their own way.
American alligators live in fresh water environments – ponds, marshes, rivers, lakes, as well as brackish water. Adult alligators are black or dark olive grown with white underside, while juveniles have strongly contrasting white or yellow markings that fade with age.
They are generally timid towards humans and often walk or swim away if one approaches. In Florida, feeding wild alligators is illegal. If fed, alligators will eventually lose their fear of humans and learn to associate humans with food thereby becoming a greater danger to people, and at greater risk from them.
Alligators generally mature at a length of 6 ft. The mating season is in late spring. In summer, the female builds a nest of vegetation where the decomposition of the vegetation provides the heat needed to incubate the eggs. The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest and is fixed within seven to 21 days of the start of incubation. The natural sex ratio at hatching is five females to one male. The mother defends the nest from predators and assists the hatchlings to water. She will provide protection to the young for about a year if they remain in the area.
Here are a few pictures of alligators in the brackish waters of Coral Creek and at Wildflower Preserve.
Click on any picture to enlarge and then use the arrow keys to move from picture to picture.
Photos courtesy of Malcolm Collingwood and Eva Furner
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