August 15, 2023
A Gator Greeting
- as seen by -Eric Januszkiewicz
While reptiles are not often viewed as nurturing creatures, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) provides a prime example of just how nurturing a reptile can be.
A mother alligator will lay approximately 35 eggs and guard that clutch until they all have hatched. She will protect that clutch against any potential predators trying to get an easy meal. When the young hatch, they cry out to their mother that then carries the fresh hatchlings to the water.
On a trip to Everglades National Park, I was greeted by this particular alligator every time I entered the park. It took up residence in a swamp near the entrance there, so I made a point to stop and observe the alligator when I came through. One of the times, the alligator even had a great blue heron that it was gulping down.
Seeing nature at work is always a special experience for me. I am thankful to have our national parks and protected areas that preserve the land for these creatures to thrive for generations to come.