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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Alligator Adventure

Ok. Time to come clean about the Alligator I mentioned earlier.

Our first year here I never saw him. Indeed, I thought he was someone's imaginary phantom. The second year a neighbor came over one morning and pointed out what looked like a log floating off shore. Ok...now I knew what to look for.

The next 2 years we saw the alligators swimming out there from time to time, but never all that close. You can NOT guess the size from two eyes and a pair of nostrils peeking above the water.

Then, this year, a neighbor got a photo of one fellow's head as he eyed her dogs. Still the guess was maybe 6 or 8 feet long.

Then one day I saw him sunning himself on the bank across the bay. WOA! That boy was BIG! Way longer than we thought. Several others have looked at him and the most educated guess right now is about 12 feet long. He certainly isn't afraid of anything. Thank goodness we have a 4 foot seawall all around the lake.About Alligators from Enchanted Learning
Alligators are large, semi-aquatic carnivorous reptiles with four legs and a huge tail. The tail is half the animal's length; it helps propel the alligator through the water, is used to make pools of water during the dry seasons (gator holes), is used as a weapon, and stores fat that the alligator will use for nourishment during the winter. Alligators are cold blooded (ectothermic); they do not make their own body heat. They gain body heat by basking in the sun.
There are two types of alligators:

  • The American alligator, which grows up to 19 feet (3.5 m) long, and up to 600 pounds (270 kg).
  • The Chinese alligator, which grows to be about 6 feet long (1.8 m).
Alligators have four legs. They swim very well, mainly using their tails to propel themselves through the water, and, to a lesser extent, using their webbed feet.

Alligators (like many reptiles) are plantigrade; they walk in a flat-footed manner. On land, they can run relatively fast, but only in short bursts.

Alligators mostly live in fresh to brackish water, in swamps, marshes, canals, and lakes. The American alligator is found only in the southeastern part of the USA; the

Alligators are usually solitary animals. They have a life span of up to about 30 to 35 years in the wild, and up to 50 years in captivity.

Alligators have a wide range of calls and vocalizations. These calls are used in mating, to define territory, as distress signals (babies grunt to alert the mother when in danger), etc.

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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